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It is easiest to distinguish male and female strawberry bushes at the stage of blooming flowers and the formation of ovaries. However, this does not mean that the novice gardener will have to wait for the flowering period. You can also determine the sex of young plants.
Are there male and female strawberry bushes
The situation when strong and healthy strawberries bear fruit poorly is well known to many gardeners. Do not immediately blame the seller for the supply of defective seedlings. Perhaps too many "male" specimens are simply planted on the site. That is why it is so important to be able to distinguish between heterosexual plants.
However, from a scientific point of view, there is no division into "male" and "female" varieties. Strawberry is a monoecious crop with bisexual flowers. The main difference is related to the process of forming the mustache on the sockets.
The very first mustache garden strawberry, growing in the middle lane, forms in the last decade of May. In the southern regions, this happens three to four weeks earlier. The first and second rosettes are exactly the "female" seedlings. Two months later, at least five leaves and a central bud with a diameter of 1-1.5 cm can be observed on it. The rosette itself acquires a flattened, slightly rounded shape.
The active tying of peduncles is associated with poor reproduction opportunities by throwing away the whiskers. Most often, the habitat of the "girls" expands due to the transfer of seeds and berries by birds.
The third and subsequent sockets are "boys". Their reproduction occurs mainly with the help of whiskers. They can be distinguished mainly by their external features.
By the time of flowering, they have three to four leaves and a core with a diameter of no more than 5 mm. The formed rosette has a conical, slightly elongated shape. "Male" specimens do not form ovaries, but conquer space by actively throwing out the whiskers.
Although scientists deny the presence of heterosexual bushes, from an economic point of view, it is easier for gardeners to distinguish strawberries precisely on this basis.
The ability to determine the "gender" is useful when buying seedlings in the store
As for the reason for determining the "sex" of strawberries, it is simple - to increase and control the yield of the crop.
Is it possible to distinguish male from female strawberries
To be able to distinguish "female" strawberry plants from "male" is not only possible, but also necessary. The large-scale settlement by "boys" will negatively affect the yield, while outwardly the garden will look excellent.
To determine belonging to a particular group, the gardener needs to evaluate the foliage of the bush, the color of the plates, the size, the number of outlets and their shape. It is easiest to distinguish "male" bushes from "female" ones during the flowering period of the culture.
At the time of buying young seedlings, you can focus on the size of the mustache. Large modified shoots are most often a sign of "boys". On the "female" bushes, the mustache can be observed only after the first fruiting.
What are male strawberry bushes for?
Despite self-pollination, strawberries will bear less fruit without "male" specimens. However, this does not mean that it is worth actively encouraging the reproduction of "boys". The optimal ratio, according to practical observations, is the ratio of 10 to 1, where 10 are “female” specimens, and 1 is a weed variety.
We remind you that the male strawberry bush differs from the female one primarily in the presence of barren flowers, that is, as a fruitful crop, it is absolutely useless. Moreover, this is not its only drawback.
The main disadvantages of weeds:
- "Male" bushes take up space that can be used to plant fruitful varieties.
- Barren flowers extract nutrients and water from the soil, which are necessary for "working" strawberries.
- A large number of "male" plants lead to thickening of the plantings and, as a result, the berries become smaller.
Thickening can lead to impaired air circulation, which in turn can lead to disease or pest damage.
One "male" bush can pollinate up to ten "female"
Therefore, it is so important to control the number of "male" plants in the garden and be able to distinguish them from the "female" specimens.
How does the floor of the bushes affect yield
Even with the complete removal of the "boys" from the garden, varietal strawberries will bear fruit. However, the crop yield will be significantly lower.
"Male" bushes increase pollination, but their dominance will cause the opposite reaction. Varietal plantings will begin to wither, and the quality of the berries will deteriorate. That is why gardeners remove excess barren flowers from the garden. However, before you start thinning, you need to understand the differences between "male" and "female" strawberry bushes. Having figured it out, you can start removing weeds.
To begin with, "male" plants are manually removed from the soil. This is done with gentle movements, twisting each bush out of the soil. It is not recommended to pull out the bush with a sudden movement. This can damage the roots of both the plant itself and neighboring plantings.
As a result of removing the strawberries in the garden, you can observe the formed holes. They are covered with soil to the general level and, if necessary, water the neighboring plants. You don't need to fertilize anything.
Removed "male" copies should not be thrown away immediately. The fact is that even they are able to give quite healthy and full-fledged "female" offspring. In addition, novice gardeners sometimes make mistakes when thinning and remove the "girls", so after removing the plantings it will not be superfluous to examine them again for sex determination.
As for the "male" strawberry bushes, they can be planted on a separate bed. The site of the future landing is prepared in advance. The soil is pre-dug up and fertilized by adding old manure or compost. In the absence of organic matter, it can be replaced with multicomponent mineral dressings.
The first and second rosette of the strawberry bush, as a rule, are "female"
It must be remembered that garden strawberries are often attacked by pests, and at the time of transplantation they are most vulnerable, so it will not be superfluous to treat the soil with Dursban, Nurell or biologically active agents.
Having identified the differences, the "male" plants are transplanted, keeping a distance between the bushes of 10-15 cm. Such close proximity does not allow actively throwing away the mustache, as a result of which there is a switch to the formation of peduncles.
The mustache discarded in the garden should be trimmed with pruning shears or scissors. If we are talking about a valuable variety, then it is quite possible to leave a couple of shoots.
The transplant is carried out in late August or early September. Strawberries need at least a month for the culture to adapt before the first frost.
With the correct agrotechnical measures, the next year strawberries will form high-quality flower stalks and give an excellent harvest.
How to distinguish male and female strawberry bushes
It is difficult to distinguish male from female strawberries from the photo, first of all, because the photo does not always convey the external characteristics of the bush. Namely, the "exterior" is the easiest way to determine the sex.
How to tell the difference between male and female strawberry mustaches
Beginners often come to a dead end when they learn about the need to thin out and remove "boys" from the garden. In fact, recognizing "male" strawberry bushes is not that difficult.
Barren flowers are much larger and more powerful than their neighbors in the garden. The leaf plates of the bush are distinguished by a bright emerald color, while their shade is one or two shades darker than fruiting plants. The rosettes have a conical shape, while in "female" landings it is rounded-flattened.
Weeds throw out a lot of whiskers, on which you can almost immediately observe the formation of rosettes. "Male" bushes do not waste energy on fruiting.
"Male" specimens can be used to reproduce fertile varieties
In rare cases, these plantings bloom, while the resulting flowers are larger and smaller in number. Even less often, barren flowers delight gardeners with berries. In this case, the fruits are small, pale, with poor tasting qualities.
Distinguishing male and female strawberry bushes is not as difficult as it seems at first glance. The ability to find differences will help solve the problem of reproduction and will significantly increase the yield of the crop.