NC State Extension

Regional Adaptation and Yields

strawberry field with row covers for overwintering

Row covers are being used for overwintering to create an extended season.

The annual plasticulture strawberry system is recommended for all regions of North Carolina, including the mountains; however the climate differences across the regions result in varied yields. Yields for mountain production are typically in the range of 1 to 1.2 pounds per plant, though ideal conditions have occasionally produced yields as high as 1.5 pounds per plant. Due to the shorter growing season in the fall and colder winters, this region of the state sees lower yields compared to the Piedmont and coastal plains where yields of 1.5 pounds per plant are regularly achieved with good management.

Plant spacing is another factor that contributes to yield per acre. Assuming that a given region has a typical yield of 1 pound per plant, the number of plants per acre (as determined by plant spacing) will directly affect the yield per acre. One acre will require 17,500 plants at 12-inch, double row spacing, with bed centers five feet apart. Consequently, this one acre can yield 17,500 pounds of marketable berries. (See Table 1). As plant spacing increases, yield per acre (and therefore profit potential) decreases. Currently, however, many growers are utilizing 14-inch spacing for ease of picking. Less experienced pickers, tend to overlook the berries in the row middles and wider spacing makes those berries more visible.

Keep in mind also that not all varieties are equally productive. Chandler and Camarosa are the most productive varieties to grow followed by Sweet Charlie which is about one-third lower in yield.

Table 1. Marketable yield per plant and per acre for Chandler (pounds)1

Yield per plant

12-inch spacing
(in-row)

17,500 plants/A2

14-inch spacing
(in-row)

15,000 plants/A

15-inch spacing
(in-row)

14,000 plants/A

1.0

17,500

15,000

14,000

1.5

26,250

22,500

21,000

1 Growers can expect slightly higher yields per plant with greater in-row spacings of 14- and 15-inches, but for preliminary planning purposes it is fair to assume equal plant productivity at 12-, 14- and 15-inches.

2 Calculation based on in-row spacing assuming a double row with bed centers five feet apart.