Fall 2022 Strawberry Planting Advisory: Part 1
The fall 2022 strawberry planting season is well underway in Arkansas. Growers in some of the northern parts of the state started planting in the last few weeks.
This year’s planting season is shaping up to have a unique set of challenges.
Plant delivery for some orders has been delayed, the hot and dry summer made bedding difficult for some and the ideal planting window for much of the state occurs this coming week (Sept 19th-23rd) when temperatures are forecast to be in the upper 90s and as high as 100F.
With all these challenges, I have a few thoughts and recommendations to share.
1. Planting Delays
Many growers may be delayed from planting in their ideal planting window due to plant shipment dates this year.
- My recommendation is to plant as soon as feasible once you receive your plants, then allow the plants to root in for a few weeks and finally plan to apply a row cover late in October.
- Growers who plant late will want to have 1oz row covers on hand to apply if the weather turns cold quickly.
- In our experience a row cover applied for 3-4 weeks for the last few week(s) in late Oct/ early November and removed in the first part of December helped to increase plant establishment and yields on late planted strawberry crops.
- Based on our data this use of a fall applied row cover won’t make up for yield losses due to the late planting but can increase crown development and ultimately yield over a late planting where no row cover is applied.
- We saw a benefit of fall row cover use most in years where the weather turned cold
early that fall.
- In years where it stays very warm through November the use of fall row-covers might not be necessary.
- Right now, October is predicted to be warmer and drier than normal. We will continue to monitor this situation.
We have several years of research that demonstrates the major impact planting date has on crop establishment and ultimately yield in the following spring.
These are the current recommended planting dates for Arkansas based on our on-going research:
2. Hot Temperature
- If you are planning to plant this coming week during the forecasted hot temperatures use extreme caution
- Make sure the tray plants are very well watered going into the field
- Ensure that the beds have adequate moisture before you start planting. This may require running the drip system for several hours before you start planting and continue to run it until the beds shoulders are adequately moist.
- Overhead sprinklers can help to increase the humidity around the plants and make sure they don’t dry out in the afternoon when the temperatures are the hottest and the black plastic heats up.
- Planting in the early morning or early evening and avoiding putting the plants out in the middle of the day when temperatures are the hottest has been successful for some growers in the past.
- If you have some flexibility to delay planting until Friday (9/23/22) you may want to consider doing so as the temperatures are currently predicted to be about 10F cooler than on Wednesday and Thursday.
I will follow up with additional updates in two weeks. I wish everyone a successful strawberry planting season!