The Right Nutrient Approach at Establishment During Cold & Wet Conditions

The initial phase of strawberry growth is critical and sets the stage for optimal crop production and maximum yield potential. Providing the crop with the most favorable nutrition program makes all the difference in forming a strong root system which will help produce more crowns and better strawberries in the future. There are two essential nutrients for successful plant establishment and early strawberry growth that we will discuss in the following paragraphs; nitrogen and calcium.


  • Nitrogen is essential for strawberry growth being one of the main building blocks of proteins. It is important for green leaf and fruit production, maximizing photosynthetic assimilation leading to high strawberry yields.
  • During the phase of establishment and early plant development, nitrogen plays a major role in cell division, growth of new tissues and root system development.
  • During these early stages, it is of most importance to keep in mind which nutrients are readily available (soluble) in the soil for use and simple for the plant to metabolize.
  • Nitrate nitrogen (NO3) is the preferred form for uptake by the plant, so nitrate-nitrogen should be the main form of nitrogen applied.


  • Calcium plays a key role in maintaining the physiological stability of plant tissue ensuring good plant structure and health. For example, calcium builds strong cell walls and is vital to cell membrane integrity and permeability.
  • Early calcium nutrition supports root development and crop establishment, including the growth of young leaves, buds and crown expansion.
  • In addition, calcium helps improve the plant’s tolerance to early diseases and environmental stresses.
  • Plants required a continuous supply of calcium for root growth. Roots do poorly in soils with low levels of soluble (plant-available) calcium. A better root system means better access to nutrients and water.
  • Also, continuous calcium applications help maintain good soil structure to improve water infiltration, aeration and soil crusting issues.

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Crop Nutrition Tactics

Not all nitrogen sources are the same. Calcium nitrate is a source of nitrogen and calcium that encourages root development. Research shows that calcium nitrate has a significantly better effect on root development than ammonium nitrate. A consistent supply of calcium nitrate is directly related to early growth and the overall strength and health of a strawberry crop.

AN vs CN on strawberries

ammonium nitrate + other Ca source (left); YaraLiva CN-9 treatment (right)

With fully soluble calcium and nitrate-nitrogen, YaraLiva® Calcium Nitrate products guarantee these critical nutrients are quickly and efficiently available to crops.

Plants treated with YaraLiva fertilizers are naturally healthier and less sensitive to stress during early growth. Then, critically, in the build-up to harvest, YaraLiva calcium nitrate fertilizers improve the size, strength and appearance of the fruit. (Learn more about these products: YaraLiva® CAN-17™, YaraLiva® CALCINIT™, and YaraLiva® CN-9®).

Soluble calcium is required to meet strawberry crop demand and although there is usually a sufficient supply of calcium in our soils, not all of it is readily available for plant use.

Highly soluble calcium is present in YaraLiva calcium nitrate, immediately available for plant uptake, unlike other more insoluble forms. Watch the video below to learn more about calcium availability for strawberry plants.


Farmers traditionally fertilize fruit and vegetable crops with UAN-32. However, UAN does not provide soluble calcium, essential for root and shoot growth and for good soil structure, and for overall plant growth, even under environmental stress conditions. Watch video.


Don't forget the potassium!

Fruit crops often take up as much or more potassium as nitrogen with the greatest demand during fruit-set and bulking.

YaraTera® NITRAKAL™MAX provides a balanced formulation of nitrogen, potassium and calcium that are immediately available for uptake by fruit crops.

  • Supplies K for improved plant water relations and increased crop quality
  • Ensures prime quality by influencing the level of sugars, as well as ripening and storage characteristics.

Reach out to your local Yara Agronomist to learn more about how to best utilize Yara products in your comprehensive nutrition program.

Listen to our Podcast

Calcium is Critical for Short and Long Term Plant Health and Production

In this podcast, we unfold the 4R's of Nutrient Stewardship with calcium and discuss how, if applied properly, your overall input cost can be reduced while improving your crop's quality and yield sustainably.

Yara CheckIT™ App

Use Yara's CheckIT App from your mobile phone to assess the status of your strawberry crop.

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Download on the App Store

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Patricia Dingus
Patricia Dingus
Regional Sales Manager

Central Coastal California

Eddie Muro
Eddie Muro
Sales Agronomist

Central Coastal California

sebastian korob
Sebastian Korob
Regional Market Development Manager