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Day-neutral strawberry planting key points

Madeline Wimmer- Fruit Production Extension Educator

Image 1: A box filled with over 1,000 day-neutral bareroot strawberry plants. This variety, Albion, is suitable for growing in the Upper Midwest.

If you checked out our most recent Fruit update article (05/15/2024), you saw that I went out to plant over 1,000 day-neutral strawberries with the Roger’s lab at the UMN organic campus beds this past week. Day-neutral (DN) strawberry production shares some similarities with June-bearing strawberry production, but has the potential to be more profitable due to the extended harvest window and the value of being available outside of the typical June-bearing strawberry season. 

UMN Extension researchers and educators have built a strong day-neutral strawberries web resource for growers who are interested in growing DN strawberries, which houses information related to overall management, specifics on sheltered growing and table top systems, as well as a cost-benefit analysis for production.

Instagram reel

Our UMN fruit Instagram channel, @umn_fruittalk produced a short video, or reel, to show how day-neutral strawberries can be planted. Click the picture link below to view it on Instagram or find it on our Small Farms YouTube channel here:

  


Planting takeaways with photos

Here are some key takeaways and general points about planting day-neutral strawberries. 

Follow along with the images below to visualize each planting step:

  • Strawberry beds, mulch, and irrigation should be set up before the anticipated planting day to simplify the process.
  • Bareroot plants can be stored in a dark, cool place with enough moisture to prevent roots from drying out prior to planting.
  • Bareroot plants will come in various sizes (refer to image 2), but growers can anticipate smaller plants “catching up” at some point during the growing season.
  • Measuring and marking each plant's spots prior to planting can help streamline the process and is easy to do with a marker when using plastic mulch.
  • The Roger's lab sets their drip irrigation to run through the middle of each bed and only plants strawberries on one side of the drip irrigation hose. However, many growers may choose to put plants closer together (~9in apart) and stagger them in a zig-zag pattern, alternating planting sides along the row. 
  • Bareroot plants are most successfully planted when their roots are rinsed or briefly soaked in water, and trimmed to ~4in length (refer to image 3).
  • Plant each strawberry by gathering the roots togetherbe sure to avoid twisting the rootsand then place a depressor stick about ¼ inch above root ends. Gently “sew” the roots into the soil by pressing the stick just above the root ends until the soil contacts the plant's crown (refer to image 4 and watch reel/short video shown above to watch a planting example). 
  • If bareroot plants are established with exposed roots, this will decrease their chance of survival. 
  • Pressing too high up on the roots will create a U-shape with root tips pointing up, which can lead to poor growth and potential root circling and girdling. 
  • After planting, turn on irrigation to thoroughly water plants for successful establishment.

Image 2: Bareroot day-neutral strawberry plants can range from large to small, but the smaller ones will likely catch up at some point during the growing season.

Image 3: A bundle of day-neutral bareroot strawberry plants before and after trimming the roots.

Image 4: Day-neutral strawberries can be mass-planted with ease by pushing near the root tips, using a depressor stick, into the ground until roots are fully covered by soil.

Image 5: Table-top day-neutral strawberry production when plants are fully grown and blooming.

Thank you to Mary Roger's lab and Matthew Gullickson for their contributions to this article. 



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