Learn To Grow Strawberries At Home
Strawberry Plants And Mulch: A Love Story
After planting your June Bearing strawberries in the fall, adding a layer of mulch under the leaves of the plant is absolutely vital in helping prevent disease, providing protection from frost, and maintaining good moisture in the soil.
What Is The Best Strawberry Mulch?
Depending on your preference, how you’re growing your strawberries, and what’s available to you, there are 2 main ways to mulch your plants: use organic or synthetic mulch.
At HOSS headquarters, we are growing our strawberries using both methods. In the raised bed, we chose to use locally sourced clean straw and overhead watering using our hand dandy Dramm Watering Can . For our in-ground plants, we decided to use synthetic black plastic sheeting with the Drip Tape Irrigation System.
When you use the drip tape system, plant your strawberry plugs at each emitter and bury your tape. Once you’ve got everything in the ground, that’s when you come in with your mulch choice and cover your irrigation under the plant. If you need more information on the best way to plant your strawberries, check out our previous post in the Study Hall blog for tips and tricks.
Shop Our Hand Selected Strawberry Plants
Overwinter Your Strawberry Plants With Mulch
Most of the time in zones 7 and higher, you likely won’t have to take any special precautions to protect your strawberry plants from harsh winters. However, when heavy frost, snow, or ice is expected, you’ll need to be sure and protect your strawberry plants using the very same mulch you’ve already applied under the plant. Strawberry plants are, in general, pretty cold hardy but the crowns will get damaged at anything below 15°F. During Spring production, the flowers and fruit can get damaged at anything below 28°F. Applying mulch over the plants will help protect the crowns and new growth from frost damage.
We recommend using the same mulch varieties that we mentioned above based on how you’ve planted. If you’re using organic mulch, simply apply a 3”-6” layer over the plants loosely so that moisture and sunlight can still get in but not so much it smothers the plant. If using synthetic materials, just cover the plants with a single layer of sheeting by hand.
Once temperatures even out, you’ll want to make sure to remove any mulch you’ve applied. Keeping the row covers on can invite warmer temperatures that can cause a host of issues including rot, insect infestation, premature blooms and other problems that can kill the crop. You may find yourself applying and removing your mulch several times throughout the season so we suggest keeping it in the rows between the plants between uses but rest assured, it will be worth it at the end of the growing season.