How To Grow Strawberries In Ohio

Growing strawberries in Ohio can be a fulfilling and fruitful endeavor. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, knowing the basics of planting and caring for strawberries is essential for a successful harvest. In this guide, we will provide you with valuable tips and insights on how to grow strawberries in Ohio, from selecting the right varieties to preparing the soil and maintaining your plants.

Key Takeaways:

  • Choose the appropriate strawberry varieties for your preferences and needs.
  • Prepare the soil by ensuring it is well-drained and has the correct pH level.
  • Plant strawberries in early spring for optimal growth.
  • Mulch the plants to conserve moisture and prevent weed growth.
  • Regularly care for your strawberry plants by removing runners and flowers.

Choosing the Right Variety of Strawberries

When it comes to growing strawberries in Ohio, choosing the right variety is crucial to ensure a successful harvest. There are three main types of strawberries to consider: June bearing, everbearing, and day-neutral. Each variety has its own unique characteristics and benefits.

June bearing strawberries are a popular choice among Ohio gardeners. They produce a large crop of berries in June, making them perfect for fresh eating, baking, and preserving. With a variety of flavors and sizes available, you can find the perfect June bearing strawberry to suit your taste.

Everbearing strawberries, as the name suggests, produce fruit multiple times throughout the growing season. This variety is ideal if you want a continuous supply of berries from summer to fall. Everbearing strawberries are also known for their tolerance to cold weather, making them a great option for Ohio’s unpredictable climate.

Day-neutral strawberries are another excellent choice for Ohio gardeners. These strawberries have a longer harvest period, producing fruit from spring to fall. They are known for their consistent yields and ability to adapt to various growing conditions. Day-neutral strawberries are especially well-suited for home gardens and small-scale production.

When selecting strawberry varieties for your Ohio garden, consider your preferences for taste, yield, and harvest time. It’s always a good idea to consult local gardening experts or nursery professionals who can provide recommendations based on your specific needs and growing conditions.

Preparation and Planting

When it comes to planting strawberries in Ohio, proper preparation is essential for ensuring successful growth. Start by selecting a sunny location with fertile, well-drained soil. Early spring (April) is the best time to plant strawberries in Ohio. When planting, cover the roots and about half of the crown with soil. Make sure to set the roots vertically in the ground, avoiding any horizontal bending.

Spacing is another important consideration. For June bearing plants, aim for rows that are 36-40 inches apart. Day-neutral plants, on the other hand, should have rows spaced 30-36 inches apart. This spacing allows for proper airflow and reduces the risk of disease. Finally, don’t forget to mulch the plants with 3-4 inches of straw or wood chips. This layer of mulch helps conserve moisture and controls weed growth.

Planting Tips:

  • Choose a sunny location with well-drained soil
  • Plant in early spring (April) for best results
  • Cover roots and half of the crown with soil
  • Set roots vertically; avoid bending horizontally
  • June bearing rows should be 36-40 inches apart
  • Day-neutral rows should be 30-36 inches apart
  • Mulch plants with 3-4 inches of straw or wood chips

Crown and Roots Diagram:

planting strawberries diagram

Spacing Planting Time Mulching
June Bearing 36-40 inches apart Early spring (April) 3-4 inches of straw or wood chips
Day-Neutral 30-36 inches apart Early spring (April) 3-4 inches of straw or wood chips

Care and Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance are crucial for ensuring healthy and productive strawberry plants in Ohio. By following the right practices, you can maximize your yield and enjoy delicious strawberries throughout the growing season.

Runners and Blossoms

It’s essential to remove runners and blossoms during the first season of growth to allow the “mother plant” to focus its energy on developing a strong root system. Runners are the long stems that extend from the main plant and produce new plants. While they can be exciting to see, they divert nutrients away from fruit production. By trimming them off, you’ll encourage the mother plant to produce more strawberries.

Similarly, removing blossoms during the first season helps redirect the plant’s energy towards growth rather than fruit production. While it may be tempting to let the plant bear fruit right away, this initial period of establishment is crucial for long-term plant health and productivity.

Weeding and Mulching

Weeding is an essential part of caring for your strawberry plants. Weeds compete with the plants for water, nutrients, and sunlight, affecting their growth and overall health. Regularly inspect your strawberry bed and remove any weeds that appear. Be careful not to disturb the shallow roots of the strawberry plants while weeding.

Mulching is another crucial aspect of strawberry care. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around the plants. Mulching helps conserve moisture in the soil, prevents weed growth, and protects the developing fruit from direct contact with the ground. It also helps regulate soil temperature and prevents soil erosion. Maintain a mulch layer of about 3-4 inches.

Benefits of Mulching Considerations
Conserves soil moisture Avoid excessive mulch, which can lead to crown rot
Suppresses weed growth Ensure mulch is clean and free of diseases and pests
Protects developing fruit Apply mulch after the soil has warmed in the spring
Regulates soil temperature Regularly check for moisture levels beneath the mulch

Additional Maintenance

In addition to runners, blossoms, weeding, and mulching, there are a few other maintenance tasks to keep in mind. Regularly monitor the plants for signs of pests or diseases and take appropriate action if necessary. Inspect the leaves for any discoloration, spots, or holes, and address any issues promptly. Proper irrigation is also crucial, as strawberries require consistent moisture. Water deeply but avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to diseases like root rot.

By caring for your strawberry plants diligently and providing them with the right conditions, you’ll enjoy a bountiful harvest of sweet and juicy strawberries to savor all season long.

Proper Spacing

Proper spacing is crucial when growing strawberries in Ohio, whether you have June bearing or day-neutral plants. Good spacing allows for adequate airflow and reduces the risk of diseases. For June bearing strawberries, space the plants 12-24 inches apart within the rows. The rows should be 36-40 inches apart. This spacing ensures that each plant has enough room to grow and produce healthy fruit. If you have day-neutral strawberries, the spacing should be slightly closer. Plant them 8-12 inches apart within the rows, with rows spaced 30-36 inches apart.

To visualize the proper spacing, refer to the table below:

Strawberry Type Plant Spacing (Within Rows) Row Spacing
June bearing 12-24 inches 36-40 inches
Day-neutral 8-12 inches 30-36 inches

With proper spacing, your strawberry plants will have enough room to grow and receive adequate sunlight. This will promote healthy growth, prevent overcrowding, and ultimately lead to a bountiful harvest. Remember to maintain these spacing guidelines throughout the planting area to ensure consistent growth and fruit production.

Dealing with Pests and Diseases

When growing strawberries in Ohio, it’s important to be aware of the potential pests and diseases that can affect your plants. By taking proactive measures and practicing good garden hygiene, you can minimize the risk and keep your strawberry patch healthy and productive.

  • Pests: Common pests that may target your strawberries include slugs, aphids, and strawberry root weevils. To deter slugs, you can create barriers using copper tape or diatomaceous earth around your plants. Aphids can be controlled by removing infested leaves or using organic insecticidal soap. Strawberry root weevils can be managed by tilling the soil after harvest to expose and remove pupae.
  • Diseases: Strawberries can be susceptible to diseases such as powdery mildew, gray mold, and verticillium wilt. To prevent the spread of diseases, avoid overhead watering and provide good air circulation by spacing plants properly. Remove and destroy any infected plants or plant parts immediately to reduce the risk of spreading diseases.

“Preventative measures, such as rotating crops and selecting disease-resistant varieties, can also help minimize the impact of diseases on your strawberry plants.” – Dr. Gary Gao, The Ohio State University Extension

Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of pest infestations or diseases. Early detection and swift action can help prevent the spread and minimize damage to your strawberry plants. If you’re unsure about the identification or treatment of a particular pest or disease, consult with your local extension office or a knowledgeable gardening expert.


Frost Protection and Winter Care

In Ohio, frost protection is crucial for ensuring the survival and productivity of strawberry plants during the winter months. The extreme cold temperatures can pose a threat to the plants, but with proper care, you can safeguard your strawberry crop.

One effective technique for protecting your plants from frost is to mulch them with a layer of straw or wood chips. This insulation helps to regulate the soil temperature, preventing rapid freezing and thawing that can damage the plants. When applying the mulch, make sure to cover the entire strawberry bed with a layer that is about 3-4 inches thick.

It’s important to note that the mulch should be removed in early spring, before the plants start to grow. Leaving the mulch on for too long can create a damp environment that promotes disease and pest infestation. By removing the mulch at the right time, you allow the plants to receive adequate sunlight and air circulation, which are essential for their growth and development.

Benefits of Mulching for Frost Protection Considerations for Mulching
Insulates the soil and protects the roots from freezing Avoid using plastic mulch, as it can trap moisture and lead to rot
Helps to retain soil moisture and prevent dehydration Ensure the mulch layer is thick enough to provide adequate insulation
Reduces the risk of frost heaving, where the soil freezes and pushes the plants out of the ground Choose a high-quality mulch material, such as straw or wood chips

Proper frost protection can make a significant difference in the overall health and yield of your strawberry plants. By implementing mulching techniques and removing the mulch at the right time, you can ensure that your plants are well-protected during the winter months and ready to thrive in the upcoming growing season.


Once your strawberries have ripened to a vibrant red hue, it’s time to harvest them. Picking strawberries in the morning, when the temperatures are cooler, will ensure that you preserve their freshness and flavor. Plus, it’s a peaceful and enjoyable way to start your day.

When harvesting strawberries, gently pinch the stem right above the fruit to avoid causing any damage. The goal is to leave the green cap intact and attached to the berry. This will help the strawberries stay fresher for longer.

Be sure to check your strawberry plants every two to three days for ripe fruit. Strawberries have a relatively short shelf life once they are fully ripe, so it’s best to pick them as soon as they are ready. Store your freshly harvested strawberries in the refrigerator to maintain their quality.

harvesting strawberries

Guidelines Tips
Picking Time Pick strawberries in the morning for the best flavor.
Handling Gently pinch the stem above the fruit to avoid damage.
Frequency Check plants every two to three days for ripe strawberries.
Storage Store freshly harvested strawberries in the refrigerator.

Tips for Achieving a High Yield

When it comes to growing strawberries in Ohio, achieving a high yield is a top priority for many gardeners. By following a few key tips, you can maximize the productivity of your strawberry plants and enjoy a bountiful harvest. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Ensure proper pollination: Strawberries require pollination to set fruit, so it’s important to provide access to pollinators like bees. If you’re growing strawberries indoors or in an area with limited natural pollinators, you can use a vibrating device to simulate bee activity and enhance pollination.
  2. Maximize sunlight: Strawberries thrive in full sunlight, so it’s essential to provide them with ample exposure. Regularly remove any weeds or daughter plants that may cast shade on your strawberries, ensuring they receive the necessary sunlight for optimal fruit production.

“Proper pollination and ample sunlight are crucial factors in achieving a high yield of strawberries in Ohio.”

In addition to these strategies, mulching can also play a significant role in maintaining soil moisture and protecting your developing crop:

  • Apply mulch: Mulching offers several benefits for strawberry plants, including moisture retention, weed suppression, and temperature regulation. Apply a layer of straw or wood chips around your strawberry plants, ensuring a thickness of around 3-4 inches. This mulch will help conserve moisture and protect the delicate fruit.

By implementing these tips and providing your strawberry plants with the right conditions, you’ll increase your chances of achieving a high yield and enjoying ample harvests of delicious strawberries in Ohio.


Table: Comparing Strawberry Yield-Boosting Strategies

Strategy Benefits
Proper Pollination Ensures fruit set and maximizes yield through pollinator activity
Maximizing Sunlight Enhances photosynthesis and promotes optimal fruit production
Mulching Conserves moisture, suppresses weeds, and protects developing fruit

Organic Gardening for Strawberries

Growing strawberries organically in Ohio not only ensures a healthier and more sustainable approach to gardening but also allows you to enjoy the purest flavors in your harvest. By following organic gardening practices, you can cultivate strawberries without the use of harmful chemicals or synthetic fertilizers, promoting the overall well-being of your plants and the environment.

One of the key principles of organic gardening is the use of natural mulch to conserve moisture and control weeds. In Ohio, organic mulches such as straw or chopped leaves are excellent options. Applying a layer of mulch around your strawberry plants helps retain moisture in the soil, preventing it from drying out during hot summer days. Additionally, it acts as a barrier against weeds, reducing the need for intensive manual weeding.

organic gardening

While organic gardening methods significantly reduce the risk of pests and diseases, slugs can still pose a threat to your strawberry plants. These slimy creatures are known to damage leaves and berries. To protect your strawberries from slugs, consider planting them in containers or pots in an open area. This not only provides an elevated growing space but also makes it harder for slugs to reach the plants. Regularly inspect your plants and manually remove any slugs you spot.

With organic gardening, you can cultivate strawberries in Ohio in a way that promotes the health and vitality of your plants, while also minimizing your impact on the environment. Embrace the beauty of natural methods, and watch as your organic strawberry garden flourishes with vibrant, flavorful fruits.

Benefits of Organic Gardening for Strawberries

  • Promotes healthier, chemical-free plants
  • Enhances soil fertility and biodiversity
  • Reduces environmental impact
  • Preserves the natural flavors of the strawberries
  • Supports sustainable gardening practices

Organic Gardening Tips

  1. Use organic mulch such as straw or chopped leaves to conserve moisture and control weeds.
  2. Regularly inspect your strawberry plants for slugs and manually remove them.
  3. Consider planting strawberries in containers or pots to protect against slugs and weeds.
  4. Practice crop rotation to prevent the buildup of pests and diseases in the soil.
  5. Encourage natural pollinators by planting bee-friendly flowers near your strawberry garden.

By adopting organic gardening practices, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor while contributing to a healthier and more sustainable environment. Take the step towards organic gardening and witness the bountiful rewards of growing strawberries in Ohio.

Resources and Support

When it comes to growing strawberries in Ohio, it’s helpful to have access to resources and support to ensure success. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced gardener, there are several avenues you can explore to find the guidance you need.

Ohio State University Extension

A valuable resource for strawberry growers in Ohio is the Ohio State University Extension. Their experts, like Dr. Gary Gao, provide valuable information on selecting the right strawberry varieties, addressing common disease problems, and offering planting advice. You can reach out to them through their website or local extension offices for personalized support.

Gardening Programs

The Ohio Department of Agriculture Victory Garden Program is another great resource for Ohio gardeners. This program promotes and supports community gardening efforts and provides access to educational resources, workshops, and networking opportunities. Participating in gardening programs can help you connect with other like-minded individuals and learn from their experiences.

Remember, resources and support are essential for successful strawberry gardening in Ohio. Take advantage of the expertise and guidance available to you, and enjoy the process of growing your own delicious strawberries.


Congratulations on taking the first steps towards growing delicious strawberries in Ohio! By following these strawberry growing tips, you can ensure a successful and rewarding gardening experience.

Remember to choose the right variety of strawberries that suits your preferences, whether it’s June bearing, everbearing, or day-neutral varieties. Prepare the soil properly by ensuring it is well-drained and has the right pH level. Proper spacing is crucial for the plants to thrive, so make sure to follow the recommended distances for June bearing and day-neutral plants.

Take good care of your strawberry plants by removing runners and flowers to allow the “mother plant” to flourish. Protect them from pests and diseases by selecting a suitable planting site and using disease-free planting stock. Don’t forget to provide frost protection during winter and harvest your ripe strawberries for maximum flavor.

With these tips in mind, you’re well on your way to a bountiful strawberry harvest in your Ohio garden. Happy strawberry growing!


What are the different types of strawberries to choose from in Ohio?

There are three main types of strawberries: June bearing, everbearing, and day-neutral. June bearing strawberries produce fruit in June after the year they are planted, while everbearing strawberries produce fruit three times a year. Day-neutral strawberries produce fruit throughout the growing season.

How should I prepare the soil before planting strawberries in Ohio?

Ensure the soil is well-drained and has a pH of 5.8 to 6.5. Raised beds are a good option for growing strawberries.

How many strawberry plants do I need for my family?

The average family will need around 25 plants, but you may want to consider planting more.

When is the best time to plant strawberries in Ohio?

Early spring (April) is the best time to plant strawberries in Ohio.

How should I space the plants when planting strawberries in Ohio?

June bearing plants should be spaced 12-24 inches apart within the rows, with rows being 36-40 inches apart. Day-neutral plants should be spaced 8-12 inches apart within the rows, with rows being 30-36 inches apart.

How can I protect strawberries from pests and diseases?

Select a planting site where potatoes, tomatoes, or sod were not recently grown. Use disease-free and disease-resistant planting stock. Practice good cultural practices such as proper spacing and regular weeding.

How do I provide frost protection for strawberries in Ohio?

Mulch the plants with straw or wood chips to protect against winter freezes. Remove the mulch in early spring before the plants start to grow.

When should I harvest strawberries in Ohio?

Harvest strawberries when they are fully ripe and red. Pick them in the morning before the heat of the day.

How can I achieve a high yield of strawberries in Ohio?

Ensure proper pollination by providing access to bees or using a vibrating device. Remove weeds and daughter plants to ensure ample sunlight for fruit production. Mulching can help maintain soil moisture and protect the developing crop.

How can I practice organic gardening for strawberries in Ohio?

Use organic mulch such as straw or chopped leaves for moisture conservation and weed control. Beware of slugs and consider using containers or pots to protect against them and weeds.

Where can I find additional resources and support for growing strawberries in Ohio?

Consider reaching out to experts such as Dr. Gary Gao with The Ohio State University Extension or participating in gardening programs like the Ohio Department of Agriculture Victory Garden Program.

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