Strawberries in Texas? Blueberries?

rubberneckApril 20, 2007

All the information in books and on the web is focused on the North. Is it even worth trying to grow these fruits down here?

I've read that strawberries in the store are one of the foods most likely to have pesticides...and I LOVE strawberries...

My book on berries said that blueberries that grow here will be smaller and seedier, and need acidic soil. So not sure about that one either.

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Patris(9 Gulf Coast)

I too love fresh home grown fruit and have tried the strawberries, sorry to say have not had much luck. Tried several times actually and each time had very small fruit and very few. Guess it is just to hot here for those goodies.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 8:41AM
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rick_mcdaniel(Lewisville, TX)

Strawberries will grow here, and so will blueberries, but you need the strains of blueberry that do well in the south. Some do not.

Check your plant guides for zones on the specific varieties.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 9:00AM
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jblaschke(8b TX)

Ison's has a great selection of fruiting plants for southern gardens. In my experience, they've been pretty prompt about responding to questions about recommended varietals for a particular region. You'll definitely come closer to getting something suitable from them than a big box retailer or generic online nursery.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ison's Nursery

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 10:29AM
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pjtexgirl(7b DFW)

I'm in Fort Worth and even over wintered my strawberries(small patch) under a large pot. I'm also totally organic(no pestacides at all) I got a decent crop of strawberries in the ground and in a pot. BTW, the strawberries are in the middle of an area thick with native plants that support the local predator bugs.
Blueberries I have no idea. I too thought they only liked acid soil.PJ

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 6:03PM
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petalstx(DFW)

I'm able to grow strawberries (got from my step-dad). get about the size of my thumb, but are so sweet. Pick a couple of handfuls every day, even freeze some.
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    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 12:55PM
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timintexas(z8 E.Tx.)

What the deal is with Strawberries is you have to get the best variety for Texas...many of the great Strawberry growers are here in the South. The best I have found (and much recomended for the South) is Chandler. Most types you see for sale in the box stores are way wrong for Texas. Stay away from any everbearing type- I have never found them to be worth a flip here in Texas.
As for Blueberries, I have a pick your own operation. Some of the finest, BIGGEST berries are grown here in Texas. seedy? Nah, no more than any other. Nickle size per berry is very normal. What you MUST have is one of the cultivars of Rabbiteye Blueberry. What many people do not realize is that they are native to the South. Now, that being said...one problem (and really the only one) is that all blueberries require acid soil. If you are in the DFW area, that can be dicey. You will need to amend the soil and now and again apply an acidifier. I am over in East Texas...about 125 miles due East of Dallas- very acid soil so I do not have to fool with it.
Anyway, your berry book sounds very...well...uninformed for us folks in the South. Our Texas blueberry fields out perform Northern types hands down! We have Blueberry festivals over here each year in many areas...Nachodoches has a huge one. Anyway, I only mention this to prove the fact that YES! You CAN grow super blueberries (and strawberries too)- just have to know what you need.
Sad part is that many blueberries you see for sale at WalMart ect. are the Northern, low bush types. No good for us! Run a search on rabbiteye bluberries and you will find tons of info.
When you are ready to buy (if you can not find local) look at danfinch.com I buy all my plants from them...amazing prices (blueberries are expensive) and have a HUGE selection of types. Very easy to understand website too but the selection part is a bit hidden...you have to click on your zone- you will see what I mean. You will find a long list of Rabbiteye varieties with easy descriptions. This will also help you figure out what kind of plant you have if you locate some local. Now, it is probably late to buy from danfinch (bareroot) but if you do not find any, be sure to buy from this co.- top notch for the buck. Another interesting thing a lot of people do not know- rabbiteye types can grow to over 10 foot! An amazing sight when loaded with fruit.

A great source for Strawberries is Simmons berry farm....I can not remember the web address but just run a search, it pops right up. Simple site, good selection and good, GOOD prices. I have ordered from them for many years for the garden center I used to manage and now, for my farm. They are located in Arkansas. One last thing...you can also grow another type(class) of Blueberry...Southern Highbush but I would not recomend them for you. They have a bit more exacting care and tend to bloom very early and you KNOW how our springs are here in Texas...freeze/fry all in one week. I, myself, have made a planting this year of this type but just as a test...
Anyway, good luck- give it a shot!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 11:15PM
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bonediggers(8b, Gladewater)

Years ago when I lived in Pritchett, a tiny town not far from Gladewater and Gilmer, I learned that back in the day Pritchett was known for its strawberries. Hmmmm....

My mother and stepfather had a berry farm in Pritchett and grew blueberries among other berries.

Yep, strawberries and blueberries both will grow in Texas but I'm not sure where other than Pritchett. ;)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 12:05AM
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kristinab(Z7b North Texas)

I'm very encouraged to find out that my failures with growing strawberries may be due to trying to grow the wrong varieties. When do you plant your berries? Is it too late to plant now?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 3:22PM
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prairiepaintbrush(RedOak, TX z7/8)

Every year I drive a zillion miles to pick a gallon of blueberries near Canton, and I do it about 3 or 4 times! I'm crazy, but I love it. Timh, have I picked berries at your place? :) Texas has the best blueberries hands down. HOwever, I don't think you can grow them in DFW. Where I pick them is red sand, acid soil. I've heard that our water is too alkaline for them, even if you amend their soil.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 11:45PM
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maden_theshade(8 - Austin)

Strawberries are very successful in Texas. Poteet is the Strawberry Capitol of Texas. They grow LOTS of strawberries. I will say their soil is red and sandy. They also grow lots of peanuts in that area. It could very well be the variety you are growing.

I think the farmers in Poteet start putting out their plants in February to have fruit ready in April. You should be able to grow them all summer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Poteet Strawberry Festival

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 11:28PM
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lindseyrose(8b/9 Texas)

There is a blueberry-picking "farm?" near Houston. It's family owned, called Chiemelewskis, though I'm sure I butchered the spelling something terrible! The lady there told me that they bought the land with the bb bushes already planted, flourishing, several years ago. Apparently the water source to that land is JUST right for the berries. We plan to go back this year to pick--my kids had a total blast. They don't spray pesitcides, so they are safe (and free!) to eat right off the bush. They charge $2/pound and eat-all-you-can while you pick. :D The bushes were pretty tall--definitely at least 6 feet on some of them!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 11:34PM
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helios-the

From Fort Worth area: I have Strawberry patch here on north-east side of a house with only morning to early noon sunlight. Crop is limited(probably ever bearing kind)...but O.K. My problem is a Blue Jay bird(I believe-with white marks on the wings)-very aggressive bird,who digs into anything I grow.And sometimes even Grackels.I put out 3 rubber snakes(toys) and that keeps them only partially out-they get ever more daring!
And then there are Roly-Polyies. Between about 4-5 of them,they can eat half the 'not even ripen' berry in half of a day.And there are several little 'gangs' like that! So it becomes a race of who gets the fruit first...which means I have to pick up either not ripe fruit or it is their!
And for the birds..I thought about net-but throwing it down on the plants will not help...it would have to be elevated, so the bird cannot get close to it. Is there any kind of inexpensive frame deal out there? Or any other suggestion?
Thanks

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 10:51PM
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dallasfruitgrower

You can definitely grow strawberries in Dallas with great success.

Check out this link for more info and ideas:

http://dallasfruitgrower.typepad.com/dallas-fruit-vegetable/2010/05/strawberries-in-full-production.html

Here is a link that might be useful: http://dallasfruitgrower.typepad.com

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 5:53PM
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phoenix7801

The Poteet Farmers plant their strawberries in september and overwinter them to the spring. They usually are very apt at doing this but this winter was much colder than usual so it was dicey. Anyways, they harvest, have the festival, then pull up the plants. Its too friggin hot to try and try and get them to produce runners, get them rooted and growing by september. The extension agents in this area say that during the early fall, we will be able to get chandler strawberries down here in San Antonio.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 2:35AM
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annnorthtexas(8)

If you can find back issues of Texas Gardener, I am pretty sure there were articles on growingboth strawberries and blueberries. I can't remember which issue but sometime in the past year.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 1:41PM
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bigtexworms

I am so jealous. I have been trying for 3 years to grow strawberries with no success. I have tried every variety known to man. Yikes. I am in between Dallas and Fort Worth.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 8:24PM
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mrgrackle

ive got three rabbiteye blueberries in 25 gallon containers. one of the three is doing awesome. the other two dont looks so great but they may look a lot better by the end of the year after they finish with their berries and actually start putting on some new leaves.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 8:41PM
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fmckean1_aol_com

You can definitely grow strawberries in north Texas. The problem is that their root system is shallow and they MUST have water. Pay attention to the variety. If you want a serious crop, choose a June-bearing variety which will actually produce its one good crop in May in north Texas. I have some everbearing in flower beds for the kids to find, but I don't mix them. Also remember you get berries off new growth. My dad used to tear down each side of the rows with his tiller after bearing leaving about a six inch width of growth which would then put out runners all year for new crop in following spring. You do not need to protect the berries from frost even in OKla, Mo, and Ark. They go dormant in winter, are perennial. Good luck!!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 1:15PM
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fiannafalintn_juno_com

I have recently bought 16 acres near Hawkins and have wild blueberrie shrubs 8 to 10 inchs at the base! i have no idea how old they are. How do they reproduce without a diferent cultivator.
Found out about the wild ones after planting 6 domestic plants.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 4:04PM
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teacher77358(8a-8b)

Yes, I agree and applaud much of what is mentioned. Without a doubt most places in Texas are perfect for several varieties of Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberrries, Bananas, Grapes, and the right fruit trees of all kinds. One needs to research though, for the right varieties...and that's simple....Google: Texas A & M...for what ever they suggest and they have all kinds of suggestions from varieties to how to: plant, cultivate, harvest, prune, etc....Whatever your ground you can "fix it"!! Add mulch and acid fertilizers, if you are in high alkaline soils, or dolomitic lime if you are in areas too acid(6-6.8 are the best pHs). I have a nursery in Deep East Texas and year after year we have had to add "fruit-everything" large and small because of the demand and evidently the success of the folks trying to grow same!! I had no idea that so many citrus-types grew in cooler areas, but they do...that is where we are headed next at our nursery! JT New Waverly, Texas 77358

    Bookmark   February 11, 2014 at 1:21AM
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