When To Grow Strawberries In Texas

Grow Strawberries In Texas

Grow strawberries in Texas during the fall or early spring. Planting between September and November or February and March is ideal. This timing aligns with cooler temperatures, promoting healthy growth and fruit development.

When To Grow Strawberries In Texas

Growing strawberries in Texas can be a rewarding experience, given the right conditions and timing. In this informative listicle, you’ll learn about the different times during the year when you should plant your strawberries to get the best yields.

1. Early Fall

In many parts of Texas, it is best to plant strawberries in early fall. This is because strawberries planted in the fall have time to establish themselves before winter. They’re then ready to begin producing fruit in the spring.

2. Late Fall

In regions of Texas where winters are typically mild, gardeners may opt to grow strawberry plants later in the fall season. Cultivating strawberries late in the fall gives the plants an opportunity to establish their root system in preparation for the fruit-bearing stage in spring.

3. Winter Months

In milder parts of south Texas where frost is rare, late winter can also be a suitable period for growing strawberries. They can start flowering and bearing fruit by late winter or early spring when planted in late fall or early winter.

4. Spring

For colder regions of Texas, spring is a more suitable time to begin planting strawberries after the threat of frost has passed. Day-neutral varieties of strawberries are well suited for springtime planting as they are not extraordinarily sensitive to day lengths and can bear fruit throughout the summer.

Remember, knowing when to plant strawberries in Texas isn’t just a matter of timing. It’s also essential to prepare the soil properly, use the correct planting techniques, and choose the right strawberry variety for your region’s climate.

Planting TimeLocationNotes
Early FallMany parts of TexasPrepare ground well ahead
Late FallMild winter regionsGood for root establishment
Winter MonthsSouthern parts of TexasPossible early harvest
SpringColder areas in TexasSafe after the threat of frost

How To Choose Varieties

Spring-bearing strawberries ripen in February in Texas’s hotter areas, while in North Texas, they ripen as late as June. The best varieties of spring-bearing strawberries to grow in Texas include ‘Sequoia,’ ‘Douglas,’ and ‘Chandler.’

If you are a Texas gardener, avoid day-neutral and ever-bearing varieties as they are best suited for cooler climates, and they don’t do well in this region.

Best Soil And Planting

Strawberries thrive well in full sun, but they will also withstand some afternoon shade. They require neutral to acidic soil that is well-drained and whose pH values range between 6.5 and 7. These plants can even tolerate alkaline soils whose pH is between 7.5 and 7.8, but they may require supplements since they will suffer iron deficiency.

Plant the crops in raised rows to help improve air circulation and drainage. Space the rows 12-inches apart and let individual plants be 12-inches apart within the row. Your plants should be deep enough for their roots to be fully covered but don’t bury the crown where leaves emerge.

Fertilizing And Watering

At the time of planting, mix 2 cups of a 15-5-10 fertilizer into every 25-foot row of soil. Apply about 3/4-cup per row of a 21-0-0 nitrogen fertilizer after every three weeks as the plants grow.

Water your plants daily during the first two weeks for the transplants to be established. Minimize the watering frequency after a fortnight through the winter, but ensure there is enough water to keep your soil evenly moist, especially in South and East Texas.

Do not water fruits and crowns as this may lead to diseases. 

How To Grow Strawberries In Texas

Growing strawberries in the Lone Star State can be a delightful hobby. However, it requires good knowledge of the process and specific practices suitable for the Texas climate. While Texas weather can be harsh at times, following these ten steps will pave the way to a successful strawberry harvest. 

1. Choose the Right Variety

The type of strawberry that will thrive best in Texas is the “day-neutral” variety. They are not dependent on the length of daylight to produce fruit, hence making them ideal for Texas’ varying light patterns. Some recommended types are ‘Albion,’ ‘Seascape,’ ‘Eversweet’ and ‘Tristar’.

2. Select an Ideal Location

Strawberry plants love sun; hence, they should be placed in a location with full sunlight exposure, around 6-8 hours a day. They also do well in a spot with good drainage to avoid root rot.

3. Prepare the Soil

Prepare the soil by adding compost or aged manure. Strawberries prefer slightly acidic soil with pH levels between 6.0 and 6.5.

4. Planting

Plant your strawberry plants in a raised bed which keeps them away from excess water. The recommended spacing is about 12-18 inches apart to let them spread out.

5. Watering

Maintain consistent watering practices but avoid overwatering as strawberries are susceptible to root diseases. About an inch of water per week should suffice.

6. Mulching

Use straw mulch to cover around the plants to keep the fruit clean, conserve moisture, and control weed growth.

7. Fertilizing

Apply balanced fertilizers such as 10-10-10 a few weeks after planting and again after harvesting to replenish nutrients.

8. Pest Control

Regular checks for pests like slugs and birds are necessary. Use environmental-friendly practices to control them like placing bird nets and slug traps.

9. Pruning

Prune or pinch off the flowers for the first six weeks after planting to promote stronger plant growth.

10. Harvesting

Harvest your strawberries when they are fully red. Enjoy fresh strawberries right from your backyard.

Tips For Growing Strawberries In Containers

You can successfully grow strawberries in containers as well as in the gardens. Here are some tips to help your fruits produce better in containers;

1. Avoid Overcrowding

Strawberry plants are tiny and can fit in pots and other containers, but they need space when growing. Avoid putting more plants in the pot than the small area can accommodate. Do not plant more than 3 or 4 plant roots per square foot of the soil. Strawberry plants have shallow roots, and you can use the surface area to calculate.

 Too many plants in one pot will produce fewer fruits, even if they look lush and green.

2. Trim The Runners

Strawberries produce runner plants that are not ideal for containers due to limited space. Runners give a beautiful cascade from a hanging basket, but they hinder your plants’ production capacity.

Snip the runners as soon as you spot them to let the plants make more strawberries. 

3. Provide Shade 

Strawberries thrive well in temperate regions above and below the equatorial tropic zones. They cannot tolerate tropical conditions without some climate control as they are exposed to heat, fungi, and pests. Growing the fruits in containers expose them to warmer temperatures than those found in the ground. 

Container-planted strawberries lack the thick and insulating properties of the roots that are found in the ground. The room temperature rises, especially in dark pots or containers, and this affects production. You can shade the containers or cover them with a reflective material such as aluminum foil to dissipate heat and provide shade to the pot.

You can also spray the pot with some water to cool it off as the water evaporates as it will take some residual heat with it.

4. Water Regularly 

Exposing your plants to heat makes the soil dry out faster than you water it. Ensure that you water your strawberries more often with less water to prevent dryness and sogginess. You can water several times a day, especially in summer. Make sure also that the container drains adequately.

Wet soil promotes the growth of microbes, which could kill your plants.

5. Give Attention After Harvesting.

Strawberries have a complicated life cycle since they originate in the springtime. These plants start growing in the fall of the previous year and after producing a bountiful harvest, they get busy reproducing through runners. 

At the beginning of next fall, they start forming buds within their crowns that eventually become next year’s flowers. The flowers will subsequently turn into strawberries, and there is a need to give them tender care through the fall.

Ensure that you provide your plants with proper nutrients to maximize bud formation, which will be harvested as strawberries the next spring. Use a suitable fertilizer such as 10-10-10 conventional or an ideal organic one in August. Apply approximately 1/3 ounce per square foot.

6. Provide More Insulation

Your above-ground container plants may get icy in winter, just like they get heated up during summer. If the winter is mild and the temperatures remain in their twenties, you need not worry as your plants will be unscathed. If temperatures fall below the twenties and stay there for a while, your plants could freeze and eventually die.

When the temperatures are too low, wrap your strawberries snugly with an insulating material and place them in your garage to shelter them from harsh winter conditions. 

Final Word

Growing strawberries in Texas can be both fun and fulfilling if you follow the general principles explained here. You can grow them successfully as in-ground plants or as container strawberries. Pay proper attention throughout their growing season and enjoy a bumper harvest.

References:

https://bartonhillfarms.com/the-easy-guide-to-growing-strawberries-in-central-texas/
https://www.floridayards.org/when-to-plant-strawberries-in-texas/

 

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