Proper planting of strawberries should include making sure the root system is not curled or ‘J’ planted. A study conducted in California showed an 18.5% reduction in fresh fruit yield with ‘J’ planted strawberries versus those planted correctly. In the diagram (from OSU Extension), plant A is correct with the crown at the soil line. Plant D is a ‘J’ planted or root curled plant. If the root system is too long, you can trim it slightly, but better yet, dig the holes deeper.
Nutrients are important inplants for growth and physiological processes. When one nutrient becomes excessive, it can impact the availability of one or more other nutrients to the plant. With that in mind, remember that the recommended amounts on a soil test are based on research. If a little will do the job, excess amounts can be detrimental. For example, the macro-nutrients potassium, calcium and magnesium are cations and are needed in large quantities by berry plants. The uptake of one of those three is negatively affected by a high level of one or both of the others. If the soil magnesium level is too high (based on a soil test), potassium may not be taken up in the amount needed and the plant will appear to be deficient in potassium. Based on visual symptoms and/or a foliar analysis, you may decide to apply additional potassium to the soil to try to alleviate the deficiency, when the problem isn’t that there is a lack of potassium in the soil, it is that there is too much magnesium. A balance in the soil of these cations (potassium, magnesium and calcium) is needed to avoid one element from making the other appear deficient. Soil tests are one tool to use to make sure the plants have available what is needed while the foliar/tissue analysis is important to indicate what the plant is taking up.
UConn’s IPM website has been under construction for awhile and is now up and running. You will find factsheets, pest messages, news, upcoming events and more. The URL is http://ipm.uconn.edu.
If you carried over liquid pesticides (organic and non-organic) from last year, it is wise to check their efficacy BEFORE you need to use them. Any pesticides that may have frozen should be shaken (or rolled if the container is too heavy to shake) to re-mix the ingredients. It would be smart to wear PPE when doing this in case of a leak. Then use this very simple test: mix a couple of tablespoons in a quart jar filled 2/3 to 3/4 full of water. Shake thoroughly and allow the jar to sit for about an hour. If the material has separated out in the jar (distinct layers formed) it has probably lost some of its efficacy. If it remains milky, it is OK.
Have a great day.
Extension Educator – Fruit Production & IPM
Telephone: (860) 486-6449