If you’re from Tennessee and you want to start a mini strawberry farm in your backyard, it is essential to know what month you should plant strawberries for bountiful harvests and an overall successful endeavor.
So, when to plant strawberries in Tennessee? You can start planting strawberry runners in the spring season, particularly from March 3 to April 20. However, these dates may vary depending on location.
Want to know more interesting information about growing strawberries in Tennessee? Simply read and finish this article!
Table of Contents
- Best Time to Plant Strawberries in TN
- Best Strawberries to Grow in Tennessee
- Tips in Harvesting Strawberries in Tennessee
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Time to Plant Strawberries in TN
1. Planting before the last frost
The most recommended time to plant strawberries in the state is in the spring after the winter frost has finally thawed. This is sometime between March 3 to April 20, depending on location.
Strawberries can be started indoors as the winter season comes to an end until early in the spring, from January 28 to March 16.
Refer to the table below for the last average frost date per area in Tennessee and when to plant them indoors and outdoors:
|Area||Last Spring Frost Date||Start Seeds Indoors||Transplant Seedlings or Start Seeds Outdoors|
|Chattanooga / Nashville||April 7||February 10 to 24||March 16 to 30|
|Clarksville / Franklin /||April 10||February 13 to 27||March 19 to April 2|
|Hendersonville||April 18||February 21 to March 7||March 27 to April 11|
|Jackson||April 9||February 12 to 26||March 18 to April 1|
|Johnson City||April 27||March 2 to 16||April 6 to 20|
|Knoxville||April 19||February 22 to March 8||March 28 to April 12|
|Memphis||March 24||January 28 to February 11||March 3 to 17|
|Murfreesboro||April 15||February 18 to March 4||March 24 to April 8|
2. Planting in the late summer to fall
You can also plant June-bearing strawberries as late as in the fall season in Tennessee, provided that the plants reach maturity within 60 to 90 days before frost or else they’ll get damaged.
The map below shows the USDA Hardiness Zones of the state. As you can see, the majority of Tennessee lies within Zone 7A.
- Zone 5B
Since the first fall frost date is usually expected to arrive on October 1 in this area, you can plant sometime between July 3 to August 2.
- Zone 6
In this planting zone, the first average fall frost is on November 1, which means you can start seeding strawberries from August 3 to September 2.
- Zone 7
You can expect the first fall frost in Zone 7 on November 15, that makes planting strawberries from August 17 to September 16 the most ideal.
- Zone 8A
Most of the southern states in West Tennessee are within Zone 8A. Since the first fall frost is expected on December 1 for this region, you can do some fall planting strawberries between September 2 to October 2.
Best Strawberries to Grow in Tennessee
- Type: June-bearing
- Characteristics: Medium-sized cultivar with a high yield capacity and holds up well during processing
- When to Plant: Spring or early fall when soil temperatures are 60°F to 80°F
2. Sweet Charlie
- Characteristics: Small to medium-sized variety hybridized specifically for Southern temperatures but usually has lower yields
- When to Plant: Early spring to late fall when soil temperatures are 60°F to 80°F
- Type: June-bearing
- Characteristics: Medium-sized cultivar that is considered a prolific producer and grows best in cooler soils compared to other varieties
- When to Plant: Early in the spring as soon as the soil reaches 60°F
4. Ozark Beauty
- Type: Everbearing
- Characteristics: Extra large variety that vigorously grows uniformly-shaped berries and can tolerate temperatures as low as -30°F
- When to Plant: Early spring as soon as the dangers of the last frost has passed or when soil temperature is at 60°F
- Type: Everbearing
- Characteristics: Large-sized cultivar released in 1992 with decent yields and typically grown in containers or raised beds
- When to Plant: Early spring to fall when it can thrive hot temperatures of up to 90°F
6. Eversweet strawberries
- Type: Everbearing
- Characteristics: Large-sized variety capable of staying an evergreen strawberry even in periods without frost
- When to Plant: Early spring as long as temperatures do not exceed 90°F
Tips in Harvesting Strawberries in Tennessee
Generally, harvesting begins in May and may last until mid-October depending on planting time, location, cultivar used, and weather conditions (hotter temperatures may interrupt or lessen fruiting).
Strawberries are also usually hand-picked, without the help of any planting tool, making it quite a labor-intensive plant to grow.
Here are some tips when harvesting strawberries:
- When the berries are completely red in color, this indicates that they are ripe and ready for picking. However, do so after 1 to 2 days.
- Strawberries with white portions can still be picked since they will eventually ripen. However, their sweetness may not improve. As such, they should be picked in the next harvest instead.
- To pick strawberries, simply use your hands to twist and pull the stem and the entire fruit from its vine.
- Gently place them—not throw them—in containers, but make sure they don’t go over 5 inches in depth, or else the lower berries will be damaged.
- Lastly, annually fertilize strawberries in TN once after the last harvest in the season using a 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 formula.
Frequently Asked Questions
How late can you plant strawberries in Tennessee?
Everbearing strawberries can be planted as late as spring while June-bearing strawberries can still be grown as late as in the summer and fall seasons.
Where are strawberries grown in Tennessee?
Strawberries can be grown in a variety of soil conditions but they thrive best in well-draining, organically-rich, sandy loam soil.
Many might not know that planting strawberry bulbs is also possible in containers with well-fertilized soil.
Are there wild strawberries in Tennessee?
Yes. In fact, Tennessee wild strawberries are native plants to the Middle and Eastern regions of the state, where they usually bloom in the summer.
How long is strawberry season in Tennessee?
The strawberry season in the state usually lasts 4 to 6 weeks long but it depends on the weather condition. Generally, it starts from the middle of April in West Tennessee until late June in the upper portion of East Tennessee.
Now that you know when to plant strawberries in Tennessee, you should always keep in mind that timing, location, and soil temperatures are three important factors to consider when growing them!
Harvesting is also an essential step in growing strawberries. It involves knowing when your fruits are ripe for picking, placing them in containers, and fertilizing so that they can produce more fruits in the next season!
Having all this knowledge will definitely help you grow bountiful harvests!