Frost/Freeze Protection in Strawberry

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Even though the coldest part of the strawberry growing season has passed, beware of temperature fluctuations during bloom that can plunge below freezing and damage emerging flowers (Figure 1). Not all frost/freeze events will be similar and strategies to protect your crop can be modified appropriately based on the weather conditions and stage of crop development. Strawberry crowns are fairly tolerant of low temperatures when dormant and can tolerate temperatures up to the lower teens (ºF). However, as the plant awakens in the spring season, tissues are rehydrated, and the plant begins to grow. There is a loss of cold tolerance with rehydration. Additionally, flower structures begin to emerge from the crown, and those are sensitive to low temperatures and will require some form of protection to avoid damage.

Jayesh B. Samtani
Virginia Cooperative Extension