Q:

How do you care for young strawberries?

A:

Quick Answer

Care for young strawberry plants by pinching off the first-year blossoms to encourage root growth, clipping off daughter plants to increase fruit production and watering the new plants well, especially during the first year. Mulch young and older plants alike during the summer and winter.

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Full Answer

Plant young strawberry seedlings in a site that receives full sun with loamy, well-drained soil, such as a raised garden bed. Amend the soil with organic matter well in advance of planting. Dig large holes that more than accommodate the plant's root ball to prevent bending the roots, as this helps the plants to become well-established, and allow at least 20 inches between seedlings. Plant the strawberries with the crowns flush with the soil level.

Pinch off the blossoms only during the plant's first year to encourage the roots rather the fruits to grow. If any daughter plants or runners start to form, snip them off to keep the plant's energy within the plant itself and not in reproduction. Because a young strawberry plant's roots are shallow, give it at least 1 inch of water per week. Spread mulch around the plants in the spring to inhibit weed growth and keep the soil moist. During the winter, remove the summer mulch, and add a 4-inch layer of straw or pine needle mulch.

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