How to Water Strawberry Plants | 3 Easy Methods to Avoid Fungal Growth

Watering strawberry plants consistently during spring and summer is important to get a big harvest.  Hand water strawberry plants with a hose, watering can or dripper hose. Keep the soil moist and water it from 1-3 times per week depending on rainfall. Water each strawberry plant with ½ gallon (2 liters) of water when the soil surface is dry 2 inches down.  

This article will explore the best 3 methods for watering strawberry plants during spring and summer at the peak time for growing strawberries.

1. Hand watering with a hose

Hand watering strawberries with a hose is a very easy way to keep strawberries moist and adjust the amount of water depending on the weather. Aim to replicate at least 2 inches of rainfall or around ½ gallon of water.

Water at the base of the strawberry plant and avoid getting water on the leaves. This will help to prevent mold or fungal growth on the leaves. This will also help to prevent water sitting on top of the crown and causing rot.

When planting your strawberries, it is always good to plant the crown slightly lifted. Mound the soil up so the crown can drain well.

2. Dripper hose

A dripper hose is a great way to water a strawberry patch. Once you get more than 8 strawberry plants you might want to set up a dripper system to make it easier. A dripper hose will have holes around a foot apart. Drape the hose around the plants so that it waters the soil around the plant. Place the hose down the middle of the row to water the roots rather than the center of the plant.

A soaker hose will also work well. The water will gently seep out of the hose and can moisten the soil. Set the dripper hose up with a tap timer so that it can automatically turn on 2-3 times per week in summer.

Remember to adjust the tap timer depending on the weather and the season. Reduce the amount of water in fall and winter. Strawberry plants hate being overwatered which can cause the nutrients in the soil to wash away, decrease the air in the soil and can cause root and crown rot.

3. Watering can

A watering can is a great way to water a few strawberry plants. This will give you complete control over the amount of water give to each plant. You can adjust for rainfall, soil type and

Remember that clay soil will hold water for longer. It is even more important not to overwater strawberry plants grown in clay.

How much water to give to strawberry plants

Strawberries need regular water and moist soil without it being wet. If you live in a tropical or subtropical area and get high summer rainfall you may get away with only watering your strawberries once per week.

If you live in a drier state, then your strawberries will rely on you for water. Test the soil with your finger before watering if you are not sure. If it is dry 1-2 inches below the surface then water the strawberries with at least a half a gallon (or 2 inches) of water.

How to water strawberries in fall and winter

Watering strawberries in fall and winter is still essential even though the weather is cooler. Here are my tips for making sure that strawberries stay healthy over the dormant period of winter.

Strawberry plants will slow their growth significantly over this time. You still need to keep the soil moist so that the plant does not die over this time. I like to water my strawberries deeply once per month over winter. We have mild winters and live in a sub-tropical region. We get low rainfall so I need to water them over this time.

In fall the weather can be varied. A good guide is to water strawberries once every 1-2 weeks. Strawberries can continue to grow over this time and will send out new runners if they are cared for.

I also like to allow my strawberries to send out runners in fall and create new plants. Keep the soil moist so the runners can establish and be ready to be snipped off in spring and grow on their own.

Remember to fertilize strawberries throughout spring and summer during the peak growth and watering period. I like to feed my strawberries once with pelleted chicken manure at the start of spring and again at the start of summer.

When to water strawberries

Morning is the best time to water strawberries. This means that the soil can dry out gradually throughout the day and prevent the roots for staying wet for too long and growing fungus. Morning is also a great time because if any water is accidentally splashed on the leaves then it will dry out quickly.

Watering in the morning will also help strawberries to survive a hot day. This can prevent their leaves from drooping and keep them growing strong even when the weather is hot.

Mulching strawberries

Mulch is essential for strawberries, particularly in spring and summer. Always layer 2-3 inches of mulch on the soil to keep the moisture in. Mulch can help to prevent splashes of water on the strawberry leaves and will help to reduce water evaporation from the soil.

This also means that you will need to water less often. Great mulch choices include straw, hay, lucerne and sugar cane.

How to prepare soil for strawberries to stay moist

Preparing the soil before planting strawberries is essential to keep the moisture in for longer. Before planting new strawberries, dig through aged cow manure and compost. The organic matter will hold moisture but also allow good drainage and healthy root growth.

How to Water Strawberry Plants | Summary

Water strawberry plants to keep the soil moist but not wet. Consistent water will reduce stress on the plant, and this will help them to produce strawberries over the summer. I like to water with a hose or watering can. You can add a dash of seaweed to the watering can every month to help to strengthen root growth.

Happy growing.