STRAWBERRIES – Plant Nutrition Notes

Download the PDF Here »

Larry Zibilske, Ph.D.

Strawberries are one of the most sensitive plants in horticultural production.
Strawberry Plant TPSL®

Strawberries are one of the most sensitive plants in horticultural production. A good fertility program must be used because strawberries are very susceptible to nutrient problems. Close attention to the nutrient needs of your strawberries is vital because strawberries are harvested for an extended period during the season. They require a constant source of complete nutrition in just the right amounts to ensure good yields of high quality berries. The task is made even more difficult because strawberries are also very susceptible to diseases and insect damage. However, developing a good fertility plan that is used in a timely manner will contribute to disease and insect control. Improving soil health is a key factor in insect and disease management as well as providing a foundation for building soil fertility.

Commercial strawberry production practices commonly include drip irrigation, which facilitates fertilization with soluble fertilizers injected into the watering system. Granular fertilizers are used for matted row and other production systems.

Soil and Tissue testing–why do it?

A soil test should be completed before planting berry plants. Results will provide information about the quantity of nutrients present and an estimate of how well those nutrients will be released for plant use. To get a more complete picture, tissue testing as plants grow and fruit appears, provides information about the intensity or rate of uptake into the plant. This will tell you whether the plants are getting the right amount of nutrition at the right time.

The plant integrates all the factors that affect nutrient uptake from the soil–chemical solubility, nutrient quantity, rainfall, sunlight, and temperature–and produces fruit according to how well (or poorly) the nutrient program meets the needs of the plant, under your growing conditions. Only tissue testing can tell you how well the plant is using the nutrients you've supplied, or whether more of certain nutrients are needed. Soil test results, coupled with periodic tissue testing provides a nutrient audit for a more complete picture of your crop's health and vigor throughout the harvest season. The audit allows you to adjust the fertilization program as needed, during the growing season, to fix any problems that show up on tissue test results. The payoff is greater yield and higher quality fruit.

Strawberry tissue samples should consist of the most recently mature, trifoliate leaves and petioles. These leaves are fully-expanded and consist of one petiole (leaf stem) with three leaflets. They are usually located 3 to 5 leaves back from the growing point. Avoid collecting leaves that are damaged or dull in color.

Avoid collecting strawberry plant leaves that are damaged or dull in color
Avoid collecting strawberry plant leaves that are damaged or dull in color.

When the samples are being collected, it is very important to detach the petiole from the leaflets immediately and keep the petiole. It would be helpful to submit a few leaves for observation purposes. Petiole Analysis indicates the amount of nutrients that would be deficient or toxic in the next 7 to 21 days, and serves as a basis for the nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and other macro and micronutrient rate recommendations.

Each sample should include 25 to 35 petioles randomly selected within a uniform representative area of the field. For example, all of the petioles in a single sample should be the same variety, growing on the same soil type, planted at the same time and having the same management history.

For the most accurate recommendations, TPSL® asks growers to provide specific information about each sample. Details about fertilization history, soil test, environmental conditions and the name of the variety being grown should be written on the Plant Submittal Form that you send in with your samples for Plant Testing.

Soil pH

Strawberries prefer a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.5, in the slightly acid range. This is necessary to ensure uptake of adequate amount of several trace elements and phosphorus that are more plant available in that pH range. Adjustment of soil pH to this range is best done before planting. It takes some time to settle down the many chemical and biological changes that occur when soil pH is adjusted and plants can struggle with getting nutrients before the new conditions become effective. Agricultural lime, preferably dolomitic lime, can be used to increase pH if necessary, and ammonium sulfate, or elemental Sulfur can be used to reduce soil pH. These sources will also supply needed sulfur for proper plant nutrition. Sulfur needs have often been often overlooked in earlier fertilizer programs. Suggestions for soil pH adjustment will be included with your soil test results.

Nutrient Needs and Deficiencies

Nitrogen – a major nutrient involved in protein production in the plant is needed in large quantities. It should be supplied over the entire production period to ensure good yields and high quality. Depending on your soil type and whether you're fertilizing established plantings or new plantings, Nitrogen needs range from 150 to 220 lbs. N/acre for new plantings and 75-120 lbs. N/acre for established plantings. Sandy soils will need about 20% more.

Fertilizers are labeled with a three-part number, such as 10-20-20, which gives the bag contents of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. The Nitrogen number is just the percent of the element Nitrogen; the Phosphorus is listed as P2O5 , the Potassium number is given as K2O. The P2O5 and K2O designations are holdovers from long ago when fertilizers were analyzed as those forms. It's now become traditional to express them like that.

It's best to divide up the total amounts needed into several smaller applications to ensure the plants have just the right amount of nutrient at just the right time. Too much is a waste, too little causes deficiency. Excellent berry production requires about 1 lb./acre per day in the harvest season.

Nitrogen deficiency can stunt growth. Leaves, especially the lower ones, will turn lighter green or even yellow, a condition called chlorosis. However, several nutrients can cause chlorosis, so a leaf tissue test should be done to determine the causes or causes, because more than one deficiency can result in chlorosis.

Strawberry plant leaves showing Nitrogen deficiency.
Strawberry plant leaves showing Nitrogen deficiency.

Phosphorus – a major nutrient needed for DNA synthesis and energy production, root development, flower initiation and seed or fruit development. Strawberries need about 25-30 lbs./acre of Phosphorus. More may need to be applied because it may be tied-up in the soil.

Strawberry plant leaves showing Phosphorus deficiency.
Strawberry plant leaves showing Phosphorus deficiency.

Phosphorus is very reactive in soils. If soil pH is outside the 5.5 to 7.3 range, Phosphorus tends to drop out of solution and become unavailable to plants. A slightly acidic pH keeps much of the phosphorus in a soluble form that's available for plant uptake. This is why it is important to adjust soil pH before planting. Maintaining adequate levels of Phosphorus in the soil for extended plant production can be difficult. Tissue testing at critical times will determine whether sufficient phosphorus is being provided to the plants. Testing can tell if a problem exists before there are visual symptoms of deficiency, giving you a chance to remedy the shortage before too much harm has been done.

Potassium – a major nutrient important for fruit maturation and sugar transport into the fruit. Upwards from 150 lbs./acre is needed by a good crop, depending on the soil test results. Soil tests are good predictors of potassium availability because potassium does not form a true organic compound, nor does it precipitate easily in the soil. Much of the Potassium required is needed at flowering and fruit set, continuing on into fruit maturation. It is important to maintain high levels of Potassium at the mid- and later phases of strawberry production. Deficiency symptoms appear much like Phosphorus deficiency, but often cause additional leaf margin necrosis. Tissue testing is the best way to monitor the levels getting into the plant to avoid deficiencies.

Potassium deficiency in Strawberry leaves from youngest to oldest leaves.
Potassium deficiency in Strawberry leaves from youngest to oldest leaves.

Calcium and Magnesium – used by the plant for fruit firmness and storage quality. If soil tests indicate a need for these minor elements, they should be applied before plants are set out. These nutrients compete with each other for plant uptake, so it is important to make sure the correct ratio between the two is maintained throughout the season. In general, an 8:1 ratio is desired. If soil test Calcium levels are about 1000 parts per million (ppm), sufficient Calcium is present. If the soil has been limed earlier, Calcium should be sufficient. Dolomitic limestone contains Magnesium and can be used to maintain soil Magnesium concentrations around 150 ppm. Calcium and Magnesium are cat-ions that compete for uptake with other fertilizer cat-ions, such as ammonium and Potassium. For this reason, it is important to balance the total plant nutrition, taking into account competing characteristics of all fertilizer elements.

Strawberry plant leaves show Calcium deficiency.
Strawberry plant leaves show Calcium deficiency.
Strawberry plant leaves show Magnesium deficiency.
Strawberry plant leaves show Magnesium deficiency.

Trace Elements

Some nutrients are necessary but are used in very small amounts. These are the trace elements. Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Copper, Molybdenum and several others are necessary for healthy plants, being involved in various aspects of plant life, such as chlorophyll production and enzyme activities. The amounts needed are usually in the range of a few ounces per acre which works out to be about 20-45 ppm in leaf tissue. However, each element has its own optimal concentration range. Often foliar sprays are used to maintain sufficient levels in plant tissues, but soluble forms are available that can be applied by drip irrigation. Many fertilizers contain trace elements and, if the soil conditions are correct, these can be considered plant available. However, most trace elements are more soluble in acid soils and often become problematic in previously limed soils. This is another reason to complete soil pH adjustment treatments before planting.

Strawberry plant leaves show Iron deficiency.
Strawberry plant leaves show Iron deficiency.
Strawberry plant shows Zinc deficiency.
Strawberry plant shows Zinc deficiency.

Boron is a trace element, so it is required in very small amounts. It is important for flowering, fruit set, and for the maturation of the strawberry fruit. What sets it apart from the other trace elements is that it is less available at lower soil pH. Liming generally increases the availability, but many alkaline soils respond to Boron because it is not present in sufficient amounts in the soil. Caution is advised when considering Boron fertilization because toxicity can occur by over-applying the nutrient. Several sources of soluble Boron, and the classical “borax” preparations are available to treat a deficiency with accurate amounts of the element.

Strawberry fruits show Boron deficiency.
Strawberry fruits show Boron deficiency.
Strawberry plant leaves show Boron deficiency.
Strawberry plant leaves show Boron deficiency.

The need for balancing nutrition for strawberries can be greatly facilitated by improving soil organic matter content. Not only does organic matter contain the major, minor and trace nutrient elements the plant needs, it also supports the growth of beneficial soil microbes that can help keep diseases in check and actually stimulate better strawberry growth and production. Making organic matter additions to the soil starts the process of turning over much of the nutrition and protection of plants to soil microbes, all to the benefit of the plants.

Download the PDF Here »

169 Comments:

  1. Pingback: www.ofm.com.tr

  2. Pingback: アグベックマンブーツ

  3. Pingback: buy wow gold

  4. Pingback: Uggレディースクラシックミニ

  5. Pingback: cheap wow gold

  6. Pingback: Cheap Replica Chanel Wallets

  7. Pingback: アグリス

  8. Pingback: Nike air max ltd Mens

  9. Pingback: Nike jordans high heels

  10. Pingback: ナイキ エアマックス

  11. Pingback: ニューバランス

  12. Pingback: アディダス

  13. Pingback: ナイキ

  14. Pingback: ニューバランス 激安

  15. Pingback: ナイキ 通販

  16. Pingback: ニューバランス

  17. Pingback: ナイキ

  18. Pingback: アディダス

  19. Pingback: ニューバランス

  20. Pingback: ニューバランス

  21. Pingback: ナイキ 通販

  22. Pingback: ナイキ

  23. Pingback: アディダス

  24. Pingback: ニューバランス

  25. Pingback: ニューバランス

  26. Pingback: ニューバランス 574

  27. Pingback: ナイキ フリーラン

  28. Pingback: ナイキ

  29. Pingback: ニューバランス 574

  30. Pingback: ニューバランス 激安

  31. Pingback: ニューバランス

  32. Pingback: ニューバランス 996

  33. Pingback: ニューバランス

  34. Pingback: アディダス 通販

  35. Pingback: ニューバランス

  36. Pingback: cheap wow gold

  37. Pingback: ニューバランス

  38. Pingback: ニューバランス

  39. Pingback: ニューバランス

  40. Pingback: wildstar gold

  41. Pingback: ニューバランス996販売

  42. Pingback: Guild Wars 2 Gold

  43. Pingback: ナイキ 専門店

  44. Pingback: ナイキ

  45. Pingback: cheap wow gold

  46. Pingback: wow guide

  47. Pingback: wholesale replica designer balenciaga bags

  48. Pingback: wow guides

  49. Pingback: jual parfum gucci envy me

  50. Pingback: cheap wildstar gold

  51. Pingback: diablo 3 gold guide

  52. Pingback: wow tips

  53. Pingback: spiderman costumes

  54. Pingback: wildstar platinums

  55. Pingback: spiderman costumes

  56. Pingback: game guide

  57. Pingback: diablo 3

  58. Pingback: cheap wow gold

  59. Pingback: diablo 3 gold

  60. Pingback: Womens nike free run sale

  61. Pingback: Nike free running shoes womens

  62. Pingback: cheap wow gold

  63. Pingback: Zentai Suit

  64. Pingback: diablo 3 gold guide

  65. Pingback: fake chloe handbags sale

  66. Pingback: Nike air max Womens

  67. Pingback: gucci purse small

  68. Pingback: wow guide

  69. Pingback: Nike air max current

  70. Pingback: peuterey autunno inverno 2014 kiabi

  71. Pingback: woolrich arctic parka df outlet

  72. Pingback: peuterey autunno inverno 2014 7-1

  73. Pingback: peuterey damon 800

  74. Pingback: ugg classic short france

  75. Pingback: wildstar gold

  76. Pingback: diablo 3 news

  77. Pingback: moncler outlet vicolungo

  78. Pingback: Nike air max 90 current

  79. Pingback: air jordan nike

  80. Pingback: diablo 3 gold guide

  81. Pingback: Buy Air Max 2003 Womens Online

  82. Pingback: wildstar gold

  83. Pingback: wow guide

  84. Pingback: wow news

  85. Pingback: wow tips

  86. Pingback: michael kors bags

  87. Pingback: Nike air max 95 for sale

  88. Pingback: FFXIV Gil

  89. Pingback: wow gold guide

  90. Pingback: coding video game

  91. Pingback: wildstar gameplay guide

  92. Pingback: guides

  93. Pingback: Nike Womens air max 90 running shoe

  94. Pingback: ugg australia kids' cardy boot

  95. Pingback: giubbotti moncler outlet online

  96. Pingback: ugg lucianna

  97. Pingback: moncler baby buy

  98. Pingback: peuterey outlet campania

  99. Pingback: peuterey outlet hombre

  100. Pingback: buy diablo 3 gold

  101. Pingback: moncler milano tel

  102. Pingback: wildstar gold

  103. Pingback: FFXIV Gil

  104. Pingback: una giornata uggiosa download

  105. Pingback: peuterey fall winter 2014 trends

  106. Pingback: ugg australia wedges

  107. Pingback: wow tips

  108. Pingback: cheap wildstar gold

  109. Pingback: wildstar gameplay guide

  110. Pingback: Celine Handbags Outlet

  111. Pingback: diablo 3 gold

  112. Pingback: wow guides

  113. Pingback: Sparkle uggs cheap

  114. Pingback: replique sac ysl

  115. Pingback: zentai costumes

  116. Pingback: アグ靴 アマゾン

  117. Pingback: Cheap womens nike air max

  118. Pingback: wow gold

  119. Pingback: FFXIV Gil

  120. Pingback: wildstar platinums

  121. Pingback: diablo 3 news

  122. Pingback: Guild Wars 2 Gold

  123. Pingback: wow gold

  124. Pingback: Cheap Michael Kors Outlet

  125. Pingback: wow guide

  126. Pingback: buy diablo 3 gold

  127. Pingback: gucci store portland

  128. Pingback: wildstar gold guide

  129. Pingback: diablo 3 gold

  130. Pingback: FFXIV Gil

  131. Pingback: air jordan 3 august 31

  132. Pingback: diablo 3 news

  133. Pingback: Nike free run for sale

  134. Pingback: diablo 3

  135. Pingback: wow news

  136. Pingback: Nike high heels UK

  137. Pingback: Nike roshe runs cheap UK

  138. Pingback: diablo 3 news

  139. Pingback: Nike air max structure triax 91

  140. Pingback: Ralph Lauren Tröja Dam

  141. Pingback: Nike air max Jordan

  142. Pingback: wow guides

  143. Pingback: wow guides

  144. Pingback: wildstar gameplay guide

  145. Pingback: jordan shoes retro 3 green

  146. Pingback: wow guide

  147. Pingback: Apply at Nike outlet

  148. Pingback: FFXIV Gil

  149. Pingback: mcm york cyber monday sale

  150. Pingback: mcm mp 470

  151. Pingback: wildstar news

  152. Pingback: Womens nike free sale

  153. Pingback: Köpa Michael Kors Väska Online

  154. Pingback: Infant nike air max

  155. Pingback: air jordan nike retro carmine

  156. Pingback: jordan shoes for sale cheap Black Friday deals

  157. Pingback: diablo 3

  158. Pingback: www.logosolutions.com.au/stickers.asp

  159. Pingback: wow news

  160. Pingback: erfahrungen mit louis vuitton outlet online shop

  161. Pingback: Nike free trainer Mens

  162. Pingback: wow gold

  163. Pingback: Womens nike free shoes

  164. Pingback: wow gold

  165. Pingback: Nike Blazers high for sale

  166. Pingback: discount dior bags store

  167. Pingback: buy diablo 3 gold

  168. Pingback: aitpm.org.au/old/terms.html

  169. Pingback: sac dior france

Comments are closed