It's a 'Berry' Good Time To Clean Up the Strawberry Patch - Indiana Yard and Garden - Purdue Consumer Horticulture

It’s a ‘Berry’ Good Time To Clean Up the Strawberry Patch

The strawberry harvest may be over, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to forget the plants. Post-harvest care is an important part of keeping your patch healthy and productive. With yearly renovation, strawberry plants can remain productive for 10 years or longer.
 
Ideally, you should renovate the strawberry bed immediately following the last harvest. The work can still be done now, though it would be best to finish up before the end of July.
 
Removing the foliage helps keep diseases under control. Mow or trim off the leaves near the base of the plant, being careful not to injure the crown.
 
Giving the plants a little room to grow reduces the competition for water, light, and nutrients and also improves air circulation. Thin matted rows to 8-18 inches wide by tilling or hoeing the plants you want to remove. Within the row, thin plants to one every 6-8 inches, removing the older plants and leaving the younger, more vigorous ones.
 
During renovation is a good time to fertilize the patch. Apply a balanced garden fertilizer, such as 12-12-12, at a rate of 3-4 pounds per 100 feet of row. Place the fertilizer in bands alongside the crowns, scratch it into the soil with a rake and water the planting.
 
This is also a good time to get weeds under control. Hand pulling and shallow cultivation with a hoe or tiller will take care of most weed problems. Apply mulch after cultivation to prevent new weeds from getting started.
 
Continue to weed and water through the rest of the growing season. Flower buds for next year’s crop will begin to develop in mid- to late August, so this is a critical time to keep the plants healthy.

 


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