How To Plant Bare Root Strawberries [ Full Guide ]

Planting bare root strawberries is a gratifying and straightforward process that can yield bountiful harvests. While many gardeners are familiar with growing strawberries from seeds or starter plants, bare root strawberries offer a cost-effective and efficient way to establish a new strawberry patch or expand an existing one. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the step-by-step process of planting bare root strawberries, from selecting the right variety to preparing the planting site and ensuring optimal conditions for their growth.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Bare Root Strawberries

Before diving into the detailed steps, here’s a quick overview of how to plant bare root strawberries:

  1. Choosing the Right Variety: Select a bare root strawberry variety that suits your climate and preferences.
  2. Selecting and Preparing the Planting Site: Choose a location with well-drained soil, ample sunlight, and good air circulation. Prepare the soil by removing weeds and adding organic matter if necessary.
  3. Timing for Planting: Plant bare root strawberries in early spring or late fall, avoiding times of extreme temperature.
  4. Preparing the Bare Root Strawberries: Soak the roots in water for a few hours before planting. Trim any damaged roots and remove any dried or rotted foliage.

Choosing The Right Variety Of Bare Root Strawberries

Selecting the right variety of bare root strawberries is crucial to ensure a successful and rewarding harvest. When choosing a variety, consider your climate, available space, and personal taste preferences. Common bare root strawberry varieties include:

  • June-bearing strawberries: These varieties produce a single, abundant crop in late spring to early summer. They are ideal for gardeners who want a concentrated harvest for preserving or enjoying fresh.

  • Everbearing strawberries: These varieties yield multiple smaller harvests throughout the growing season, providing a steady supply of strawberries. They are excellent for fresh consumption and suitable for gardeners with limited space.

  • Day-neutral strawberries: These varieties produce fruit consistently throughout the growing season, regardless of day length. They are ideal for gardeners in regions with mild climates and those seeking continuous harvests.

Consider consulting with local gardening experts or nurseries to identify varieties that are well-suited to your specific climate and growing conditions. Additionally, take into account factors such as disease resistance, flavor profile, and intended use when making your selection.

Selecting And Preparing The Planting Site

The success of bare root strawberries largely depends on the planting site. Select a site that receives ample sunlight, at least 6 to 8 hours per day, and offers well-drained soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH level (approximately 5.5 to 7.0). Avoid areas prone to waterlogging, as excess moisture can lead to root rot and other issues.

Here are step-by-step instructions for selecting and preparing the planting site for bare root strawberries:

  1. Choose a Sunny Location: Select a spot in your garden or yard that receives plenty of sunlight. Full sun exposure is crucial for promoting healthy growth and abundant fruit production.

  2. Assess Soil Drainage: Ensure that the chosen location has well-draining soil. To test the drainage, dig a hole approximately 12 inches deep and fill it with water. If the water drains within a few hours, the soil has adequate drainage. If it takes longer, consider raised beds or improving drainage by amending the soil with organic matter.

  3. Clear the Area: Remove any existing vegetation, such as grass, weeds, or debris, from the planting site. Clearing the area will prevent competition for nutrients and ensure access to sunlight for the strawberry plants.

  4. Soil Preparation: Once the area is cleared, cultivate the soil to a depth of 8 to 10 inches. Incorporate organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil structure and fertility. This step is particularly important for enhancing drainage and providing essential nutrients for the strawberry plants.

By following these steps, you can create an optimal environment for bare root strawberries to thrive and produce healthy yields.

Timing For Planting Bare Root Strawberries

Timing is crucial when planting bare root strawberries to ensure they establish themselves before the growing season. In most regions, the ideal time for planting bare root strawberries is in early spring, once the soil is workable and temperatures consistently stay above freezing.

Alternatively, planting in late fall, when the weather is cooler, can also be advantageous, as it allows the roots to establish before the onset of winter. Planting in late fall ensures that the strawberries are well-positioned to initiate strong growth as soon as the weather warms in the following spring.

Avoid planting bare root strawberries during periods of extreme heat or cold, as these conditions can stress the plants and inhibit their ability to acclimate to their new environment. Consult local gardening resources or extensions for specific planting recommendations tailored to your region.

Preparing The Bare Root Strawberries For Planting

Before planting bare root strawberries, it is essential to properly prepare the roots to encourage successful establishment and vigorous growth. Follow these steps to prepare the bare root strawberries for planting:

  1. Hydrate the Roots: Upon receiving the bare root strawberries, remove them from their packaging and soak the roots in a container of water for approximately 1 to 2 hours. This hydrating process allows the roots to absorb moisture, promoting resilience and vitality upon planting.

  2. Inspect and Trim: Examine the roots of each bare root strawberry plant, looking for any signs of damage, rot, or excessive drying. Trim any damaged or excessively long roots using clean, sharp scissors. Additionally, prune any dried or discolored foliage from the crown of the plant, leaving only healthy, vibrant leaves.

  3. Gently Spread the Roots: After soaking and inspecting the roots, gently spread them out to encourage outward growth once planted. Avoid excessive force, as the roots of bare root strawberries are delicate and can be easily damaged.

By taking these preparatory steps, you can ensure that the bare root strawberries are in prime condition for planting, setting the stage for robust growth and fruit production.

Planting bare root strawberries is a rewarding endeavor that can yield delicious, homegrown fruit. By carefully selecting the right variety, preparing an optimal planting site, choosing the appropriate timing, and properly tending to the bare root strawberries, you can establish a thriving strawberry patch. Whether you’re a novice gardener or an experienced cultivator, the process of planting bare root strawberries offers a fulfilling opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the fruits of your labor. With patience, diligence, and a touch of green-thumb enthusiasm, you can look forward to a bountiful harvest of fresh, delectable strawberries from your own garden.

Digging The Planting Hole

Bare root strawberries are an excellent option for gardeners looking to start their strawberry patch or expand an existing one. These plants come dormant, with their roots exposed and ready for planting. Planting bare root strawberries is a cost-effective way to establish a fruitful strawberry garden. However, proper planting techniques are crucial to ensure the success of these young plants.

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Before planting bare root strawberries, it’s important to prepare the soil and dig the appropriate planting hole. Follow these steps to ensure the optimal growing conditions for your strawberry plants:

1. Site Selection

Choose a planting location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Strawberries require ample sunlight to produce a bountiful harvest. Additionally, ensure that the soil is well-draining to prevent waterlogged conditions that can lead to root rot.

2. Soil Preparation

Strawberries prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soil with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5. Test your soil’s pH using a soil testing kit available at most garden centers. If your soil is too alkaline, you can lower the pH by adding elemental sulfur or organic matter such as compost or peat moss. Incorporate these amendments into the soil a few weeks before planting to give them time to break down.

3. Digging The Hole

Start by loosening the soil in the selected area with a garden fork or a tiller. Dig a hole that is wide enough to accommodate the spread of the strawberry roots, approximately 8-10 inches deep. Leave enough space between the holes to allow for airflow and prevent overcrowding.

Planting The Bare Root Strawberries

Once you’ve prepared the planting hole, it’s time to plant the bare root strawberries. Follow these guidelines to ensure proper planting and promote healthy growth of your new strawberry plants:

1. Soaking The Roots

Before planting, soak the bare root strawberries in water for approximately 30 minutes. This helps rehydrate the roots and prepare them for the planting process. During this time, you can also inspect the roots for any signs of damage or disease. Remove any damaged or unhealthy roots before planting.

2. Placing The Crown

Identify the crown of the strawberry plant, which is the point where the roots meet the stem. The crown should be positioned just above the soil surface. If the crown is buried too deep, it can lead to rotting or poor growth. Place the bare root strawberry plant in the center of the planting hole, spreading its roots outward.

3. Backfilling The Hole

Gently backfill the hole with soil, ensuring that the roots are covered but the crown remains above ground level. Lightly firm the soil around the plant, being careful not to compact it too much. Compacted soil can hinder root development and inhibit plant growth.

4. Watering After Planting

After planting, water the newly placed bare root strawberries thoroughly. This helps settle the soil around the roots and provides moisture essential for their initial establishment. However, be cautious not to overwater, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot. Monitor the soil moisture regularly and adjust watering accordingly.

Watering And Establishing The New Plants

Proper watering is crucial in the early stages of the strawberry plants’ growth to ensure their establishment and future productivity. Here’s how to water and care for new bare root strawberries effectively:

1. Initial Watering

After the initial planting, water the bare root strawberries thoroughly. Aim to moisten the soil to a depth of 6-8 inches. This deep watering encourages the roots to grow downwards and promotes a stronger, more extensive root system.

2. Regular Watering

In the first few weeks after planting, monitor the soil moisture levels consistently. Keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Generally, you should water the plants every 2-3 days. However, adjust this frequency based on weather conditions and the moisture retention of your soil.

3. Drip Irrigation Or Soaker Hoses

Consider using drip irrigation or soaker hoses to water your bare root strawberries. These methods deliver water directly to the soil and roots, minimizing evaporation and reducing the risk of foliage diseases. Avoid overhead watering, as it can promote the spread of fungal diseases.

4. Watering In The Morning

Watering in the morning allows the foliage to dry out during the day, reducing the chances of disease development. Moist foliage, especially during cooler evenings, can create a favorable environment for fungal infections.

5. Adjusting Watering As The Plant Matures

As the bare root strawberries grow and establish themselves, adjust the watering schedule accordingly. Once the plants are well-established and have developed a strong root system, water them deeply but less frequently, allowing the top layer of soil to dry out between each watering.

Mulching And Protecting The New Plants

Mulching is essential for bare root strawberries as it helps conserve moisture, suppresses weed growth, and protects the shallow root system. Follow these steps to properly mulch and protect your newly planted strawberry plants:

1. Wait For The Right Time To Mulch

Wait until after the first few weeks of growth before applying mulch. This allows the plants to become established and reduces the risk of surface moisture leading to rotting or disease.

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2. Selecting The Right Mulch

Strawberry plants benefit from organic mulches such as straw, pine needles, or wood chips. These materials help maintain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and gradually break down, adding organic matter to the soil.

3. Applying The Mulch

Spread a layer of organic mulch around the bare root strawberries, making sure to cover the soil but keep it away from direct contact with the crowns of the plants. Apply the mulch to a depth of 2-4 inches, providing a barrier against weed growth and temperature fluctuations.

4. Mulching In Spring And Fall

In regions with cold winters, consider mulching in both the spring and fall. In spring, mulch helps protect against late frosts and temperature fluctuations. In the fall, it insulates the plants during winter and prevents frost heaving.

5. Protecting Against Pests

Mulching also helps deter pests such as slugs and snails, who dislike crossing dry surfaces. Be vigilant and check the mulch regularly for signs of pests or diseases. Remove any affected plants or pests promptly to prevent further damage.

Planting bare root strawberries is an economical and rewarding way to establish a fruitful strawberry garden. By following the proper planting techniques outlined in this guide, you can ensure the successful establishment and growth of your bare root strawberry plants. From preparing the soil and digging the planting holes to watering, mulching, and protecting the newly planted strawberries, each step plays a crucial role in their overall health and productivity. With patience and care, you will soon delight in a thriving strawberry patch, yielding juicy and delicious fruits for years to come.

Fertilizing And Caring For Bare Root Strawberries

Bare root strawberries are a cost-effective and efficient way to grow your own delicious strawberries. Unlike potted plants, bare root strawberries are sold without any soil around their root systems. This makes them easier to transport, store, and plant. With proper care and attention, these bare-root plants can thrive and produce an abundance of sweet, juicy strawberries.

Choosing The Right Location

The first step in successfully growing bare root strawberries is to select the right location for your plants. Strawberries thrive in full sun, so choose a spot that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Additionally, ensure that the soil in your chosen area is well-draining and has a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5, which is ideal for strawberry growth.

Preparing The Soil

Before planting your bare root strawberries, it’s crucial to prepare the soil properly. Start by removing any weeds, rocks, or debris from the chosen area. Then, loosen the soil with a garden fork or tiller to a depth of 8-10 inches. This will create a favorable environment for the strawberry roots to establish and grow.

Fertilizing The Soil

To provide the necessary nutrients for your bare root strawberries, it’s important to fertilize the soil before planting. Incorporate a balanced fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 formulation, into the top 4-6 inches of the soil. This will ensure an even distribution of nutrients and support healthy plant growth.

Planting The Bare Root Strawberries

Now that the soil is prepared, it’s time to plant your bare root strawberries. Follow these steps for optimal planting:

  1. Soak the bare root strawberries in a bucket of water for 1-2 hours prior to planting. This will rehydrate the roots and help them establish quickly.
  2. Dig a hole wide enough to accommodate the spread-out roots of the strawberry plant. Ensure that the hole is deep enough to allow the crown (the point where the roots meet the foliage) to be level with the soil surface.
  3. Place the bare root strawberry plant in the hole, spreading out the roots evenly. Avoid bending or curling the roots.
  4. Fill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the plant to eliminate any air pockets.
  5. Water the newly planted strawberry thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.

Mulching The Soil

Once the bare root strawberries are planted, it’s important to mulch the soil. Mulching helps to retain moisture, suppress weed growth, and regulate soil temperature. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, around the plants, taking care to leave a space around the crown to prevent rotting.

Watering And Pruning

Proper watering is crucial for the success of your bare root strawberries. Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Avoid overhead watering, as it can encourage the development of fungal diseases. Instead, water at the base of the plants using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system.

Regular pruning is also essential to promote healthy strawberry plants and maximize fruit production. Remove any dead or damaged leaves, as well as runners (long stems that grow away from the main plant) that divert energy from fruiting. Pruning should be done throughout the growing season, as needed.

Fertilizing Throughout The Season

To ensure ongoing healthy growth and fruit production, it’s important to fertilize your bare root strawberries throughout the season. Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer, following the manufacturer’s instructions, every 4-6 weeks from spring until late summer. This will provide a continuous supply of nutrients to support vigorous growth and abundant fruiting.

Managing Pests And Diseases

Common Pests

Strawberries can attract a variety of pests that can harm the plants and reduce fruit yields. Here are some common pests to watch out for:

  1. Strawberry Root Weevil: These small beetles feed on the leaves and roots of strawberry plants, causing stunted growth and yellowing leaves. Use insecticidal sprays or traps to control their population.
  2. Slugs and Snails: These slimy creatures can munch on both the leaves and fruits of strawberries. Apply organic slug and snail baits or use physical barriers, such as copper tape, to protect your plants.
  3. Birds: Birds are notorious for stealing ripe strawberries. Use bird netting or scare tactics like hanging reflective tape or old CDs to deter them from feasting on your fruits.
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Common Diseases

In addition to pests, strawberries can also be susceptible to various diseases. Here are a few common ones and how to manage them:

  1. Gray Mold (Botrytis cinerea): This fungal disease causes grayish-brown spots on the fruit, leading to rotting. Remove any infected fruits and apply fungicides labeled for strawberries to minimize the spread of the disease.
  2. Powdery Mildew (Podosphaera aphanis): Powdery mildew appears as a white, powdery coating on the leaves and stems. Ensure adequate airflow around your plants, as moisture promotes the growth of this fungal disease. Apply sulfur-based fungicides to control powdery mildew.
  3. Verticillium Wilt (Verticillium spp.): This soilborne fungus can cause wilting, yellowing, and stunted growth in strawberries. Practice crop rotation and avoid planting strawberries in soil previously infected with the disease. Unfortunately, no chemical control is available, so prevention is key.

Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests or diseases and take appropriate action to prevent their spread. Timely intervention is essential to protect the health and productivity of your bare root strawberry plants.

Harvesting And Enjoying The Strawberries

Patience is key when it comes to harvesting strawberries. Depending on the variety, it can take around 4-6 weeks from planting for the first ripe fruits to appear. Follow these tips for optimal harvesting:

  1. Harvest strawberries when they are fully ripe. Look for berries that have turned vibrant red, are plump, and have a glossy appearance. Ripe strawberries will easily detach from the stem when gently pulled.
  2. Use a sharp pair of garden scissors or a small knife to cut the stem just above the fruit, taking care not to damage the plant or neighboring berries.
  3. It’s best to harvest strawberries in the early morning when the berries are cool, as they will have the highest sugar content and the best flavor.

Once harvested, strawberries are best enjoyed fresh. Rinse them gently under cold water to remove any dirt or debris, and pat them dry with a paper towel. They can be eaten as is, added to salads, made into preserves, or used in a variety of delicious desserts.

Winter Care And Maintenance For Bare Root Strawberries

As the growing season comes to an end, it’s important to take proper care of your bare root strawberries to ensure their survival during the winter months. Here are a few key steps for winter care:

Mulching For Cold Protection

Before the first frost, apply a thick layer of straw or pine needles (about 4-6 inches) over the strawberry plants. Mulching helps protect the crowns and roots from freezing temperatures and fluctuating weather conditions. This layer of insulation will help them withstand the cold and ensure healthy regrowth in spring.

Pruning And Removing Runners

Prune your strawberry plants in late fall or early winter to remove dead or diseased leaves. Additionally, remove any runners that have emerged during the growing season. This will redirect the plant’s energy towards root development and ensure more vigorous growth in the following year.

Regular Inspection

Throughout the winter, periodically check on your mulched strawberries to ensure the mulch layer remains intact. If it becomes compacted or settles, add additional mulch to maintain adequate insulation. Remove any debris or fallen leaves that can promote the growth of pests or diseases.

Conclusion

Growing bare root strawberries can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully plant, care for, and harvest your own delicious strawberries. From proper fertilization and pest management to winter care and maintenance, each aspect of growing bare root strawberries has been covered in detail. With a little effort and attention, you’ll soon be able to savor the sweet taste of homegrown strawberries straight from your garden.

FAQS

What Is A Bare Root Strawberry?

A bare root strawberry is a dormant plant that has been dug up and its roots have been exposed. It is commonly sold without soil, wrapped in damp paper or a plastic bag.

When Is The Best Time To Plant Bare Root Strawberries?

bare root strawberries are best planted in early spring, as soon as the ground can be worked. This will give the plant enough time to establish roots before the growing season begins.

How Do I Prepare The Soil For Planting Bare Root Strawberries?

The soil should be well-draining, slightly acidic (pH 5.5-6.5), and rich in organic matter. It is recommended to mix in compost or well-rotted manure before planting.

How Do I Plant Bare Root Strawberries?

Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots without bending or tangling them. Gently spread the roots out in the hole and cover them with soil, leaving the crown (where the roots meet the stem) just above the surface.

How Often Should I Water My Newly Planted Bare Root Strawberries?

It is important to keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy. Water deeply once a week, or more frequently during hot weather. Once the plants are established, watering can be reduced as strawberries have a shallow root system and can become waterlogged easily.