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ID jit
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Mulching Strawberry Plants for sub 20*F Temps.

I kind of don't get this. Even under 4" - 6" medium/light mulch, the plants are going to get down to what ever ambient temp is unless there is a heat source to push back the cold to the other side of the insulation.

Have my containers of plants right up against each other and they are buried in a mixture of leaves, dried grass clippings, pine needles and the like. Have the plants buried in the same stuff right up to the top most foliage. The tallest plant leaves are literally flat against the mulch layer. They kind of look like lilly pads floating in a brown/tan pond. So, there is maybe 6" of medium/light density mulch over the crowns. There is maybe a foot of mulch around the outside of the containers and mounded up the tops of the leaves.

My assumption here was to leave at least some of the foliage exposed to the sunlight so photosynthesis can carry on at what ever level it can in what ever the ambient temp.

Questions:
Is this enough protection?

How does this layer of mulch actually protect the crowns and next years buds. The temp is going to stabilize though the entire mass and down into the soil?

Should I be keeping a compost pile good and active and bury the containers in that to provide some warmth?

Are tunnel covers the way to go?

Thanks much.
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tomc
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Re: Mulching Strawberry Plants for sub 20*F Temps.

Np photosynthesis is going to happen below 32 F soil temperatures. The mulch is to abate the see-sawing of frosts and thaws.
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applestar
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Re: Mulching Strawberry Plants for sub 20*F Temps.

Yeah I have some garden beds that I should have mulched -- there were 2" needle ice heaving the ground everywhere in the bed the other day.
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ID jit
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Re: Mulching Strawberry Plants for sub 20*F Temps.

tomc,
Thanks much. I feel a lot better about burying them in chopped up leaves and grass that came of the lawn at the last mowing of the year.

We have some ugly weather coming in for a few days. Will probably dig down and expose the top most leave again when it warms up a little. Probably extra work for nothing, but....
I don't believe we can resist the things which make no sense - I believe.

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ID jit
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Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:00 pm
Location: SE New England: zone twilight or 5b... hard for me to tell some days.

Re: Mulching Strawberry Plants for sub 20*F Temps.

Noticed something surprising this morning.

Have the planters of strawberries buried under mulch in the garden. Garden still hast 2" of frozen snow on it. The big rectangle on mulch around the strawberries has no snow on it.

Weather has been volatile for the past week or so - single digit with sub 0, the next days as it warmed up a little, mid 50's and light rain the next day and back into the teens today with near zero wind chill.

Probably has something to do with the thermal mass of the mulch pile vs the ground, or drainage or possible air movement, but it is clear there is something going on there. Guess the plants are safer under it and hoping all that water didn't accumulate and freeze.
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