What is the Soil pH for Strawberries?: With an easy DIY Soil Guide
If you want a healthy Strawberry plant, make your soil acidic. To know what is the soil pH for Strawberries, you have come to the right place. The secret to growing this sweet and rich crop starts with making it in the right soil. Adjusting your garden soil is not as hard as you think. Don’t stop your experimental routine and skip growing this acid-loving plant just because you have neutral soil.
There are a lot of ways to make your soil acidic with the soil amendments such as fertilisers and acidifiers. Read this guide to learn more on how to acidify the soil, adjust soil pH and maintain the best acidic soil for your strawberry plant. I bet, you will wish you had known it sooner!
What are Strawberries?
Strawberry is a flowering plant in the genus Fragaria with the Rosaceae family. Strawberry cultivation was started back in the mid-sixteenth century by Americans. The fruit is consumed in many forms, cooked and raw. There are three types of strawberries according to their nature,
Everbearing strawberries produce consistently throughout the summer. Avoid full shade for this variety because they need sun full time in the growing season. Everbearing needs plenty of room to grow. Giving at least a 10-inch gap between plants will help.
June-bearing Strawberries get their name as they ripen in may and plants are good to go in June. This variety is the largest growing strawberry crop and is commonly known. They have a harvest period of about 10 days.
Day-neutral strawberries have a higher yield than any other variety with the longest harvest period. They continue to grow through spring, summer, and autumn.
Testing the Strawberry Soil
If you want to grow strawberries, the first thing you should do is test your soil. Testing the soil for strawberries at every stage of growth will make sure the soil is acidic enough for the plant. Starting from before planting the Strawberry plant to the fruiting period, keeping a regular check on soil pH is a must. To do the soil pH test,
Litmus Paper Test– This traditional paper test is used to find if the soil is acidic or not. Mix the water and soil in a container and dip the paper. If the Litmus paper turns red, then the soil is acidic.
Digital Tester– The Digital Tester is used in the soil to find the soil pH. This electronic device is made of metal which also shows the mineral levels that are present in the soil.
Lab soil Test– Send your soil sample to a nearby soil lab or extension office to know about the soil. They also give more information to grow the plant along with the soil pH and contents in soil.
What is the Soil pH for Strawberries?
The ideal soil pH for Strawberries should range from 5.5 to 6.5. pH stands for the potential of hydrogen and uses a chemical scale to identify the nature of the substance. Any soil with a pH higher than 7 is alkaline and less than 7 is acidic. Opt for a pH test to find the soil pH level. Strawberry plants like slightly acidic soil. If the soil is too alkaline, it may affect the plant. The plant won’t produce and grow well in alkaline soil.
Add Compost every season to the soil to maintain acidity in the soil.
Do Strawberries like Acidic or Alkaline soil?
Strawberries like acidic soil because they need essential nutrients and a root environment. Strawberries perform well in draining, fertile, and slightly acidic soil. In order for plants to grow with their sweetness and rich color, they need a certain acidity in the soil. Change in the soil acidity may affect their nature. The acidic soil will provide the organic and mineral matter for plant growth. Such organics will help boost the plant to have healthy growth and yield.
Why do Strawberries need Acidic soil?
Strawberries need acidic soil to grow because of their nutrient needs. All varieties of the plant thrive in acidic soil for proper growth and health. Acidic soil will help the Strawberries to take the nutrients by attracting bacteria which breaks down the minerals for faster intake of strawberry plants.
Nutrients like iron, and phosphorus are difficult to obtain in less acidic soil. Soil that isn’t acidic may prevent nutrient intake which is lesser or higher and may also affect the plant. Strawberries in non-acidic soil may look fine but they will eventually lack nutrients which can endanger plant life. The plant will have iron deficiency and the leaf turns yellow to brown which leads to halted growth and the plant may die.
What is Acid loving Plant?
The acid-loving plant is a plant that prefers acidic soil. Acid-loving plants need to be cultivated on soil with high pH and organic matter. Many acid-loving plants include strawberries, blueberries, and roses. For these plants to yield best, yield them in soil with a pH of around 5.5. You should increase or decrease the acidity of the soil according to the type of plant you want to cultivate in the soil.
How to make Soil Acidic for Strawberries?
To make the soil acidic for Strawberry plants, use some acidifiers in the soil. If the soil test indicates the soil needs more acid or less acid there are many ways to acidify the soil. Soil acidifiers should be applied one time per year. Let us learn about some,
Sulphur– Elemental sulphur is very effective in acidifying the soil naturally. This is one of the common treatments to acidify the soil for Strawberry plants. This slow-release and the long-term solution will keep the soil pH down right for the Strawberry plant. The Sulphur is easy and safe to use but needs more caution in adding the right proportion to the soil.
Compost– Compost is made of waste from plants, fruits, vegetables, and yards. Using the microorganisms this waste will be broken down to provide nutrients to the soil. Compost provides all essential minerals and NPK to the soil. The water content and density will provide a regular source of food for the single-rooted Strawberries.
Mulch– The mulch is spread on the soil which contains both organic and inorganic materials. They contain leaves, lawn clipping, wood, and other such products. Mulch prevents weed growth in the soil and keeps moisture in the soil. Straw mulch is the best mulch for Strawberry plants. 4 inches of mulch around the Strawberry plant will do the magic for your plant.
Vinegar– Vinegar is the best short-term solution to boost acidic soil. This natural substance should be added in a diluted way around the plants. Add one spoon or 10 ml of vinegar to 1 gallon of water to ready the vinegar solution. Adding this to the soil will make the soil acidic and is best used for container plants. Since containers need a quick and short-term solution, this is the best one.
Acidic Fertilisers– Acid or acidic fertilisers will provide acidity directly to the soil. This is best used for half-grown Strawberries which need a boost of acidity for healthy growth and fruit production. Acid fertilisers are sprayed around the soil and work very slowly in the plant.
Lime– The soil acidity can be adjusted with the help of lime. Finely grounded lime will make the best combination to neutralize the too much acidity in the soil. If the soil pH is too low, adding some lime will increase the acidity. This a very fast solution to lower the soil acidity and increase the pH level.
Wood ash– Ashes from the fire pit can be added to the soil to reduce soil acidity. They contain boron and some nutrients which help the soil. Wood ash can be added to the soil before planting to amend the soil. Don’t apply wood ash to garden plants. Avoid using artificial log wood ash, as they have chemicals in it.
Maintaining Soil Acidity for Strawberry
After achieving the right pH level and acidifying the soil, it needs to be monitored to maintain it. Since soil amendments last only for two to three months in soil, testing the soil for three months once will help maintain healthy soil for the plant. To give the plant the best-growing conditions add natural solutions to last longer.
Pine needles, mulch, or coffee grounds will make the best solution. As they slowly release the acid in soil and per soil need. You can also use Liquid feed right in acidic contention to maintain a good soil acidity for strawberry plants.
Did you know?
- Strawberries are not berries, but rather a Rosaceae. Strawberry just carries the name berry but is part of the rose family.
- Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring with the shortest harvest time of three weeks.
- Strawberries contain more vitamin C than oranges.
- Ancient Romans used strawberries to aid illness.
- According to USDA, Americans eat 3.4 lbs of strawberries a year.
When is the Best Time to Acidify the Soil for Strawberries?
The best time to acidify the soil for strawberries is before planting the Strawberry plant in the soil. This will help your plant to get the nutrients right from the start of the growth journey.
The second best time to acidify the soil for strawberries is at the end of the dormancy period i.e. in winter. At this time the plant will start its growth and acidity will help it to make up for the lost nutrients.
The last best time is before the fruit grows. Strawberry fruit grows from June to July, considering it may be best to acidify the soil. Thus, helping the plant to grow smoothly and properly.
What is the Best Soil for Strawberries?
The best soil for Strawberries is Sandy Loam soil. Loamy soil has a mix of sand, silt, and clay content in it. It will give the right amount of drainage, retention, and texture as well as nutrients in the soil for the plant. Sandy loam will give the extra sandy content for good drainage.
In the case of indoor plants, Select soil that does have all the best drainage components for strawberry soil. Buying potting soil or potting mix and making amendments with compost could do the work.
In the case of outdoor plants, buying organic garden soil does do the work. But with the required amendments it will be made for the Strawberries.
What is Soil Mix for Strawberries?
The natural soil mix for strawberries is Coco coir, Perlite vermiculite, compost, sand, and fertilisers.
Organic matter includes soil, compost, bark, coir, moss, and plant waste such as lawn clipping, leaves, stems, and branches.
Mineral matters are rocks, sand, gravel, marble, and charcoal.
Every soil is made up of organic and mineral matter. Strawberry soil is also made of a combination of organic and mineral matter in a certain ratio. Adding three parts of organic matter and three parts of mineral matter from the above-mentioned content makes the best natural soil mix for the Strawberry plants.
Organic matter such as potting mix and compost helps in the selection of soil texture and nutrients for plants. Mineral matters such as perlite and gravel help the soil with drainage. With this, the soil will have a loose texture and breathable place for the plants.
Preparation of Soil
Planning and preparing the soil before planting will improve the soil conditions with all the amendments in it. Take the soil sample about 12 inches deep where the root will grow and test it to know its content. Many organic materials that are commonly available in home gardens have very high pH for strawberry plants. Manures and compost make the best amendment in soil preparation. Use Saw dust or bark from pine and avoid redwoods. You can add peat moss as the soil mix but it is quite expensive.
Land Preparation for Strawberry Plant
Strawberries like soft and loose soil so it needs to be prepared and amended before planting the plant. Adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil before planting will aid in healthy plant growth. Using garden soil or organic soil along with 2 inches of conditioners in the soil will make the right space for the plant.
Pot preparation for Strawberry Plant
Strawberries need a draining as well as a nutritious potting mix for a healthy yield. Choose a large pot with drainage holes as the strawberries with rich soil can yield for 3 plus years. Adding the potting mix with compost and slow-release fertilisers to the pot will make the best potting soil for the strawberry. Homemade compost is the best source of nutrients for any soil and adding fertilisers will make the mix premium. These components will help to keep the soil in the right moisture for the plant.
DIY to make Soil for Strawberries (Guide)
To make your own DIY soil for your strawberry plant,
Some tips to know before you start making your soil mix,
- Collecting all the ingredients before making the soil.
- Take time to mix the ingredients.
- Learn other necessary items like reading a pH tester, types of nutrients, and their uses.
Now you can start making the DIY with the below-given ingredients and follow up,
- Gear up with gloves to avoid dirt from the soil.
- Measuring cup or instrument to measure the ingredients.
- Bucket or vessel to make space to mix the soil.
- A small shovel/ Trowel to mix the soil.
- Dust Mask.
- Perlite– Perlite is formed from volcanic emission. They make the best aeration for the succulent soil.
- Peat moss– This soil amendment is made from peat bogs. This active decomposing peat moss is used to hold water in the soil.
- Coconut coir– The coconut fibre is made from coconut husk and used for many purposes. They are used in soil to improve soil texture, drainage, and aeration.
- Sand– The sand is added to give a loose texture to the soil. The coarse sand is added to reduce the clay content in the soil.
- Compost– Compost is a mixture of organic waste formed and added to soil to enrich it.
- 3 Part Coco Coir
- 2 Part Perlite or Vermiculite or Compost
- 1 Part Sand
After collecting all the required ingredients and tools add the measured ingredients to the bucket with the help of a trowel and mix it to make the soil for your strawberry.
Tips for Growing Strawberry
- Providing proper sunlight will help Strawberries grow well. They need full sun to stay healthy.
- Working on the organic matter of the soil before planting Strawberries is important. Most of the nutrients for the plant are provided from the soil, making sure the soil is healthy before planting will ensure the health of the Strawberry plant.
- Giving a sufficient amount of water to strawberries will enrich the plant. Strawberries prefer 1 inch of water daily and more during the fruit-bearing season.
Can I grow Strawberries in Clay soil?
Yes, you can grow strawberries in clay soil with some improvements. Even though sandy loam is the best soil for strawberries, clay is the next best choice. Clay soil can be used for raising best with some compost, manure, and drainage instruments. Clay soil also has better nutrient content and holds water which benefits the strawberry plant.
Best Soil Amendments for Strawberries Soil
Soil amendments are vital for both soil and plant but also are a threat. Since all amendments added to soil are organic, it may invite insects, pests, and diseases to plants. Though pests are unavoidable, they can be prevented. Strawberries are like amendments from animals. Any animal waste such as manure, bone meal, and crushed eggshell makes the best soil amendments for the strawberries. The animal wastes can be smelly or add nitrogen to the soil which is bad for fruit quality. Green manure is also another great option. The plant or green manure is less smelly and cheap.
We have given all the methods to acidify the soil for home gardeners. Strawberry plants need a special check on them with pH and conditions. In fact, Strawberries are one of the easiest growing fruits to grow and are worth it for this natural superfood. So, now you know all about how to prepare the soil and the need for the Strawberry plant. Start your journey with the Strawberry plant with this guidance and Enjoy!
Can soil be too acidic for strawberries?
No, the soil shouldn’t be too acidic for strawberries. It should be in the right acidity.
Are eggshells good for strawberries?
Yes, they are great enhancers for strawberries.
What do you put in a strawberry bed?
Shredded leaves are put in a strawberry bed.