How To Grow Strawberries In Colorado
Strawberries Strawberries are actually a hardy perennial herb and one of the easiest small fruits to grow in a home garden. Gardeners have grown these popular berries for centuries, starting in well-tended European gardens. Now, with so many new developments in strawberry breeding, just about anyone can plant, grow and enjoy fresh strawberries. How To Grow Strawberries In Colorado The three main strawberry types to choose for your garden include June-bearing, everbearing, and day-neutral. To make the most of the strawberry season, plant some of each kind in your garden. June-bearing

Flavorful and fragrant Late spring frost may ruin crop Plant in matted rows


Produces a spring and fall crop each season Grows well in sandy soil Plant in hills


Not as hardy, but produces fruit through summer Fewer strawberries overall Plant in hills

Select your strawberry planting site thoughtfully because it directly affects the production of the strawberry crop. Some gardeners start planning and preparing their strawberry patch the season before they plant it. Make sure the area gets full sun (8 hours) a day, is well-drained (even in winter) and has some protection from the wind. Keep in mind the previous crops that were grown in that same area. To prevent soil fungal problems, avoid planting strawberries where these crops were planted in the previous 3-5 years: raspberries, cherries, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers. Strawberries can be planted in the ground, but raised beds, strawberry pots or other containers also make for good planting sites. Amend the soil with deeply dug organic matter like compost and well-aged manure so it will be well-drained. Strawberries can grow well in a sandy loam soil. Plan ahead for watering with a drip irrigation system or soaker hose set up.

After the danger of frost has passed, and as soon as soil is workable in spring, transplant strawberry plants into the garden. The two most common ways to plant strawberries is either in matted rows or on small hills. For matted rows, space strawberry plants 12-24 inches apart in each row and 43 inches between rows. A solid mat of plants will fill in the space, so be sure to plan for a walkway between rows. For hills, prepare small raised mounds to help with drainage. Space hills about 9-12 inches apart. Runners are typically removed so the garden is made up of separate plants. No matter how you plant, be sure to plant so the roots are spread out and the crown is just above soil level to prevent the plant from either rotting or drying out. Mulching with straw or other organic mulch will help keep roots from drying. Be sure to protect strawberries through the winter with added mulch (at least 1-2 inches thick)

Strawberries are susceptible to a number of problems that range from root rot to slugs. Work to keep plants healthy by monitoring the amount of water they get. Watch for disease and insect problems and take action quickly. Mid-summer (like early July), fertilize the strawberry crop with a high-nitrogen fertilizer and water it in. Another application of fertilizer in September will also be helpful. To keep the birds from getting to your strawberries before you do, cover with netting.

It’s best to pinch off flowers the first year so plants will set down roots, instead of fruit. Waiting until the second season to enjoy the fruits is difficult, but the result is healthier plants and a larger amount of strawberries. For the best flavor, let strawberries mature on the plant until they’re red-ripe. Picking them too early results in smaller, less sweet fruits. Depending on the variety, strawberries may be ready to pick about 30 days from when they bloom. Snip berries from the plant, leaving the stem and cap intact. Enjoy right away or store in the refrigerator.

Plant strawberries with these companions:

Bush beans Garlic Lettuce Onions Peas Spinach Borage

Avoid planting strawberries near cabbage family crops, other berry crops and alfalfa fields to reduce insect pest problems.

Drip irrigation system or soaker hose High-quality compost and manure Light-weight mulch High-nitrogen fertilizer Netting

To learn more about growing strawberries or about growing your own edible vegetable garden, the pros at Nick’s Garden Center. : Strawberries

Are strawberries easy to grow in Colorado?

Insects and Disease – Strawberries are remarkably free from most insects and diseases in Colorado. Occasionally, an insect problem arises, such as crownborers, leafhoppers, aphids, earwigs, slugs, or tarnished plant bugs. Malathion is a good standard home insecticide to control aphids, leafhoppers, and quite a few other sucking and chewing insects.

  1. Use Sevin to control earwigs and beetles.
  2. Control crownborers with a soil- applied insecticide.
  3. Control slugs with commercially prepared baits available at most garden centers.
  4. Do not spray plants when in flower—pollinating insects may be harmed.
  5. Feeding by nymphs and adults of lygus bugs (Lyguslineolaris), also called tarnished plant bugs, causes cat-facing damage on strawberry fruit over the spring and summer season.
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Weeds and legumes are alternate hosts, so not having them in the vicinity of your strawberry plantings will reduce numbers. If numbers are high enough, insecticides are most effective on the earliest nymph stages. Disease problems occur less frequently than insect problems.

  • Usually, the disease is controlled by removing the diseased plant or plant part.
  • However, if it is widespread, other measures must be taken.
  • In the case of systemic diseases, such as yellows (virus)or red stele (vascular), nothing can be done except to remove diseased plants.
  • However, if a fungus develops on the foliage, spray.

the plants with a fungicide, such as Captan. Bacterial diseases on strawberries are not important in Colorado. Spotted wing drosophila came to Western CO around 2012. This fruit fly is able to deposit eggs in good fruit. Make sure to pick and refrigerate berries as soon as they are ready.

Clean up any damaged or spoiled fruit. Monitoring and traps can be used. June bearing strawberries are less affected since populations of SWD peak in July. So varietal selection can help to avoid this pest. More information can be found here, Garden netting can be used to keep birds from eating strawberries.

Strawberry caps, available at garden centers, can also be used to cover ripening berries. Planting other fruit bushes to attract birds away from strawberries can help. But exclusion is the best method. For more information, see Fact Sheet 2.931, Strawberry Diseases,

When should I plant strawberries in Colorado?

Growing strawberries – Trimming the roots and then setting a strawberry plant in the ground with just the upper part of its crown, the knob where leaves are attached, gets the plant off to a good start. Spring is a good time to plant strawberries, although they can also be planted in late summer or fall — if you can get plants then.

  • Your new plants may look forlorn, but don’t worry.
  • They soon grow new roots and leaves.
  • In fact, you can shear their roots back to 3 or 4 inches long with a scissors so you can more easily fan them out in the planting hole.
  • Adjust the planting depth carefully, leaving only the top half-inch of the crown exposed so that it neither dries out from exposure nor suffocates from burial.

Ever wonder how such a luscious fruit came to be called “strawberry”? The name might reflect the plants’ habit of strewing about with runners, which are horizontal stems punctuated along their length by daughter plants. The daughter plants eventually root and make their own runners.

What is the best growing time for strawberries?

The ideal time to plant strawberries is after the threat of frost is past in early spring, usually March or April.

What state grows the best strawberries?

U.S. fruit production and consumption Favorable climate conditions make the state of California the largest producer of strawberries in the United States.

What fruit trees survive in Colorado?

Best Fruit Trees for Colorado Climate – Posted on: July 18th, 2014 Having your home garden filled with fruit trees is such a nice addition to any Colorado home. The big question though is, what are the best fruit trees for Colorado climate? Well, just about any deciduous fruit trees can be grown in Colorado (apples, pears, apricots, sweet and tart cherries, peaches, nectarines and plums).

Apples – Connell Red, Haralson, Prairie Spy, Regent, Honeygold, State Fair, Sweet Sixteen, Keepsake Pears – Luscious Apricots – Goldcot, Chinese (small fruit size) Cherries – Gold (sweet), Montmorency (tart) Nectarines – Hardired, Mericrest Peaches – Autumn Star, Madison, Redskin Plums – Pipestone, Toka

Plant your fruit trees in a sheltered location that will have gradual temperature drops in the winter months and gradual spring warm ups. Colorado tends to have a shorter growing season, so trees with short to medium length growing seasons are best. Shocking temperature changes can be harmful to your trees. Factors to Consider When Selecting a Fruit Tree

Tree hardiness Length of time of cold dormancy Season length requirements Disease susceptibility

Disease risks include fire blight on apples and pears along the Front Range due to warm moist conditions favoring infection in spring and early summer. Fruit Tree Diseases to Be Aware Of

Apple – fire blight, powdery mildew Pear – fire blight Peach – Cytospora canker, Coryneum blight, powdery mildew, peach rusty spot Cherry – Cherry Rasp Leaf virus (CRLV), Cytospora canker, X-Disease, powdery mildew, bacterial canker and Prunus Necrotic Ringspot virus (PNRSV)

Benefits of Growing Your Own Fruit Trees

Freshness – Fruit tastes better and is healthier for you when it is fresh. Especially picked right off of your own tree! Quality – Commercially grown fruit is often selected for its higher yields and uniform appearance. Taste and quality is not normally the number one priority. When you grow your own, it can be priority over economic factors. Price – Enjoying fruit from your own tree will save you money; you can go to your backyard instead of having to go to the grocery store. Saving resources on transportation (shipping fruit from another country or state) is also a great environmental benefit and is also a benefit to your pocket book. Natural choice – Growing your own fruit ensures that your family does not consume any unwanted chemicals or pesticides. This is virtually the only way you really know what you are consuming.

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A Colorado tree service company, such as Swingle, can also assist you in planting fruit trees to create a beautiful outdoor space. Get the freshest fruit possible by planting your very own fruit tree this year! Switch to Commercial by Webolutions Denver Web Design and SEO Marketing Company

What planting zone is Colorado?

Colorado has 5 plant hardiness zones: 7, 6, 5, 4 and 3.

Can I grow blueberries in Colorado?

Introduction – Colorado’s high pH soils prevent us from producing blueberries in the ground but not in pots! Blueberries prefer to grow in low pH soils, so we have been experimenting with different soil mixes and fertilizers to create an acidic environment for the blueberries to grow in. We have also been moving potted plants into the greenhouse during the winter forcing early berry production. Blueberries are a rare crop in Colorado and winter greenhouse forcing could allow growers to tap into a high priced winter market as well.


In 2003, we planted three varieties of blueberries ( Polaris, North Sky, and North Country ) in four different soil mixtures. The four media types used were a coir mix, peat mix, coir/peat mix, and ground pine bark mix. Winter survivability and the performance of these varieties in the different soil types are being evaluated. This experiment was also repeated at a home patio location with our collaborator Dr. Cecil Stushnoff. In 2004 we acquired additional blueberry plants of the varieties Burgundy, Bluegold, Chippewa, Bluetta, Northland, Rubel, and Northblue in addition to Polaris, These varieties are being evaluated for potential winter greenhouse forcing. Half of the plants (10 of each variety) are brought into the greenhouse in January and half of the plants are left outdoors.

What berry is native to Colorado?

Bearberry – Colorado Native Plant Society.

Can I grow raspberries in Colorado?

Quick Facts –

Of all bramble fruits, only red and yellow raspberries are recommended for general cultivation in Colorado. There are now a few hardy varieties of black raspberries. Blackberries are considered marginal, due to inadequate hardiness, but some varieties can be successful. Red raspberries grow well in most garden soils that are amply supplied with organic matter and adequately drained. Bramble plants are perennials, but their canes are either annual or biennial. Plant only true-to-name, disease-free stock from reputable sources. Twenty-five feet of row should produce 15 to 20 pounds of raspberries per year.

Selected varieties of red and yellow raspberries ( Rubus idaeus ) may be successfully grown in Colorado. Native raspberries can grow to 10,000′ elevation. Colorado’s climate is not especially favorable for bramble fruit production, and only red and yellow raspberries are recommended for cultivation statewide.

What berries are native to Colorado?

Chokeberries, Chokecherries, Sandcherries: Some Wild Fruits for Colorado By Mikl Brawner These native and semi-wild fruiting plants are tough, easy to grow, adaptable, and very beneficial to bees, butterflies, and birds. The highly nutritious but often bitter fruits can be tasty if prepared properly. When grown with their natures in mind they are useful and attractive landscape specimens too. Above: Aronia prunifolia, Chokeberry Chokeberry ( Aronia melanocarpa ) isn’t the same as Chokecherry ( Prunus virginiana ). Native to Eastern North America it’s found in moist to wet woods, swamps, and “dry” slopes. In the garden, Black Chokeberry has three seasons of interest.

The showy, 5-petalled white flowers bloom in May, followed by pea-sized black fruit ( melano -black, carpa -fruit). In the fall the attractive, shiny green leaves turn a rich red and orange. The wild species commonly grows 3′-6′ tall, sometimes 8′. Other Aronias are: the slightly taller A. melanocarpa elata ; ‘Morton’ IROQUOIS BEAUTY 2′-5′; ‘McKenzie’, ‘Nero’ and ‘Viking’ selected for fruit; and ‘Low Scape Mound’ just 1′-2′ tall.

There are two other taller species: Aronia arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ is 6′-10′ with red fruit and blazing red fall color, and Aronia prunifolia 8′-10′ with large deep purple fruit and rich red fall color. Above: Aronia arbitifolia, Chokeberry Photo: Bob Gutowski All A.melanocarpa varieties are tough and hardy to zone 3 and 8500′ elevation; the other species are hardy to zone 4, 7500′. All tolerate a variety of soil conditions – wet, clay, compacted, and even somewhat dry.

They do have a preference for slightly acidic soils. In Colorado, plant with compost and maybe some coffee grounds or cottonseed meal to lower the pH, mulch 2″ deep, and give some irrigation. They can be planted in a wet spot, around a pond, along a stream or in a Rain Garden. They can sucker which is helpful in erosion control, or you can remove suckers to control spreading.

Full sun gives better fall color and fruit production, but Aronia grows well in Colorado in part shade. The fruit is technically edible, but it is very bitter and astringent, hence the name chokeberry. Don’t believe sources claiming it is “tasty”. I have tasted several varieties and some are better, but none are good enough to eat raw for a snack.

  1. However, there is a growing market for Chokeberries because, mixed with white grape juice or used in baking, they are highly prized for their nutritional/medicinal value.
  2. Research has shown Aronia to have more and higher levels of antioxidants than any fruit grown in temperate climates (5x more than blueberries), especially anthocyanins, flavonoids and polyphenols, plus vitamin C and manganese.
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Claims say it helps control obesity, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, etc. Native Americans made Aronia tea for the common cold. This “superfruit” is now being grown by the acres in midwestern states like Iowa and Michigan to sell to the health-food market. Above: Fruit of Aronia arbutifolia, Red Chokeberry PHOTO: Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana, can get confused with Chokeberry, especially our western subspecies, Prunus virginiana ssp. melanocarpa, since they are both melanocarpa (black fruited). But Chokecherry is a tree, growing 12′-30′ tall and a strongly suckering plant, often making colonies.

It grows natively in Colorado’s canyons, along streams and ditches, and seems to like moist locations. It can stand some drought, but really declines in dry years without irrigation. The foliage turns a beautiful red in fall. The white, fragrant flowers hang down in racemes and are followed by red-turning-black bird cherries.

These fruits are very astringent and require cooking, often with sugar, to be edible and delicious. The fragrant flowers feed bees and butterflies, and birds and bears love the cherries. It is hardy to zone 2 or 10,500′. There are two purple-leafed selections of Chokecherry: ‘Shubert’ and ‘Canada Red’.

  1. Both trees leaf out green and turn purple-red as they mature.
  2. According to some sources, Canada Red was selected for faster growth, straighter trunks, and better branching.
  3. Other experts say, if they are grown vegetatively (not from seed) there may be little difference between them.
  4. Above: Chokecherry ‘Sucker Punch’, a selection of our native tree that’s unusual because it doesn’t sucker.

All chokecherries make good screens and wildlife habitat. PHOTOS: Gary Epstein for PlantSelect Another purple-leafed variety was found and propagated by Scott Skogerboe of Ft. Collins Wholesale Nursery. Unlike other chokecherries, it doesn’t have the problem of spreading widely by suckers so it is called ‘Sucker Punch’.

A yellow-fruited variety, leucocarpa, was rediscovered at the Cheyenne USDA Experimental Station and named ‘Yellow Bird’. All chokecherries make good screens, wildlife habitat, and are useful for controlling erosion. Another native Colorado cherry is Prunus besseyi, the Western Sand Cherry. This shrub is sometimes confused with the Purple Leaf Sandcherry, Prunus cistena, a small, non-native tree.

Prunus besseyi spreads 4′-6′ tall with masses of fragrant white flowers that feed the bees. Following the flowers are large ¾” round, purplish-black cherries that are favored by birds. These fruits are sometimes described as edible and sweet, but like most seed-grown fruits, there is wide variation; the ones I have eaten were only OK.

They are recommended for pies, jellies, and jams. The glossy gray-green leaves turn a soft red in fall. The plant likes sun, tolerates a wide range of conditions including heat, wind, and cold to zone 3 (9000′), and has moderate to xeric water needs. In my experience, it does not like wet feet nor too much drought.

Rabbits can eat the thin stems to the ground in winter. CG editor Jane Shellenberger says mulching with sharp-edged pinecones (Ponderosas) discourages rabbit munching because it hurts their feet. Above: ‘Pawnee Buttes’, a PlantSelect selection of our Western native Sandcherry has beautiful red fall color and purplish-black cherries that birds love.

  1. An outstanding selection, ‘Pawnee Buttes’ Sandcherry (PlantSelect) varies between 15″ and 30″ high and spreads 4′-8′ wide.
  2. It has the same flowers and fruit as the upright form.
  3. Other variations sometimes available are ‘Boulder Weeping’, a very creeping form found in Boulder County, ‘Blonde Bessie’ and ‘Hansen’s Bush Cherry’.

Other native fruits that are beautiful, useful, beneficial to wildlife, and good to eat (even raw) are: Prunus americana, the wild plum; Ribes aureum, Golden Currant and the selection ‘Gwen’s Buffalo’; Ribes odoratum, Crandall Clove Currant; Amelanchier alnifolia, Serviceberry; and Vitis riparia, Riverbank Grape.

What climate is best for growing strawberries?

Growing Conditions – Growing strawberries requires temperatures between 50°F–80°F and less than 14 hours of daylight for the strawberries to flower and produce fruit. In Florida, these conditions occur throughout the fall, winter, and spring. Strawberries in Florida are planted in September to early November, and flowering and fruit continue through April or May.

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