By Hans Dekker
Contrary to popular belief the success of your spring and summer strawberry harvest is largely dependent on good care in Autumn. In autumn you lay the basis for a successful strawberry fruit production. It doesn’t really matter if you have an established strawberry patch have been active just one season. Talking from experience many gardeners will tell you this is a pretty good example of the 80/20 rule.
Here are a few tips to improve the yield and even the taste of your strawberries next spring:
Yearly renovation is an important part of caring for June-bearing strawberries. If you are growing this variety in matted rows, you should begin season-end plant care by renovating the bed after the harvest. Just in time renovation keeps your strawberry bed productive for three to four years.
Here are the steps you need to follow:
After harvest, mow foliage to within an inch of the strawberry crowns, remove all clippings. Clean the patch to keep it free bed free of all discarded plant matter
Although some gardeners may advise you to rake or till disease-free clippings into the soil, in addition to harboring disease, clippings from renovation may contain weed seeds. For that reason it’s best to keep your strawberry beds free of all discarded plant matter.
- remove any remaining weeds and narrowing your rows to six to twelve inches wide.
- thin your strawberry plants, retaining only strong healthy specimens, with about four to six inches between plants.
- keep your the bed moist, but not wet, to promote new growth for next year.
Although strawberries do well in areas that have some cool weather, frost is disastrous to your strawberry bed. A basic part of caring for this plant is to protect it with a layer of mulch during the winter. As well as protecting your strawberries from killing frosts, a three to four inch layer of hay or straw will provide even temperatures to protect them from the possibility of refreezing after an early spring or mid-winter thaw.
Don’t mulch with fallen leaves since leaves tend to compact and will smother new growth in your strawberry bed.
Although many cultivators of strawberries are hardy to 15 Fahrenheit (-10C), mulch should be applied before the temperature dips to 20F (-6C) to protect buds and new growth from killing frosts. Do be sure all growth has stopped before you mulch. Otherwise, the crowns may decay. Winter mulch should be left in place until the first signs of spring growth.
Then, remove just enough to let the growth come through. Your winter strawberry care is finished and you are ready for a fruitful growing season! When you are interested in getting the most of from your fruit trees, plants and bushes you will find a lot information at our site.