Key Objectives the strawberry plant is shallow rooted and must be fertilized during the growing season to keep
it vigorous. And, plants should be fertilized before September, prior to the period of fruit-bud initiation.
Soil analytical services provided free of charge by the N.C. Department of Agriculture provide information on soil pH,
dolomitic lime requirement, available phosphorus, potassium and magnesium levels, percentage humic matter, and total nitrogen
content. However, there is no satisfactory analytical method for determining the amount of nitrogen in the soil sample that is
immediately available for plant growth. The percentage humic matter and total nitrogen content give indications of overall soil
fertility and this can be a useful guide to nitrogen availability. Essentially, you should follow the test recommendations for
adjusting soil phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) before planting. If no soil test has been made, broadcast about 4 pounds of
10-10-10 fertilizer for each 100 feet of row 2 to 3 weeks before planting strawberries.
First season fertilizer if new plants appear light green and are not growing well, sidedress with nitrogen (N) about one month
after planting. Apply either 1 1/2 pound ammonium nitrate per 100 feet of row, or about 5 pounds 10-10-10 per 100 feet of
row. A topdress application of ammonium nitrate at 1 1/2 pounds per 100 feet of row should be made again in late August.
When topdressing strawberry plants, apply the fertilizer evenly and be sure to brush all fertilizer off the leaves to protect from
fertilizer burn. The late August N application is necessary to promote good flower bud development in the fall. Very light
coastal soils need additional N again in late January. The rate suggested at this time is 3/4 pounds ammonium nitrate, or 2 1/2
pounds 10-10-10 per 100 feet of row.
Second season fertilizer prior to mowing the strawberry foliage at renovation (see Renovation), broadcast 3 to 4 pounds of a
complete fertilizer (e.g. 10-10-10) or 1 1/2 pounds ammonium nitrate per 100 feet of row. Follow the same recommendations
indicated for the first season fertilizer program in late August and again in late January (for sandy coastal soils). Prior to
renovation, a second soil sample can be taken to furnish more exact recommendations for the summer and fall growing period.
Organic fertilizers many of these if properly used are perfectly satisfactory. Dried Blood (12-14% N) is of course organic and
immediately available. It leaves an acid reaction. Bone Meal contains 20-24% phosphoric acid, acting slowly, while steamed
bone meal acts more quickly. Wood ashes can be used for supplying potash. For those who wish more information contact
your County Cooperative Extension Office.
Key Objectives in western N.C., the foothills and upper piedmont, a mulch is applied in the early winter,
preferably after the ground has frozen for the first time, to prevent the soil from freezing and thawing and heaving
of the plants. Also, when growth begins in the spring, a mulch of straw or pine needles on the ground helps to
keep the berries clean as they ripen, conserves the moisture in the soil and is an excellent means for controlling
EASTERN CAROLINA AND CENTRAL PIEDMONT Apply pine needles or grain straw in February. Scatter lightly over
plants and in middles between rows.
WESTERN CAROLINA, FOOTHILLS AND UPPER PIEDMONT In December, broadcast sufficient pine needles or
grain straw in the middles and around the plants to protect crown. Use a light application on top of the plants at the higher
elevations after the ground has frozen. This will prevent heaving of the plants and protect them from cold, drying winds when
there is no snow cover.