Preparing strawberries for winter
Remember, when you just got your summer cottage, you dreamed of planting strawberries first thing in order to harvest sweet and tasty berries every year? And so it happened, but from year to year the harvest became less and less. Why is this happening? Most likely this is due to improper care of the plants and, having the necessary knowledge, you can correct the situation. Preparing strawberries for winter plays an important role in the further development of the plant.
By taking a series of simple measures to prepare strawberries for winter, you will maintain the health of the strawberry plantation, maintain the nutritional value of the soil and ensure yourself a rich harvest for the next year.
Preparing strawberries for winter in autumn: feeding and fertilizing
Many people mistakenly believe that after harvesting, strawberries should be left alone until next year, since there is nothing more to expect from them. But this is completely wrong, since the plants need to recover and they cannot do without your help.
Strawberries need to be fertilized three times per season: in early summer before they bloom. Then at the end of fruiting. And the last time in September, in preparation for the winter period. What to fertilize - everyone decides for himself. Both organic and mineral supplements will do.
You can use bird droppings, mullein solution (you can add ash to it), but both of these fertilizers must be combined with abundant watering so as not to burn the plant root system. You can also pour nettle infusion over the strawberries.
Of mineral fertilizers, potassium salt, nitrophoska, superphosphate are suitable. These fertilizers are applied between the rows of strawberries for the same reason - so as not to burn the roots. Or use a special compound fertilizer that combines all the substances necessary for strawberries.
And remember that feeding in the fall, like preparing strawberries for winter, is no less important than at the beginning of summer, since it is she who will help the plants gain strength, health and winter.
Preparing strawberries for winter in the fall: watering rules
I repeat - after harvesting, you cannot forget about strawberries, you must continue to care for them, cutting off your mustache and be sure to water. Less moisture is required than during the ripening period of the berries. But it is imperative to water once a week (if the weather is dry).
Of course, this is a recommendation adjusted for weather conditions - if the end of summer and autumn turned out to be rainy, then you do not need to water the strawberries.
Pest and disease control
Take a close look at your strawberry plantation during the fall months. At this time, signs of disease or damage by harmful insects become clearly visible. So it's time to carry out the appropriate treatment of the bushes, without worrying about the berries.
First you need to weed and get rid of all the weeds. But this must be done very carefully so as not to damage the root system of the strawberry bushes. They may not recover until frost and then the plant will die.
After removing the weeds, treat the affected plants with a suitable product. It can be fungicides, insecticides or folk remedies, the main thing is that they help you cope with the problem.
When using chemicals, be sure to follow the instructions, work with gloves and thoroughly wash the equipment used.
Pruning strawberries in preparation for winter in fall
Preparing strawberries for winter: photo
Amateur gardeners have not decided what would be more correct - to cut the strawberry foliage for the winter or leave everything as it is.
Those who vote for full pruning to prepare strawberries for winter argue that old foliage and flower stalks are a breeding ground for diseases and pests. They must be removed, leaving no more than 5-6 cm of the stem.
And those who, in turn, oppose pruning, argue that the plant will throw all its efforts into growing new foliage and will not recover before wintering. This means that by next year you will find him either weakened or frozen.
Perhaps in this matter it is worth dwelling on the golden mean - carefully examine the bushes and cut off only diseased, withered or starting to dry leaves. This way, you will not only not weaken the plant by growing new foliage, but you will also help it - fur foliage protects the roots. This means that there is a greater chance that strawberries will winter comfortably.
And remember that pruning should be done with a sharp pruner, and plant waste should not be left in the beds.
Preparing strawberries for winter: photo
If enough snow falls, then frosts are not terrible for strawberries - snow is the most reliable shelter. But it so happens that frosts come before snowfalls. So it is imperative that you take care of additional shelter after you have done all the other procedures (fertilized, cured and pruned the plants).
If you mulched strawberries in the summer in order to retain moisture in the soil, now you will need to update the mulch. Any needles are ideal, since they prevent the development of diseases, harmful insects and mice do not like its smell, it does not stick together or rot from rains.
If possible, stock up on spruce branches or fallen needles. Fresh and thoroughly dried straw is also good.
After the first frost, you can additionally mulch not only the soil, but all the bushes as a whole. Strawberry bushes that have passed the first frost can be considered "hardened" - they tolerate wintering more easily.
As you can see, preparing strawberries for winter in the fall does not take much time and does not require a lot of effort. But thanks to you, the plants will recover in the fall, and in the spring, as soon as it gets warmer, active growth will begin, then flowering, and there it is not far before an unprecedented harvest.