Know Here – How Often To Water Strawberries?
Strawberries are more than just fruits. They are tasty and healthy, which makes them really valuable as additions to your family's meals
Those small, red beauties have been popular among farmers and buyers alike for centuries. They also happen to be the average farmer's dream fruit, growing and fruiting all year long (some varieties). They can easily be managed, which is why many homeowners decide to grow them in their backyard gardens on a small scale.
Just like any other plants, strawberries have certain requirements for proper growth and fruiting. Chief among them is water, without which they cannot grow big or juicy enough. Most farmers understand these requirements and try to meet them regularly, but it’s never easy. One question most strawberry farmers can’t answer is how often to water strawberries.
Yes, they do need water, but how much of it? And at what intervals of watering? This article shows farmers and gardeners how often to water strawberries, and explains what you need to do to ensure your sweet strawberries always have enough water.
Factors that determine how often to water strawberries
To determine how often to water strawberries each week, there are a number of factors you must consider first.
#1 Whether it’s recently rained or not
If it has recently rained or looks like it will rain soon, reduce the number of times you water the strawberries a week.
In drier conditions i.e. when there hasn’t been any rain for a long time, you will need to increase the frequency of your watering every week to supply the missing amount.
#2 Whether they’re growing in full or half sun
Exposure to the sun also determines how often to water strawberries. Those growing under a full sun in your garden require more water each week than those growing in a shaded or partially covered environment.
That’s because those under the full sun are exposed to more sunlight and lose their water faster through transpiration and plant uptake.
#3 The soil type in question and its moisture holding capacity
Some soils, such as sandy soils are known for their poor moisture holding capacity. The latter directly determines how often to water strawberries growing in such soils. It also means that they easily lose their moisture, drying up in the process.
Strawberry plants growing in such soils require more frequent watering than those growing in better soils such as loam soils, whose moisture holding capacity allows it to stay wet for longer.
When do strawberries need watering the most?
- In their younger growth phase
- When bearing fruit
- During long periods of limited or no rainfall
So, how often to water strawberries?
The answer to ‘how often to water strawberries’ is a straightforward one. You should always water your strawberries whenever and as often as they need water. You can always know when they need it by looking at the soil around their stems or digging into the soil with your finger. If the soil looks or feels wet, there is no need for watering that day.
Growth phases are crucial in determining how often to water strawberries. The plant requires different watering frequencies throughout each of its growth phases for proper development as shown below.
- New/young plants – Require about an inch of water every week. Split this amount into 3 or 4 equal servings and water them every one or two days, depending on the soil and its moisture holding capacity.
- Flowering plants – Require 1 -2 inches of water every week. Split this into 3 or 4 servings and water whenever the soil around the root area feels or looks dry. Always remember to adjust your watering frequency with that of natural water sources.
Other factors to consider
#1 Root type
Strawberry plants have short roots that don’t go too deep into the soil. This means that they easily lose water when it sinks into the soil. It also cements the need for mulching, which keeps water and moisture in the upper layers of the soil.
#2 Strawberry varieties
The different varieties present should also be considered when determining how often to water strawberries.While their water needs may not vary much, the difference between the fruit bearing periods of the short day variety such as the Allstar and the day neutral variety such as the Quinault necessitates different frequencies in watering for proper fruition and growth.
The bad side of over watering strawberries
Due to overly frequent watering, the soil around the strawberry plants becomes oversaturated and water logged. When exposed to too much water for long, the plant roots tend to rot in quick subsequence, damaging the plant.
This is another dangerous effect of watering the plants too frequently. It results from waterlogging of the soil and leads to curling up of the plant leaves until they dry and fall off.
Proliferation of pests
With too much watering comes increased humidity, and with humidity comes the perfect environment for the growth and multiplication of dangerous pests. These attack the strawberry plant’s leaves, roots, and fruits, destroying the plant in the process.
Some Watering tips you can use
- Start mulching around your strawberry plants to keep more moisture in the soil around them and reduce your watering frequency. You can use natural or plastic mulch; both are good enough to reduce the plant's’ water needs.
- Consider adding compost to the soil around your strawberries. It’s not only a source of nutrients for them; it also increases the soil’s water-holding capacity. That way, not all the water sinks quickly to the lower soil layers whenever you water.
- Add some nutrients to the water before you spraying it on the plant. Adding some nutrients such as nitrogen or tomato feed to the water increases the water’s value and strengthens the plant against growth inhibitors like diseases and pests.
Enjoy the strawberry fruit from your own garden
If you were unsure of how often to water strawberries, the ideas and guidelines above will surely prove to be helpful when watering your strawberry plants next time. To prevent them from rotting or turning them to lush foliage, water them as per this guide and enjoy the juicy fruit of your hard work.