What to Do with Strawberry Plants at End of Season?

As the end of the growing season approaches, it’s essential to prepare your strawberry plants for the colder months ahead. Proper care at the end of the season can ensure a bountiful harvest next year. While growing strawberries from seeds is possible, with the right care,your existing plants will bounce back year after year. Here’s what to do with strawberry plants at end of season…

  • Pruning: After the final harvest of fruit, prune your strawberry plants. Remove any dead or diseased leaves and stems. This helps to reduce the risk of disease and pest infestation.
  • Removing Mulch: If you’ve used straw mulch during the summer, remove it at the end of the season. This mulch can harbor pests and diseases over winter. Instead, compost it or dispose of it away from your garden.
  • Fertilizing: Before the first frost, feed your strawberry plants with a balanced fertilizer. This will help to promote new growth in the spring. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers, which can encourage leafy growth at the expense of fruit production.
  • Clearing Debris: Clear up any dead leaves and plants around your strawberries. This helps to prevent disease and pest infestation. It also keeps your garden tidy and ready for the next growing season.
  • Winter Mulching: After the first frost, mulch your strawberry plants. This helps to protect the roots from winter cold. Use straw or pine needles, which are light and won’t compact heavily on the plants.
strawberries in winter frost

Winterizing Strawberry Plants – Questions and Answers

Should I cut my strawberry plants back for winter?
Yes, cutting back your strawberry plants can help to reduce disease and pest problems. Leave about 1 inch of stem above the crown of the plant.

How do I save my strawberry plants for next year?
To save your strawberry plants for next year, prune them, remove old mulch, fertilize them, clear up debris, and apply winter mulch. Also, ensure they are well-watered before the ground freezes.

How do you winterize strawberries in raised beds?
The process is the same as for strawberries in the ground. However, because raised beds can freeze more quickly, it’s important to apply winter mulch before the first hard frost.

Do you completely cover strawberries for winter?
Yes, you should completely cover the plants with mulch. However, don’t cover them so heavily that air can’t circulate. About 4-6 inches of mulch should be sufficient.

What happens if you don’t cover strawberries?
If you don’t cover strawberries, they can be damaged by freezing temperatures. The plants may also dry out, which can lead to winter kill.

Can I keep strawberry runners for next year?
Yes, you can keep strawberry runners for next year. Simply pot them up and keep them in a protected area over winter. In the spring, you can plant them out in the garden.

What do dormant strawberry plants look like?
Dormant strawberry plants have brown, withered leaves. However, the crown of the plant should still be firm and healthy-looking. If the crown is soft or discolored, the plant may be dead.

Taking care of your strawberry plants at the end of the season can ensure a healthy and productive crop next year. With a little effort, you can enjoy delicious home-grown strawberries for years to come.

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