Pre-Planting Preparations

Soil Preparation

Once the planting site has been selected, proper preparation is needed. This generally takes two years. Land preparation is critical in terms of soil tilth and perennial and annual weed control.

Soil preparation has three main objectives:

1. To destroy as many weeds as possible, especially perennials such as thistle and quackgrass.

Growers attempting to short-cut this basic production rule will have a continuing battle controlling weeds. For chemical weed control recommendations, contact the local agricultural representative or weed supervisor.

2. To add as much organic material as possible.

At least 18 tons/acre (40 t/ha) of barnyard manure should be added to the field. Well rotted manure should be incorporated in the spring of the year before planting to permit straw to break down. Apply poultry manure well ahead of planting at a maximum of 5 tons/acre (11 t/ha) to avoid burning strawberry roots. (See Table 4).

Growing a green manure crop a year before planting is also a good practice. The residue increases organic matter and helps improve soil tilth, overall structure and water retention capacity. Suitable green manure crops are rye seeded at 2 bu/acre (125 kg/ha) or buckwheat at 1.5 bu/acre (81 kg/ha). Apply 50 lb/acre (56 kg/ha) of actual nitrogen so the field is as fertile as possible.

Green manure also increases beneficial soil bacteria that provide for a slow release of nitrogen and trace elements to the strawberry plants.

Green manure crops should be sown as early as possible and ploughed under in late summer to allow time for the incorporated crop residue to break down in the soil.

3. To ensure organic matter is well decomposed.

Work soil in the fall to get a deep and reasonably loose planting bed. A rototiller or other suitable equipment can be used. Some growers find plants grow better if placed in soil that has not been disturbed by spring tillage. This may be directly related to soil moisture.

Table 4 - Plant Nutrient Values of Manure

Type of Manure Quality

lb/ton of Manure

N P205 K20
Cow Good* 5 3 8
Poor** 2 1 6
Poultry Good* 10 6 8
Poor** 6 4 6

NOTE: *well rotted, but not leached;
**excessively rotted & leached.


Type of Manure


Kg/t of Manure

N P205 K20
Cow Good* 2.5 1.5 4
Poor** 1.0 0.5 3
Poultry Good* 5.0 3.0 4
Poor** 3.0 2.0 3

NOTE: *well rotted, but not leached;
**excessively rotted & leached.

Fertilizer Recommendation Before Planting

Apply and incorporate fertilizer as recommended by the soil test, paying close attention to phosphorus content. Depending on the fertilizer type used, sulphur may or may not be included in the mix. Preplant herbicides may also be incorporated at this time.