Binkalette
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What to put under strawberry plants?

I have some strawberries in my raised garden bed. I read in my gardening book to use straw underneath them to keep dirt from splashing up on the berries, but I haven't been able to find straw ANYWHERE. What else could I use?

Dillbert
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

I use peat moss - about 4" deep

makes a nice surface for the runners to root as well as easier weeding and non-dirt berries....

when it's 'freshly applied' keep a good check on the watering - peat can be hard to "wet through" in rapid fashion.

bnoles
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

Pine straw works very well for me.
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RamonaGS
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

I've used decorative bark, and weed barrier fabric wrapped around the base of the plants. I also have used decorative river rock, but that might be rough on your fruit if it gets hot there. That worked in Lompoc, which is a coastal town in Ca, and the temperatures don't often get too high or low.
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imafan26
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

I don't use anything. Drip system soakers don't splash. I have most of my strawberries in baskets. They are too easy a target for birds and slugs in the ground. I move the basket to morning sun or under the tree in summer so they get more shade.
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RogueRose
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

Is there somethign wrong with dirt on your strawberries? Can't you just wash them? I mean I have most of mine in planters and hangers and a couple in ground....but those that do get dirt on them...just wash?

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RamonaGS
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

When I had Strawberries touching dirt, they mold and rot before they ripen. It might just be in my area, but from what I read it has happened to others too.
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JONA878
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

Straw under the berries helps in two ways. It keeps the berries dry and so less prone to rot and it deters slugs and snails.
Also in hot weather it acts as a mulch and helps keep the soil moist.
If you are in an area where the weather is always good and warm then I guess the need for strawing up is less needed ...expecialy if you can water regularly to keep the berries viable.
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ruggr10
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

I use cedar mulch...it keeps the weeds out and they strawberries thrive.

Northernfox
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

There are lots of recommendations here however I have seen (have not used yet) Geotextile type mats. you can find them at home depot or Lowes. there are lots of mat products that would work. you basically need anything that will let the water run off and keep water in the soil.

I currently have a number of varieties that grow differently and it might be worth while picking a variety that shoots a central stalk up. Just a suggestion. I have a couple of videos I have done and will continue to do.

best of luck
Stephen

chubwolf
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

Is pine straw and dry pine needles the same thing? I have a quite thick layer of pine needles in my strawberry bed, and a soaker hose under that. but I'm curious, what do I do with the runners? they are spreading out but can't reach the soil. should I make holes in the mulch?
Thank you.

Dillbert
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

yes, "pine straw" = pine needles

for strawberry runners I use some light wire, bend it in a U-shape to 'pin' the runner(s) down. depending on how thick the pine needle bed is, you may have to scrape away some so the runner can root. I use peat moss, never any issue.

and, after 2-3 years, as the bed has filled in - 'pinning' runners is only for the over-achieving (g) - they'll manage quite nicely on their own.

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applestar
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

I had to find this thread.

I've been putting off getting a bale of straw for mulching my strawberries. Earlier this spring, I found out that my regular source -- a feed store in the next town over that has been there forever and is owned by a family whose name is one of the several local historic mills -- has permanently closed. There's going to be an auction of everything next month.

So I decided to try an Agway, a little further away but not as far as Tractor Supply. They told me that they won't be able to get straw until July when hopefully this year's harvest will not befall last year's disastrous rain-soaked days and rotting while they stood in the fields. NOBODY around here has straw, he said. The construction companies who are mandated to surround culverts with straw bales are using hay.bales He showed me a $16 bag of shredded straw that he said they are offering to people who are desperate for straw, but, he agreed with me that it's crazy to pay that much for the amount of straw in the (admittedly big) bag.... :?


So, what do you think? Should I just use the Douglas fir shavings which I had read could be bad for strawberries because they might promote rust? What does everyone else use? I'm going to read all the previous posters' suggestions. :-()

...if I can drum up some energy, I might rake up some thatch from the front lawn before DH mows the grass and mixes in mulch-cut grass clippings to the thatch.

Silverlining -- I found out they have a COMPLETE Espoma selection and in the XL bags... Even Tomato-tone. The also had a pallet of Fox Farm Potting mix at the entrance, and several other worthy supplies. I'm going to have to go back again, soon. ;) I also stopped at a small garden center on the way back, where they have a nice pond section. I saw a couple of plants I might want.
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JONA
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

Over here Star we can get matting that is perforated to let water through but can be placed around straw berry plants to keep the fruit off the soil. Helps keep slugs etc at bay too.
Straw is by far the best though. Problem with hay is that it retains water too long and starts to decompose itself.
John

imafan26
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

if it is not a big area you can try the pet stores they may have larger bales of bedding material like cedar shavings. Dried grass is not a bad idea. I would dry and turn them since fresh clippings will mat down. If there are yard services cutting and chipping trees you could ask them for a load. It will be a big one, but you can use the rest for the compost pile. Just make sure the material they have is clean and weed free, and not from trees like black walnut.

I can get free mulch from the local composting facility. If you have one nearby that may be an option. I like pine needles. It can be alleopathic to onions but it is fine with most other things. It helps to keep down weeds but does not pack down like other mulches and allows light and water to pass through. My town uses pine trees at the main intersections and once in a while I harvest the pine needles under them.

You can also go with plastic mulch.
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applestar
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

You can also go with plastic mulch.
...c'mon, you're talking to me, now. :roll:

Actually, reading JONA's suggestion, my mind went to thinking well, I have a coir mat in a roll.... :lol: But that would probably be worse than the shredded bagged straw in terms of cost... and besides, my strawberries don't grow in neat rows -- another obstacle to the well-ordered approach. I would have to cut the coir mat into pieces or dig up the plants, unroll and lay down the mat, cut planting holes.... :shock: (The coir mat was/is meant for a vertical garden idea I wanted to play with.)

~~~ whole mental excercise is currently moot because somehow I've managed to get a pinched nerve in my back, also affecting one leg with pain shooting down. Such a gorgeous day outside, too. :?

Hopefully stupid back will sort itself out by tomorrow. I have too many things to do. :evil: I just got a shelving unit I want to set up on the patio to put my hardening off seedlings on -- it's calling to me from out there to be assembled and set up. :bouncey:

-- strawberries -- currently thinking raked grass thatch, Douglas fir shavings (I have PLENTY of those and can get more -- $3 for 55 gal bag ful is hard to beat) and dried pine needles from under the neighbor's huge eastern white pine trees overhanging our side of the fence.

I had/have some spotted strawberry plants, but I don't know if there are any more than usual after having liberally used the wood shavings last year. The ones heavily mulched with shavings last year were in the Spiral Garden, and the scattered clumps seems to have sent out enough runners to take over the inner spiral even though I'm sure I had tomatoes growing there last year. So they seem to be HAPPY rather than diseased.

I clipped off the spotted leaves as part of spring clean up. I did notice last year that I only saw a few slugs bothering my plants last year, and ones venturing along the top of the shavings when wet were easy to spot.
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applestar
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

Raked up thatch from approx. 30 sq ft area in the back half of the front lawn closer the gate where there are less chances of unwanted contamination. All that filled up one of the 55 gal trash bags the fir shavings come in (The bag looks small in that photo for some reason.... :| ...it's about 3 ft tall.) . Also raked up some pine needles with some leaves mixed in. I think I'm set. Image

Image
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rainbowgardener
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

How would fall leaves be? I still have a bunch of fall leaves that were piled up against the back fence line, that I am gradually using in mulches and as browns in the compost pile.

I don't know if you still have fall leaves around. You could use them as is or run them through the shredder for a very fine textured mulch.
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Mr green
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

Most people use straw, but i used pinebark under mine and it has worked very well for 3 seasons now. No strawberries gone bad except for a few overripened ones. Most anything must be better than letting them lay on the soil i guess.

Finding straw that aint sprayed is almost impossible to me, and i wouldnt lay that down in my garden.
Im thinking (atleast for me that has lots of lakes around) that reed might be a good alternative to straw.
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

2 years ago we had no straw to be found anywhere 25 mile radius. For the exact same reason. Crop failure...That's why we used pine straw on our entire garden that year!

Worst slug infestation EVER! I thought it may have been the pine straw, but it could have been a result of that previous year's deluge.

Are you opposed to pine straw?
Lindsay
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applestar
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Re: What to put under strawberry plants?

One year I got all excited about "pine straw" because so many members here raved about them, and went looking for it around local stores. I finally found one garden center That sold it, though the guy gave me an odd look. It was rather expensive I remember, certainly more than regular straw, and when I went to pick it up from one of the trailers in the back of the parking lot, it was a badly formed "bale" 1/2 the size of a regular straw, with bits falling out -- who knows how much it had lost already. :roll:

The needles are definitely longer than any pine around here, but no more! I'm satisfied with just gathering up the dropped needles of the neighbor's trees on my side of the fence.

(Another time, I wanted SO MUCH to get some Salt Marsh Hay, which was highly recommended in a gardening book and by some forum members. That one was a COMPLETE bust unless I drove out 1-1/2 hours to a garden center near the shore.... :roll: )

I started putting the wood shavings under some strawberry plants, and the pine/leaf mix under others. I think I put the raked thatch under another group. The blossoms on some of my plants are starting to lose petals and tiny green fruits are starting to hang down, so those are getting priority. But I see strawberry plants in bloom everywhere I look. I want to take photos of the differently mulched plants and post for comparison.

HOWEVER, I'm a bit wiped out and I'm feeling the chill today -- I had to drive someone to the hospital yesterday because they weren't going to be able to drive back after a procedure ...I hope I didn't catch any stray bugs. (I tell ya it's NOT HEALTHY to go to hospitals and doctors offices :? :> )
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