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Benefits of post-harvest strawberry fertilization

Some strawberry growers stop applying fertilizer after harvest, but this is a mistake. Depending on soil analysis, growers should continue to feed after picking, and pay particular attention to potassium. This will help ensure vigorous crop growth when the weather improves in the following spring and in turn improved productivity.

Post harvest fertilization not only maximizes the amount of carbohydrate laid down in the crown and roots but also increases total nutrient levels. This reserve "keeps the plants going" through the winter and when light levels increase in the spring provides the initial energy for root and shoot growth. Conventional fertilization in early spring may be compromised by cold and wet conditions and hence there will be a delayed effect.

Soils under soft fruit production in the UK typically have sufficient phosphorus (P) and magnesium (Mg), but tend to be low in potassium (K). Potassium requirements for strawberries can be as high as 125 kg/ha (as K2O). It can be impractical to apply this much potassium through the drip irrigation in-season because the amount of irrigation water becomes a limiting factor. Potassium reserves can be built up in the autumn, so that only a maintenance level is required in the period from flowering to harvest.

Solufeed SF-C containing a high potassium level or Solufeed Strawberry Special plus Solupotasse are ideally suited to this application.

Additionally and again following final harvest, the crop initiates flower production during the autumn, in readiness for the following season. It is therefore important that the crop receives adequate fertilizer at this time because mineral nutrition is associated with changes in the plant phytohormone levels, which are directly linked to flower formation.

Phytohormone levels can be directly boosted by foliar applications of Solufeed Genie Gold, containing concentrated seaweed extract. Seaweed contains many plant growth hormones, including cytokinins, that are associated with improved flower establishment.

For more information on the whole subject of strawberry nutrition, please contact Solufeed.
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