Fall Plasticulture Strawberry Planting and Management

Gordon Johnson, Extension Vegetable & Fruit Specialist; gcjohn@udel.edu

Planting for plasticulture strawberries is progressing across Delmarva. Research has shown that planting should be completed by September 15 for the best chance at high yields. While this is certainly true where row covers are not placed until late fall, later plantings are still successful with the use of early placement of row covers. The goal is to have adequate development of branch crowns (4-5 for most varieties) by spring. For plantings that go in later in September, it will be necessary to place row covers much earlier in the fall to keep temperatures high enough to achieve adequate branch crown development; how early will largely depend on the weather. Certainly, if an extended cold period in October and November is expected, row covering is advised on late plantings. Be prepared however to remove covers during late “Indian Summer” hot periods. One advantage to these late plantings is reduced runner formation and corresponding reduced labor in removing runners.