Strawberries are available in Arkansas during spring and summer, and if you grow them on time, you’ll be able to pick these fruits off the vines when they’re the freshest and sweetest.
While scheduling when to plant strawberries in Arkansas, remember that April and September to October are the best months for gardening. Read below for more tips on cultivating this crop.
Table of Contents
- Best Time to Plant Strawberries in Arkansas
- Varieties of Strawberry to Plant in Arkansas
- Tips for Planting, Caring for, and Harvesting Strawberries in Arkansas
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Time to Plant Strawberries in Arkansas
1. Plant in spring outdoors in April
Spring is a good season for planting strawberries in Arkansas. To grow strawberries during this time, simply sow them outdoors three to four weeks before the last frost.
Strawberries won’t be harmed by the cold weather outside in late winter and early spring, though you should still protect them with covers if a late frost is approaching.
Considering that Arkansas has its last freeze from March 20 to April 20 on average, one can start planting strawberries as early as February 21 to March 23.
However, mid-April is still the best time of year in spring for cultivating this fruit, especially when temperatures reach 55 to 60℉ or the minimum warmth level for strawberries to be productive.
With that said, below are the frost dates for some locations in Arkansas for reference.
|Location||Final frost||First frost|
|Atkins||April 5||October 29|
|Cabot||April 11||October 25|
|Conway||April 8||October 28|
|Dumas||March 20||November 8|
|Farmington||April 23||October 16|
2. Plant indoors in spring in January and February
People rarely grow Arkansas strawberries from seeds due to their lower success rates and slower fruition. Seeds also tend to not resemble their parents, which makes them less desirable in terms of fruit quality.
That said, growers who want to use seeds can sow them indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost and transplant strawberries outside once the weather is warm and the plants have two sets of true leaves.
Taking into account Arkansas’s average final frost of March 20 to April 20, we’d have a seeding time of January 24 to February 24.
3. Planting time for different areas
If you’re scheduling your planting season using hardiness zones, here is the general time for planting strawberries in different climate regions of Arkansas.
|Region||Last frost||Spring planting time (outdoors)||Spring planting (indoors)|
|Zone 6 and 7||March 30 – April 30||March 2 – April 2||February 3 – March 5|
|Zone 8||February 22 – March 30||January 25 – March 2||December 28 – February 3|
4. How late is too late to plant strawberries in Arkansas?
What time of year is too late to plant strawberries?
Those who plant strawberries in the fall should get their crops in the ground by mid-October, though the first week of the same month is often considered too late to grow these fruits.
If the weather is too cold in the fall, it’s necessary to protect strawberries with row covers so that they stay warm enough to form crowns that will bear fruits next spring.
Varieties of Strawberry to Plant in Arkansas
If you’re looking for the best strawberries to plant in Arkansas, check out the list below.
An excellent choice for beginners, Earliglow strawberries are sweet and juicy with a classic dark red color that’s universally appealing.
These strawberries will suit both freezing and fresh consumption. They’re also resistant to red stele root rot, which can cause discoloration on the leaves and kill strawberry plants.
If you’re worried about disease affecting your plants, this variety should top your list of strawberries to grow in Arkansas. Firm and sweet, Cardinal strawberries are easy to incorporate into desserts.
Lateglow strawberries are excellent for preserves and baked goods. They also grow well in containers and produce high yields.
Regardless of which variety you choose, remember that everbearing strawberries aren’t ideal for Arkansas. As for day-neutral cultivars, Tribute and Tristar are two options that suit the state’s climate.
Tips for Planting, Caring for, and Harvesting Strawberries in Arkansas
- Plant strawberries so that the crown is just above-ground while the roots are buried. If your soil is not fertile enough, it is advisable to apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer before planting or whatever your soil test recommends.
- In any case, the ground should be sandy and loamy with a pH of 5.7 to 6.5 for optimal growth. You should also spread the strawberry roots apart and put them in matted rows with 3 to 3.5 feet of distance.
- Moreover, the plants themselves should be 24 inches or 2 feet apart and surrounded by two to four inches of mulch during winter up until the last frost.
- Water strawberries immediately after planting and give them one to two inches of moisture per week in two to four applications.
- If birds come to your yard frequently, use plastic netting to protect strawberries from damage while you wait to collect them.
- Fruits that are evenly red in color are ripe for picking. Simply cut them off at the stem while ensuring the calyx is intact. The calyx will keep the strawberries fresh for longer and help retain their flavor, even more so if you refrigerate the fruits immediately.
- If you see rotten strawberries on the plant, remove them right away to encourage production.
Factors that affect the optimal time to plant strawberries in Arkansas
Strawberries will produce runners instead of crowns if you subject them to extreme heat during their nascent stages. Runners on a young strawberry drain energy and nutrients from the mother plant, thereby lowering the number and quality of fruits you’ll get come harvest time.
This is the reason why it’s unwise to grow strawberries too early in the fall.
Inversely, sowing them too late means the plants will have less time to establish themselves before winter arrives. Depending on how excessive the delay is, fruit yield may decline by 15 up to 35 percent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do strawberries grow well in Arkansas?
Yes. Strawberries can grow in all parts of Arkansas. They have been planted here since the 19th century, and there are approximately 200 acres of strawberries in the state.
How long does it take for strawberry plants to produce fruit in Arkansas?
It takes about nine months for strawberries to bear fruits in Arkansas, so you’ll have fresh berries to enjoy in less than a year after planting.
When should I remove runners from my strawberry plants in Arkansas?
In a matted row system, which is the one recommended for growing strawberries at home, you can let runners spread in all directions, but they should fill no more than 18 inches of space, and there should be at least 1.5 to 2.5 feet between rows.
It’s also recommended to cut the runners off near the end of the growing season once they have rooted, then transplant them before winter comes. This should give the runners about twenty to thirty days to prepare for overwintering.
We hope this article answered all your questions concerning when to plant strawberries in Arkansas. Whether in ice cream, bagels, sandwiches, or drinks, strawberries are wonderful to eat and exceptionally healthy. Grow them at home to enjoy an abundance of these fruits come springtime.
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