According to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert, Larry Stein, mild winter conditions have Texas’ strawberry crops flowering and fruiting before the possible threat of a killing freeze has passed. He added that strawberries and other plants and trees in much of the state are reacting to warmer-than-usual temperatures and sunshine.
Strawberry plants planted in September and October are already being harvested in a few spots, he said. Stein recently visited Poteet, which is known for its strawberry production and annual festival to celebrate the fruit, and noticed plants were ahead of schedule. “I saw fruit sets and lots of flowers,” he said. “Some producers were already harvesting a bit. It looks like they’re off to a good start.”
Stein said cooler temperatures in the short-term forecast could slow flower and fruit development down, but likely won’t pose a threat to the crop. Strawberries typically flower in late February or early March, he said. Plants move from flowering to fruit in a three-week period.
Stein said freezing temperatures of 28-29 degrees for an extended period could hurt fruit sets and kill the flowers. Plants will continue to produce fruit through April and possibly into May before temperatures become too hot, he said.