How to cover strawberries for the winter?
Strawberries, or garden strawberries, as it should be called more correctly, is the most common berry crop. She competes only with honeysuckle, but not by area, but by the time the first berries appear. It is these two cultures - honeysuckle and strawberries, that are the very first to enrich us with vitamins, sometimes the most important and necessary. In our article we will try to tell you about whether it is necessary to shelter our favorite berry from winter frost and, if necessary, how to do it correctly.
Is there any sense in sheltering strawberries?
Gardeners often argue whether it is necessary to cover strawberries, can snow be the best shelter for her? Of course, it can, if on a site from year to year you grow old varieties and live in the center of Russia. But what about those who decide to acquire new, larger-fruited strawberry cultivars and who live in a region where even in early September winter frosts can already be? Of course, unambiguously, in these cases, you need to shelter, and there are many ways and possibilities for this now and they are available to everyone.
Why cover strawberries?
In principle, the question is reasonable, because even new varieties can withstand up to thirty degrees of frost, provided that it is covered with snow, of course, but in recent years even such an unpleasant phenomenon has become more frequent provocative thaws. Imagine - the snow suddenly starts to melt, the plants are trying to wake up, taking the false spring as its beginning, and here again the crackling frosts. From this, any flower bud can die, and even more so with strawberries. Here shelter will save, and it will protect reliably.
In addition, the sites are different: on some, the snow accumulates well, and on others, it blows off at the first gust of wind, exposing the entire strawberry plantation at once. In this situation, part of the varieties with a "weak character" can freeze already at -9 degrees, and at -15 freeze completely. Here the shelter of strawberries is a must. If the snow nevertheless attacks the site, then there will be nothing bad, and if the wind sweeps the snow that attacked earlier, then the shelter will protect this site. Not everyone wants to plant rocky plants around the site to retain snow, so the use of shelter is considered the most appropriate.
Draining - this is also the reason why the plot needs to be covered. In the early stages of the winter period, when a strong and very cold wind sometimes rages, and there is still no snow, many leaves, and sometimes flower buds of strawberries, die from this cold wind. They literally dry up and look dead in the spring - there is just the right place for a shelter that would have protected from this scourge for sure.
Bulging - this is when freshly planted bushes frozen soil can literally push out, timely sheltering will also help here, it will normalize the temperature of the soil, will not allow it to freeze strongly and will not stick out.
Freezing roots - With a long, prolonged, snowless autumn, when the temperatures are very low, not only the aboveground part, but also the root system may suffer, so do not put off strawberries with shelter.
When to cover strawberries?
If the shelter is laid early or, conversely, late, then the strawberries under it can simply begin to sing. This is called digestion, therefore, you should not hurry with the shelter, as well as delay with its cleaning (in spring), because the soil should warm up faster, and the shelter, whatever it is, should not interfere with the warming of the soil.
Tip. Before laying shelter, very well weed the bed, remove all weed grass, get rid of dead and sick leaves on strawberries. Only then can one begin to think about shelter.
It is difficult to name the optimal period, of course, this is not September and not October, when it is still quite warm (do not forget about baking). But when the temperature, day and night, is minus and lasts like this for at least a week, then it's time to start shelter.
How to cover strawberries?
For those who did not do this in advance, we recall once again. So, weeding in and around all the beds with strawberries, light loosening of the soil between the rows, it will help the soil to breathe, if suddenly “overboard” the temperature suddenly rises, renewal and complete removal of the old foliage (rake cut, scissor cutting) and burning it for the territory of the site is all the preludes for shelter.
Further, mustaches, if they are not needed for reproduction, then they should also be removed, otherwise plants in the winter period will spend extra energy on maintaining their existence. Strawberry dressing - it is quite possible to carry them out in the very last days of September precisely on the plants that you are going to cover, for which I would advise using wood ash or furnace soot. It should be scattered in the amount of 300 g per square meter in the rows of strawberry plantations, directly on previously loosened soil.
If you are afraid for the manifestation of gray rot under cover material, then you can treat strawberries with 3% Bordeaux liquid. To do this, you need to dilute 3 grams of the drug with water at room temperature, mix very well, season with a spray bottle and walk through the plants. It is difficult to describe the exact rate of consumption, you just walk through the strawberry plantation and evenly moisten the plants so that they seem moistened, as if after a light rain. They do not need to be poured, as well as excessively watering the soil, but there will be nothing to worry if the drug gets on the ground.
Important! Immediately after treatment with Bordeaux liquid or other permitted fungicides, if you have a strong desire to use them, do not cover the strawberry plantation, let it dry, and after a couple of days, you can start to cover it (the main thing is that there is no rain during this period of time, otherwise everything will have to be done anew). By the way, a raw plantation also cannot be covered, you need to wait for it to dry out, only in the most extreme case you can do this.
Strawberry Shelter Materials
In fact, there are a lot of materials for shelter, this is literally everything at hand. Of course, the best covering material is snow, but not every winter is enough and not always it can stay on the bed, especially if it is high (he strives to accumulate between the beds, this, of course, is also a plus, but much less).
In addition to snow, it is permissible to use ordinary wood sawdust, which can be removed free of charge from any sawmill, where there are a huge number of them, as well as small dry branches, reeds, if there is a river or a pond near.
Further - spruce spruce branches, it cannot be called a wonderful covering material, however, it keeps snow surprisingly well on the site due to its special structure, spruce paws can literally cover any lighter covering material (say leaf litter). Speaking of foliage - if the foliage is healthy, then in combination with spruce spruce branches it will be an excellent covering material. You can also use dry hay, and. again, from its expansion in its area, you can use it in combination with cut spruce paws.
Well, the novelties of shelters are a variety of non-woven covering materials of different durability, density, durability, reliability, price and color, they can also be used as covering material.
Leaves. It is important before sheltering strawberries with leaves, to understand whether it is healthy, without signs of disease and the presence of pests. It is better to take foliage that decomposes for a long time, for example, the foliage of walnut or Manchurian walnut, the leaves of horse chestnut, American maple, poplar, oak - this is all just perfect. In addition, this foliage is quite heavy, and if it gets wet and freezes, only a very strong gust of wind will blow it away.
Sawdust - very cheap and fairly good covering material, they also, when wet, rarely fly around the site. The main thing is that in the spring they should be carefully collected from the strawberry plantation, because they can acidify the soil. For a square meter of strawberry beds you just need a bucket of wood sawdust.
Rags. Of course, there are doubts about the rags: whether various diseases and pests had accumulated there for the winter, so before covering the strawberries with it, you can treat the rags with 7% Bordeaux liquid, just in case, and then lay it more tightly.
Reeds - at any pond it can be mowed enough and cover the plantation with it. The reed is easy to clean, easy to stack, the wind will not blow it, and a couple of centimeters will be enough thickness.
Fir spruce, we’ve already talked about almost everything about him, we’ll add: it’s advisable to collect it from trees that have been broken or chopped down and abandoned by someone, it’s not worth cutting spruce paws from living and healthy trees. If you have a forest nearby, then a dozen spruce paws for one or two beds can be found, and that’s enough. The main thing is that spruce spruce branches should be distributed over the entire surface of the bed and cover the leaves completely, rather than shreds.
Dry hay, - it has “volatile” properties, can literally scatter over the entire area, so it must be used in combination with spruce spruce branches: they covered strawberries with hay with a layer of 2-3 cm, then put a spruce paw on top and so on, until the end of all beds.
Covering material - Now there are a lot of it, different, prices, densities, colors. If it is windy and lightly snowy, then take one that is thicker and heavier, if there is a lot of snow, then, on the contrary, it is thinner and lighter, etc., etc.
As the final version of the shelter, you can also shade your area by laying on top of the already fallen snow, various cardboard or other materials. In the spring, they will delay the sharp melting of snow and accumulate more moisture on the site, but they cannot be placed there for a long time: as soon as active, massive snow melting begins, all improvised materials must be removed, otherwise they will inhibit soil heating, plant growth and may cause evaporation.
Strawberry Shelter Technique
Remember one thing - if you already started to cover the strawberries, then cover the beds completely and completely, sheltering in parts or, in your opinion, only the most winter-hardy varieties, will not lead to anything good. It is advisable to start strawberry shelter before the first stable snow cover falls and until the soil begins to freeze strongly, but the temperature will already be stable at zero points, slightly freezing the air at night and thawing in the morning. If frost has caught you, then you need to cover the plants as quickly as possible, preferably on the same day.
For those who simply don’t have the opportunity to use any covering material: try to fence strawberry beds with boards, shields, new or old, ten centimeters higher than the garden itself, then the snow will not fly around the site and will begin to accumulate inside these impromptu traps, but it looks, to be honest, not very beautiful, and the fuss, in my opinion, is much more.
So, it is up to you to decide whether to shelter your strawberry garden or leave everything as it is. Again, it all depends on the climatic features of your region, on the composition of the soil, on the varietal characteristics of strawberries, on your strengths and capabilities.
But one thing I can tell you honestly, if you process the strawberries in time, remove the diseased leaves, cut the mustache, loosely soil and so on, cover it qualitatively with the onset of real frost, maybe by clamping the corners with bricks or metal pipes, and in early spring, like if everything starts to melt and the soil is actively warming up, remove the covering material and process the strawberries again, then even in the center of Russia she will not say anything other than a big thank you. The main thing is to do everything with warmth and love and choose exactly days free from other activities when you feel good and when there are no other worries.