The use of mulch has the advantage of preventing fruit rot. Mulching also helps to retain soil moisture and to prevent weed growth. Furthermore, soil quality is improved by protecting the ground surface from damages caused by pouring rain. Natural mulch, more environmentally-friendly, is suitable for dry areas while plastic is better suited to humid and rainy regions.

Mulching strawberry plants is a procedure that consists of spreading a layer of vegetable matter evenly on the cultivated beds. Sometimes, this natural mulch is replaced by the use of a plastic film.

The main materials used for mulching

The mulching material consists of light and fragmented debris such as chopped straw, wood shavings, grass clippings and dry pine needles. Other materials such as flakes of bark or crushed flaxseed can also be used. Plastic sheeting is also used as artificial mulching material, but it has more disadvantages than advantages such as visual and physical pollution, by being potential waste for the garden. Mulching reduces maintenance work such as weeding and watering due to the preservation of soil moisture. The mineral material such as sand, gravel or pebbles can also be included as mulching materials although they are less frequently used.

The technique for mulching strawberries

Mulching, which duplicates the ground’s natural conditions, consists of evenly spreading a 1.2 to 2-inch (3 to 5 cm) layer of vegetable matter on strawberry plants. The procedure can be carried out in stages by adding successive layers, so as to prevent the plants from having to bear too heavy a load. It is necessary to spread the mulch well between plants by shaking it manually or by using garden tools such as a rake or a stick. Make sure that the leaves are not hindered and are apparent above the layer of mulch. By being mulched properly, the plants will benefit from better growing conditions, which will in turn lead to improved fruiting with large and juicy fruits.

Tips for mulching successfully

To mulch planting strips covered with black plastic, insert the mulch under the clusters and alongside the paths. The layer of mulch buried under the plastic acts as a protection screen against sunburn. Some plant materials such as wood shavings can be used as mulch. However, the choice should be focused on products that are not appreciated by slugs, such as poplar wood or previously crushed walnut husks. Moreover, take care to sort out the straw thoroughly, as it must be clean and free of weed seeds. For those who do not have adequate mulching materials, small-sized cardboard can do the trick. Just take care to pierce a hole in the middle in order to let the plant pass through. To facilitate mulching, it is best to use a grinder which is a tool used to disintegrate waste and crumble it intro small pieces of which the diameter does not exceed an inch (3 cm). The resulting coarse milling is the end product which is used to mulch strawberry plants.

Related posts:

  1. Strawberry plants
  2. Protecting flowers from the cold
  3. Making mulch with non-polluting materials
  4. Organizing and maintaining garden paths

Published in Strawberry by Alexander on 07 Sep 2011