Planting strawberries should be done early in the growing season to establish mother plants while the weather is still cool. The mother plants develop a robust root system when soil temperatures are between 65 and 80 degrees F.
Planting strawberries in mid-to-late March is the most advantageous time frame in the Wichita area.
Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart. Later in the season, runners and daughter plants develop. The earlier the mother plants are set, the sooner the first daughter plant will be formed and take root. At the end of the growing season, these first daughter plants will be the largest and bear more berries per plant the following spring.
If you wait to plant later, the higher temperatures will stress the mother plants resulting in reduced growth, weaker mother plants, and delays in daughter plant formation. Fewer and smaller daughter plants produce fewer berries, resulting in a smaller crop.
Remove all flowers during the first year.
When planting strawberries it’s helpful to know that new plants have limited energy reserves that need to establish the mother plants and make runners rather than making fruit. If the fruit is allowed to develop in the first year, the amount of fruit produced in the second year is drastically reduced due to smaller, weaker daughter plants. Keep row width at 12 to 18 inches, as strawberries bear most on the edges of the row rather than the center. A rototiller or hoe can keep the row at the recommended width.—By Ward Upham, K-State Research & Extension.
For more information about planting strawberries or any other gardening questions, contact the Garden Hotline: 316.660.0190, Mon–Fri, 9–12 and 1–4, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org