Strawberry

The garden strawberry is a widely grown hybrid species of the genus Fragaria, collectively known as the strawberries, which are cultivated worldwide for their fruit. The scientific name of strawberry is Fragaria × ananassa and it belongs to the Rosaceae. Strawberries are native to the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.



The cultivated large-fruited strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa) originated in Europe in the 18th century. Most countries developed their own varieties during the 19th century, and those are often specially suitable for the climate, day length, altitude, or type of production required in a particular region.


Table of Contents

Height(Avg)

8 - 12 inches


Width-Circumference

9 - 12 inches


Approximate pH

Between 5.4-6.5


List of Strawberry Types


Time of bearing is a major divider in the classes of strawberries. There are three types of strawberries.


1. June-bearing strawberry


Any list of strawberry varieties will probably contain more June-bearing strawberry varieties than any other. June bearers are tremendously popular and common. They typically produce the largest strawberries, and do so over a period of two to three weeks, on average. Most June bearing strawberry varieties produce a harvest around the month of June, hence the name. However, strawberry varieties are further classified into Early Season, Midseason, and Late Season. By selecting strawberry plant varieties that produce during different parts of the season, you can prolong your harvest and enjoy fresh strawberries for an extended period of time. June bearing strawberries are most often of the Garden Strawberry variety (Fragaria x ananassa). June bearing strawberries are often planted using the matted row system.


2. Ever-bearing strawberry


Everbearing strawberries aren’t really “everbearing.” They generally produce two harvests per year: one in the spring and another in the late summer or fall. Under ideal conditions, it is possible for some everbearing varieties to produce three berry harvests. Most everbearing strawberry types are also Fragaria x ananassa hybrids, but some are of the species Fragaria vesca. In general, everbearing varieties put out less runners than the June bearing varieties, as most of the plant’s productive energy is directed toward producing multiple strawberry harvests. Everbearing strawberries are often planted using the hill system or in locations where space is limited.


3. Day-neutral strawberry


Day neutral strawberry plants are unique. Unlike June bearing varieties, day neutral strawberries will produce a good yield in the first year they are planted. They flower and set strawberries whenever the temperature is between 35 and 85 degrees. They will still be producing fruit in October during milder years. The drawback to day neutral strawberry plants is that they produce smaller strawberries than do the June bearing and everbearing strawberry varieties. Their fruit is usually small to medium in size, rarely exceeding one inch. Day neutral strawberry varieties are often planted using the hill system or in locations where space is limited.


Types of Strawberry Plants

  • Albion – Very resistant to disease, large, firm fruit, numerous runners (Day Neutral)

  • Tillamook – Resistant to some disease, fruit is excellent for preserves or eating out of hand (Early)

  • Northeaster – Large fruits and high yield (Early)

  • Elsanta – Not resistant to some diseases but large, firm, sweet fruit (Day Neutral)

  • Jewel – Big firm fruit, some resistance to leaf disease, moderate runners (Everbearing)

  • Earliglow – Resistant to leaf and root diseases, very flavorful berries (Early)

  • Quinault – Resistant to many diseases, large, soft fruit (Everbearing)

Native strawberry types include:

  • Alpine strawberry

  • European strawberry

  • Fraises de Boise

  • Woodland Alpine strawberry

  • Wild strawberry

Role of Nutrients


Strawberries require the right nutrients, at the right time, to achieve the best results possible.

Post harvest to Establishment

  • Nitrogen - to build reserves in the crown for recycling and subsequent growth of new leaves in the spring.

  • Phosphorus, calcium, boron and zinc - to maximize strong root development and support new growth.

  • Potassium - for good plant development.

Vegetative growth

  • Nitrogen - main doses are required at this stage for leaf and plant expansion

  • Phosphorus - to meet uptake needs through flowering.

  • Potassium - to promote strong lead growth and build a strong plant development.

  • Calcium - to build levels in the plant and maintain a steady supply to developing tissues.

  • Sulfur and magnesium - maintain vigorous, healthy leaf growth and to improve plant supplies.

  • Micronutrients - ensure photosynthetic growth is not limiting.

Flowering to fruit set

  • Potassium - peak demand for berry development and to build fruit quality.

  • Nitrogen - in reduced amounts so as not compromise fruit stability.

  • Phosphorus - for strong flower bud formation.

  • Calcium and magnesium - to support new tissue development and boost fruit integrity, reduce disease and maximize shelf life.

  • Boron - for good pollen production, seed formation and fruit set.

  • Other micronutrients - as needed to maintain growth.

Fruiting to maturity

  • Potassium - to maximize fruit quality, particularly TSS, acidity and taste.

  • Phosphorus - to top up levels being redistributed to the fruit.

  • Nitrogen - in limited quantities to balance other nutrients (excessive N at this stage can spoil fruit, but too little N reduces fruit size).

  • Boron and calcium - for fruit strength.


Planting Strawberries


When planning your strawberry patch, it’s important to know that strawberries thrive in full sun so locate a bright sunny spot where they’ll have six or more hours of full sun exposure.


Many varieties produce blossoms in early spring that can be killed by a late frost unless there’s plenty of sun on your plants. Most importantly, keep in mind that the amount of sun your plants get will determine the size of the crop and the size of the berries as well.


Rich soil with a pH factor of 6 to 6.5 works best for strawberries, so plan on working some organic compost into the soil in your beds or pots. The soil needs to be well-draining. Your plants should be spaced 1 to 1.5 feet (31-46 cm.) apart to allow plenty of room for them to grow and spread.


The best time to plant June and spring-bearing strawberries is on a cloudy day in March or April, as soon as the ground is workable. This gives the plants ample time to get established before warm weather arrives. Place them just deep enough into the soil to cover the roots with about 1/4 inch (6 mm.), leaving the crowns exposed.


Planting strawberries in rows requires about 3 to 4 feet (about 1 m.) between rows. This will allow June and spring-bearing plants enough space to send out “daughters,” or runners. If you have everbearing strawberry plants, you may want to plant them individually in mounded hills. These can be planted in mid-September to mid-October for a spring berry harvest.


Strawberry Plant Care


As soon as your plants are in the ground, water and apply an all-purpose fertilizer to get them off to a good start.


This is tough to do, but it’s important; remove all the blossoms from your June-bearing plant during its first growth season and remove blossoms from everbearing plants until early July. After these first rounds of blossoms are taken off, the plants will produce berries. Pinching the first blossoms helps the root systems strengthen and helps the plants make better, bigger berries.


Don’t drown your berry plants but try to be sure they are regularly watered with an average of 1 to 2 inches (2.5-5 cm.) of water every day. Drip or soaker hoses placed nearby work best.


Make sure your strawberries’ home doesn’t have perennial weeds and try not to plant them where tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or even strawberries have been grown in the previous two years. This will help to avoid root disease problems.


Harvest your berries when they’re red and ripe and enjoy them in jams or desserts or freeze them to enjoy over the winter.


Pests and Diseases


Pests


There are around 200 species of pests known to attack strawberries.

  • Aphids – A well-known pest insect that can quickly settle into soft tissue and damage the plant by sucking sap from just below the leaves. Symptoms include clusters of aphids at plants tips or on the undersides of leaves. In severe cases, the plant may begin to wither. Applying soapy water to plants or releasing ladybugs into the garden can help with aphid infestation.

  • Birds – A common crop thief that can be easily discouraged by covering the area with cheesecloth, weighted down on the sides to keep it in place.

  • Crown Borer – Adults are small, brownish-red snouted beetles that feed on foliage and berries. Larvae are little, white, legless grubs that tunnel through the crowns. Short of using chemicals, infected beds must be destroyed. When replanting, keep at least 300 feet away from the original site.

  • Cut Worms – Fleshy green to black striped worms. Cardboard collars can be used to keep the worms from getting to the plants. Also, mothballs or blood meal can be spread around the bed. Digging up the ground in early spring will help to expose and kill cutworms.

  • Cyclamen Mites – Barely visible white, green or brown mites that feed at the base of plants on leaves and flowers. Spraying the plant forcefully with water, ensuring to spray the undersides of leaves may help to rid this pest.

  • Slugs and Snails – Slime trails and irregular holes in fruits are evidence of slugs and/or snails. Use straw as a mulch to serve as a barrier between your plant and the wet soil. Also, you can try putting stale beer in pie plates and setting them in the strawberry patch. Slugs will crawl in and drown.

Diseases


Common diseases of strawberry plants include powdery mildew, leaf spot, leaf blight, slime molds, red stele, verticillium wilt, black root rot, nematodes, gray mold, rhizopus rot, and leather rot to name a few.

If your plant is showing symptoms of disease, such as powdery spots or brownish-red spots on leaves, curled leaves, rotten spots on fruits, or decreased yields, remove all infected plant matter as soon as possible, preferably when the plant is dry.


Health Benefits of Strawberries


The nutrients in strawberries help support the body’s defense against the below conditions.

  • Heart disease: Strawberries might help protect against heart disease due to their anthocyanin and quercetin content. A study reports anthocyanin has links with a lower risk of heart attacks. Additionally, quercetin has anti-inflammatory properties that appear to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

  • Stroke: Consuming these compounds may moderately reduce the risk of stroke.

  • Cancer: The nutritious compounds in strawberries and other berries may help protect against certain cancers. They are primarily helpful in preventing gastrointestinal and breast cancers, but to a lesser extent, they may help prevent lung, prostate, liver, and pancreatic cancers.

  • High blood pressure: The potassium in strawberries might offer some benefit for people with high blood pressure. This is due to how the substance helps offset the negative effects of sodium in the body.

  • Constipation: Strawberries helps maintain regular bowel movements. Fiber promotes stool movement through the intestinal tract, which helps prevent constipation.

Allergy


Some people experience an anaphylactoid reaction to eating strawberries. The most common form of this reaction is oral allergy syndrome, but symptoms may also mimic hay fever or include dermatitis or hives, and, in severe cases, may cause breathing problems. Proteomic studies indicate that the allergen may be tied to a protein for the red anthocyanin biosynthesis expressed in strawberry ripening, named Fra a1 (Fragaria allergen1). Homologous proteins are found in birch pollen and apple, suggesting that people may develop cross-reactivity to all three species.


White-fruited strawberry cultivars, lacking Fra a1, may be an option for strawberry allergy sufferers. Since they lack a protein necessary for normal ripening by anthocyanin synthesis of red pigments, they do not turn the mature berries of other cultivars red. They ripen but remain white, pale yellow or "golden", appearing like immature berries; this also has the advantage of making them less attractive to birds. A virtually allergen-free cultivar named 'Sofar' is available.




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