How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Fertilizing your strawberries

The first step in any fertilization program is to give the roots of the newly set-out plant ready access to a generous supply of phosphorus to encourage development of a good root system. All commercial fertilizers are labeled by the percentages of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). After planting, nitrogen is more important and should be lightly and frequently applied, for example, every 4 weeks, to maintain healthy, productive plants.

Strawberries are not heavy nutrient feeders. Begin with a starter fertilizer when you plant. At each planting spot, open a hole 6 to 7 inches deep with a trowel, place 1 teaspoon of slow-release fertilizer, ammonium phosphate, or ammonium sulfate in the bottom of the hole, and cover the fertilizer with about 1 inch of soil. Place the plant on top and firm the soil around the plant. Use approximately 2 pounds of 10-20-20 or 4 pounds of 5-10-10 per 100 sq. feet.

Add slow-release fertilizer in February, just before putting on plastic mulch. About 2 inches to the side of each plant, make a hole 3 to 4 inches deep and put 1 heaping teaspoon of the fertilizer in the hole and fill it back with soil. Add fertilizer again in the summer if the plantings are to be carried over another year.

Fertilizing tips

  1. MeasureBegin with a starter fertilizer when you plant. Do not use a starter fertilizer if you added ammonium fertilizer to augment soil solarization.
  2. Add slow-release fertilizer in February just before putting on plastic mulch. It should be high in ammonium nitrogen.
  3. Add fertilizer again in the summer if the plantings are to be carried over another year.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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