Just like straw is in the fields, grass clippings should be allowed to sit and dry out in the sun after they are cut. It’s also very easy to see the berries on top of the wood chips. Mulch on top of the soil is wonderful in any garden, but strawberries are especially well-suited to mulching during the growing season. It looks good and has most of the benefits of other mulches: retaining soil moisture, keeping down weeds, and adding organic matter to the soil when it breaks down.”. Water enough to evenly moisten the soil surface, but not so much that it’s soggy or wet. We are compensated for referring traffic and business to Amazon and other companies linked to on this site. Strawberry plants need to experience a little cold before being covered with straw. The best winter mulches for strawberry beds are straw or pine needles. I've built a handful of gardens over the last few years and have totally fallen in love with gardening. Water the newspaper and then cover it with a layer of mulch. After the plastic sheeting is secured, small holes are either punctured or burned through the thin sheet with an industrial tool. The most common fabric mulch for strawberries is black landscape fabric (weed barrier fabric). Similar to plastic sheeting, landscape fabric is another agricultural product designed to deter growth of weeds. Use several sheets and be sure to overlap the newspaper so no dirt is showing through. Grass clippings can be used as mulch for strawberries with proper preparation of the clippings. You could also make your own strawberry mats by creating circle collars with thick fabric, carpet, or even a heavier-grade recycled plastic. Mulch strawberries in November Strawberries should be mulched over to prevent winter injury to the plant crowns and to help keep the fruit relatively clean of dirt during harvest time. Cover the plants completely with paper and add 2 or 3 inches of organic material to protect the crowns and roots, and to prevent freeze-thaw syndrome and soil erosion. A layer of straw spread 1 – 2” deep around the plants will help to inhibit weed growth when the strawberries are growing, regulate soil temperatures, minimize soil erosion, and keep dirt off the fruit. Excellent mulching materials include clean, weed-free oat, wheat, or soybean straw. However, keep mulch from touching plant crowns to prevent vole feeding. While the material may last as long as two seasons under optimal environmental conditions, newspaper can tend to decompose in very warm, moist climates. Remove the mulch from the strawberry planting when approximately 25% of the plants are producing new growth. While it does compete with the strawberries for nutrients like nitrogen to some extent, it can be cut or tilled and returned to the soil. Pine needle mulch lies flat, doesn’t blow away in the wind, and dries quickly after a rain or heavy morning dew. Simply changing the colour of the plastic to red can lead to bigger, sweeter strawberries (apparently the red feels like competition to the plants, and so they work hard to overcome it). After settling, the mulch layer should be 2 to 4 inches thick. Rotate crops for greatest success. Overlap the edges of the sheets so they don't separate. When removing the … Since strawberries have the highest amount of pesticide residue compared to other fruits and vegetables, growing your own can be beneficial to your health.. A raised bed makes a perfect atmosphere for the berry patch. Newspaper mulch controls weeds, retains moisture, and keeps roots warmer in cool regions. Newspaper Mulch Adds to your Soil As It DegradesThere are lots of ways to use newspaper as a mulch to control weeds outdoors without using poisons. The drawbacks are balanced out by the ease of use, creation of biomass, and the low-waste characteristics of a living mulch (versus something like black plastic sheeting). Dry grass clippings can be spread thinly around strawberry plants as mulch. Watch out for slugs, which love to eat the fruit. Compost, Mulch and Microbes May Protect Strawberries By Marcia Wood March 31, 1999. Look for an organic product free from herbicides or other contaminants. Remove the newspaper mulch as soon as the last fruit harvest ends in climates that experience winter temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Mulch strawberries when the ground freezes (November or December) with an insulation mulch layer of straw or shredded leaves, about 4″ thick in most climates. Remove the mulch from the strawberry planting when about 25 percent of the plants are producing new growth. If the mulch is left on too long, it could substantially reduce your yield. Pittsburgh Tribune Review: Reuse Newspaper as Mulch for Your Garden, University of Florida: New Technologies in Mulching for Vegetable Production in Florida, Maryland Cooperative Extension: Mulches for the Home Garden, Mother Earth News: The Magic of Newspaper Mulch, University of Connecticut: Synthetic Mulching Materials for Weed Management, West Virginia University Extension Service: Recycling Newspaper for Mulching Strawberries, Green (Living) Review: Reuse Newspaper as Mulch for Your Garden, Veggie Harvest: Mulch for Vegetable Gardens, The Best Mulch for Controlling Weeds in a Vegetable Garden. The consistent use of mulch for the past seven years has increased the humus in our soil significantly. While it doesn’t add organic matter to the soil, it does an excellent job of moisture retention, weed suppression, and of keeping the growing berries clean. As the cotton fibers in the paper decompose, it makes your soil richer and softer for next year’s planting! Chopped or shredded newspaper is an effective mulch between rows of vegetables. Spray the newspaper with water to dampen it. June – Sets one large crop of fruit in June (typically). Excessive mulch can smother plants. If you live in zone 8, 9, 0r 10, you probably don’t even need to mulch at all. How Much Newspaper Do You Use Under Rock Mulch? A loose covering of straw just thick enough to hide plants from view is sufficient protection. Grow strawberries in direct sunlight, as they require six to ten hours of full sun daily. Chopped up straw is normally used to mulch strawberries. Repeat the newspaper mulch application just prior to the first predicted frost in your area, to prevent winter damage to strawberry plants in colder climates. There is no need to experience a little cold before being covered with straw as weed control in beds. Soil here in Tennessee is a good winter mulch on strawberries is a home gardener who loves healthy! 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