You are currently viewing Planting Bare Root Strawberries
Bare Root Strawberries arrive looking a little sad. A bundle of roots and dormant crowns.

Planting Bare Root Strawberries

Our strawberry patch thrived for about 7 years. We ignored common lore that you have to replace your strawberry plants every couple of years and did something different instead: every year or so, we’d lift the plants by the root ball, set them aside, then add 2 inches of compost and soil, then replant our existing berry plants. It worked like a charm for years.

Recently they’ve grown tired (or maybe we have). Production has dropped, we forgot to refresh the soil a couple times, so we decided to start fresh. We ordered a bundle of bare root Seascape strawberries from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply. Let the adventure begin.

Our old strawberry patch was still growing, but not as happy as it should be.
Our old strawberry patch was still growing, but not as happy as it should be.

Then the mail came…

 

Bare Root Strawberries arrive looking a little sad. A bundle of roots and dormant crowns.
Bare Root Strawberries arrive looking a little sad. A bundle of roots and dormant crowns.

Our bare roots arrived wrapped in a plastic bag with moist sawdust. We immediately opened the bag, per instructions, to keep air flowing through the plants. If you can’t install them immediately, put them in the fridge for up to a week, but make sure the plants stay moist.

We soaked our plants in kelp emulsion for a few minutes to hydrate and feed.
We soaked our plants in kelp emulsion for a few minutes to hydrate and feed.

Since we had to refrigerate our plants for a couple days, we decided to soak them for a few minutes in diluted kelp emulsion. Kelp helps ease transplant shock and gives plants a boost of nutrients from the get-go.

Amend the beds with plenty of organic material.
Amend the beds with plenty of organic material.

Our soil level had dropped over the years. We added a combination of worm castings and compost to build up the soil a few inches.

Dig deep holes so roots don't bend.
Dig deep holes so roots don’t bend.

Plant bare root strawberries (everybearing varieties) 1 foot apart. There is a trick to planting strawberries. Don’t bury the crown. The crown is the part of the plant where the roots meet the foliage. If you bury the crown, the plants will rot. If you set them too high, they will dry out. Not too deep, not too high. Just right.

Plant crowns so roots don't bend.
Our new crowns about to go in the ground.
This may be a little low, but some crowns were smaller than others.
This may be a little low, but some crowns were smaller than others.

Next, we replaced our drip irrigation so our plants get water right where they need it.

Drip irrigation with 6" emitters are perfect for watering strawberries.
Drip irrigation with 6″ emitters are perfect for watering strawberries.

Lastly, we put down a layer of mulch around each plant. This will keep our new plants cool in hot weather and will help feed microbes in the soil. We also cover our strawberry beds with bird netting to keep squirrels, rats, and birds from eating our berries. Works like a charm.

All done! Just add water.
All done! Just add water.

Here’s the most important tip that most people don’t like to hear: When these start to leaf out and flower, remove all the first flowers from the plant. It will force the plant to focus on root development instead of fruit production. You want that. You’ll have more strawberries later if you do this now.

So don’t be afraid, growing bare root strawberries couldn’t be easier. Start your patch before the weather warms up too much. You’ll have strawberries this summer if you act now.

This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. Rosie Forsythe

    I planted Seascape last year just to try something different in a raised bed that had Ozark Beauty the previous 5 years, but only 2 survived, and I only got a few small berries all year from one plant. I mulched with straw and watered with a soaker hose 10 minutes every other day around 8-9 a.m. unless it rained as I had done with Ozark Beauty. If temperature was over 80, I watered everyday.I did not treat them any differently, so I don’t know what went wrong. This is in east central Wisconsin, Appleton area. Would it be better to water in the evening? I noticed my neighbor does that.

    1. Christy

      Sorry to hear, Rosie. Evening watering is generally better for places that aren’t coastal or have to deal with moist afternoon air. But I wonder if they were planted too deep. Did they dry up or did they rot?

  2. Chad Hummel

    My seascapes were not a good berry. As far as flavor and kind of hard. But there isnt a lot of option when just considering everbearing. June bearing is better. With that Seascape is as good as you can get with an ever bearing. I grew 24 different varieties and did my own testing. Jewel was the best option for June bearing as of 2017.

    1. Chad Hummel

      Thanks for the information on plant storage. I just ordered 50 plants and cant get them in for a few days. So the advice was helpful.

    2. Christy

      That’s quite a bit of research. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Elena

    Excellent! I replace my Seascape every other year. They are relatively cheap compared to buying orgavic strawberries. Good article.

  4. Andrea Dowdell

    Thanks for all the detail! I’m in my second year with Seascape from PV, so far they seem to like another season. I did not uproot them, did not think of doing that, but I cut most ugly looking leaves off and feed it with E.B. Stone’s Vine & Berry fertilizer plus added new mulch. Last season we harvested about a handful most days and we like it that way. It was hot last year (here in San Pedro) and we seem to repeat that this year.

  5. Dana

    Thanks for this detailed info! Why did you choose Seascape plants?

    1. Christy

      Gosh, it was so long ago that I did the research and fell in love with Seascapes back then, I don’t really remember why. I knew I wanted everbearing varieties since we weren’t going to be doing any preserves. I’d rather have a more frequent harvest throughout the year. If I remember right, they were touted as being large and sweet. Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply lists them as also being great for hot, dry climates and being resistant to fungal infections. Perfect for coastal climates!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.