Explore how strawberry productivity can be improved by managing soil health.
Soil health is an important aspect of strawberry production. According to a GrowingProduce.com article, “The chemical, physical, and biological properties of the soil, and how those characteristics are managed, all contribute to the health of the soil and its ability to support the production of berry crops.” The article looks at recommendations on soil health for strawberry production from the research of Marvin Pritts, a professor at Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. See them summarized below.
Tips for Managing Soil Health for Strawberry Production
Pritts’ research looked at how soil health affected the root health of strawberry plants, and thus the productivity of the plant. While his research was done mainly on strawberries grown in northern states, much of the research is transferable.
The research revealed the following growing habits negatively affected soil health enough that it greatly reduced root health:
Not rotating crops. Pathogens that are harmful to soil health have time to move in.
Soil compaction. Water and nutrients can’t get to roots adequately.
Use of some herbicides. Herbicides labelled for berries were typically older and had little research into their effects on root health, according to the article, and weren’t usually developed just for strawberries. Pritts’ research did show “evidence that the herbicide Sinbar is harmful for root health.”
Fumigation. “What we hypothesized was that fumigation kills all of the microorganisms. In a few years, when there is nothing there to compete with the bad guys, they can really take over,” Pritts was quoted as saying in the article.
The two habits that really improved soil health were cover cropping between strawberry harvests, using crops such as mustards, sweet corn, kale, rye, and some marigolds, and composting.
Griffin Fertilizer is committed to helping both growers and ranchers make sound agronomic and economic decisions in order to maximize the health of their grove and pasture. As a full-service custom dry & liquid fertilizer blender and crop protection product distributor, we will continue our mission to further advance Florida agriculture. For questions or concerns about your farm or pasture, contact us and one of our team will be in touch.