For the most part, strawberry plants thrive in our climate and soil here in Northern Michigan. Fertilizer is not absolutely necessary to grow strawberries. However, applying fertilizer can significantly help increase fruit yields and the size of your fruit when it comes to harvest time.
Strawberries are smaller plants and do not require as much fertilizer as berry bushes like blueberries. ½ tablespoon spread among 2-3 plants is plenty. When using fertilizer, we recommend using an organic, granular fertilizer.
Be careful to avoid any leaves when spreading fertilizer, as it can kill the leaves. The first application of fertilizer should be at least 4 weeks after the initial planting, as fertilizer can burn young plants if their roots are not yet established. Apply fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the summer, with the last application in August.
Strawberries will ripen at different times depending on the plant. Most strawberries are either June-bearing or everbearing varieties. June-bearing varieties will have a single, large harvest early in the year (most often in June) and will produce a lot of large berries. Everbearing varieties will produce several harvests 2-3 times per season that are smaller than June-bearing varieties.
For a strawberry plant’s first year, it is recommended to pluck 50-75% of the flowers on the plant. Removing these blooms pushes nutrients down to the root of the plant and encourages robust growth before the first winter. It is ok to harvest the strawberries that will grow from the remaining flowers.
Strawberry plants typically require very little pruning. Any pruning that is done should be on carefully selected leaves. Strawberries spread by ‘runners’ which can sometimes look like a typical leaf and stem. You do not want to cut these runners unless they are spreading in a direction you want to avoid.
You can prune your strawberry plant if you notice unhealthy leaves or stems. Leaves that look dry or brown can but cut at the stem. If you notice any powdery, white mildew, it is important to cut the plant back down to the roots. This can sometimes mean mold or mildew is growing and needs to be removed right away.
Strawberry plants in both garden beds and containers can thrive in Northern Michigan. With patches increasing each year, you will be rewarded with more and more berries as time goes on. Starting with fresh, healthy plants is key to growing a thriving strawberry patch.
Bright Lane Gardens sells hundreds of strawberry plants to the local community each year. Offering both June-bearing and everbearing varieties, we can complete your strawberry patch with exactly the plants you are looking for.
Our shop also sells all soils, soil amendments, fertilizers, and tools that are needed to start your berry project. If you’re interested in learning more about our strawberry plants, and other berry plants that we sell, reach out on our contact us page and let us know what you’re looking for!