By Clint Thompson
Strawberry plantings have begun across the Southeast… at least for those growers who have their plants. Some producers have already expressed to Jeff Cook, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for Peach and Taylor counties, that there is a plant shortage.
“We’re a little early really. Some of the guys around here still haven’t gotten plants yet. I am hearing some grumblings that plants from the east coast, nursery wise, are short. I have not heard a reason why. I’ve already had two phone calls from people looking for additional plants, because they were expecting, like thousands, and are not going to be getting them from the source they had them brokered with,” Cook said.
“It’s two years in a row it’s happened. Last year they said it was because of the hurricane that hit up in Canada. It slowed down nurseries down the east coast. This year I don’t know what the hold up is. I don’t know if nurseries are having disease issues or what.
“I sent an email to my counterparts up in South Carolina. One of them said he had heard of some growers getting shorted. The other one said he hadn’t yet.”
The current lack of plants reinforces the emphasis that Cook and fellow Extension agents place on ordering plants from multiple nurseries.
“We try to especially with diseases and things like that. It’s just good business practice. All of the nurseries are going to have an issue at some point. We try to tell them to get them from different places,” Cook said. “I’ve been telling people the last couple of years, I’ve seen really good plants that are a little more expensive come out of the west, out of California. I talked to some growers in Florida, and they get some out in Oregon. Having some different sources and getting them from places where they grow a lot more strawberries than what we do definitely is a smart move.”