NC State Extension

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Windbreaks. The most reliably productive strawberry plasticulture sites are almost always those with a wooded area or a windbreak on the north or northwest side of the field. Wind not only has a drying affect on plant foliage, it can also impede frost protection efforts. New leaves in the early spring are especially susceptible to mechanical wind injury on exposed sites.

Crop rotation. It is best to rotate strawberry field sites as often as possible, but the general practice in most areas is to crop strawberries continuously on the same land because of existing irrigation lines and market location. Avoid rotations with crops treated with herbicides or plant growth regulators (or a combination of these) that could be residual in the soil and cause crop losses in strawberries. Read all pesticide labels carefully for rotational restrictions.

Row orientation. A north-to-south row orientation is recommended for more uniform plant stands and ripening. However, if the field is almost flat, facilitating soil drainage is the most important factor.

Wildlife. Most strawberry plasticulture sites require protection from deer within a month or two of planting. In areas with intense deer pressure, appropriate fencing should be erected no later than two weeks after planting. If deer are allowed to graze once, the likelihood of their return for another meal drastically increases. Fences provide the most effective control for prohibiting deer. Several configurations of electric fences are available. The most effective fence utilizes two fences spaced one and a half feet apart (an inner fence and an outer fence) using white electric tape instead of wire. The two layers of tape alter the deer’s depth perception deterring its effort to cross the first fence line. Many growers also manage deer pressure by practicing population reduction. Hunting deer outside of the regulated season requires a special permit from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.