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Overwintering strawberry plants: When to apply mulch


November 9, 2020
By Fruit and Vegetable

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Temperatures are dropping and winter is almost upon us, so it’s time to plan on covering your strawberry plants. Timing is an important consideration, as it affects the plants’ survivability and can impact yield.

Considering applying straw mulch? Anthony Mintenko, fruit crops specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, suggests considering these three factors:

  • Low temperatures over the next week: remember that forecasted temperatures are not ground-level temperatures; soil takes longer to cool down, keeping strawberry plant crowns warmer than the air temperature;
  • Take soil temperature measurements to determine if it’s in the 4 to 5 C range at the 4- to 5-inch soil depth;
  • Determine if plants are dormant: if it’s late fall with several nights in a row of freezing temperatures and cooler daytime temperatures, plants are likely dormant or very close to being dormant. Leaves will sometime stay green or change colour to red or yellow.

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