Our grandmothers, growing strawberries, or strawberries, as we used to call it, were not particularly worried about mulching. But today, this agricultural practice has become the main one in achieving high quality berries and reducing crop losses. Someone may say that this is troublesome. But practice shows that labor costs in this case pay off handsomely. In this article we offer you to get acquainted with the nine best materials for mulching beds with garden strawberries.9 best materials for mulching strawberry garden
When and how to mulch strawberries?
Mulching is the coating of the soil surface with organic and inorganic materials. Mulch is the preservation of moisture, and the method of weed control, and fertilizer, and screening against a number of pests, and protecting the berry from contact with moist soil. There are more pluses than minuses. Therefore, if you have not yet mulched garden strawberries, you should probably write this technique in your immediate plans.
The terms for mulching strawberry garden in different regions come at different times. For this reason, the guideline for this agricultural admission is not a calendar, but the state of the beds. It is necessary to start spring-summer mulching when an ovary has appeared on the bushes. In the southern regions - this is the end of spring, to the north - the beginning of summer.
Before mulching, you need to remove the weeds, slightly loosen the beds, water and fertilize.
Do not apply strawberry mulching only with the continuous planting method. In this embodiment, the culture grows with a continuous carpet and it simply is not possible to mulch it. Harvest by total weight from such plantations is not much different from growing in rows, due to the larger arrangement of bushes on the same area. But the mass of one berry during continuous plantings is much less - the berries are smaller, and the time for harvesting is longer.
Therefore, the continuous planting method has almost left our gardens today and is a thing of the past. And strawberries have become an ennobled culture and one of the signs of such a "nobility" is the method of growing it, including mulching.
The most common method of mulching strawberry garden today is the film and non-woven fabric (spandbond, etc.). But besides them, straw, grass, sawdust, needles, peat, compost, humus are no less in demand - it all depends on the composition of the soil, desire and capabilities.
In general, the mulch is divided into inorganic and organic, as well as dark and light. Mulch of inorganic origin includes PVC film and spandbond (agrotex, agril, etc.). Mulch of organic origin refers to any kind of organic.
Sometimes these two types of mulch are used together. For example, a black film and straw. The first as the main mulching material, contributing to the early heating of the beds in the spring. The second - as an addition to the heat season, reflecting, due to the light color, the sun's rays, which somewhat reduces the temperature under the film.
Thanks to the long-standing practice of mulching, today for each type of mulch its own characteristics are revealed, based on which you can determine in advance whether it is suitable in your case or not. And to avoid the mistakes made by other gardeners.
What is the best mulch for strawberry garden, no one can answer, since it all depends on the area of cultivation of the crop, the type of soil, and sometimes on the variety of berries. And "your" can often be found only by experiment. For me it became peat, slightly acidifying our neutral soil (which strawberries love).
Each type of mulch has its advantages and disadvantages. However, choosing what to use on your beds, you need to focus not only on them, but also on the availability of material.
The layer of mulch is quite high, and many are worried about how to spread it. Everything is simple: the mulching material is laid around the bushes and on the empty place of the beds, without falling asleep in the heart (apical bud), that is, with a slight margin from the plants.
Next, read about the 9 best organic and synthetic materials for mulching strawberry beds.
1. Mulching strawberries with a black film
One of the most common methods for mulching strawberry beds is black film.Mulching strawberries with a black film.
Benefits of use:
- retains moisture well
- inhibits weed growth
- smoothes out temperature differences during the off-season,
- protects the berry from contact with the ground,
- prevents the mustache from taking root;
- if you choose the right thickness, it shows the durability of use;
- increases the temperature of the soil by 1.5 ... 2 ° C.
When choosing a black film for mulching strawberry beds, you need to pay attention to its thickness was 30 microns. The service life of such a canvas will be 3 years.
Mulching strawberries with a garden black film has its own limitations. Under the black film, it is necessary to properly organize ridges or boxes and lay drip irrigation, which is quite laborious. And also, due to the fact that the film "does not breathe", the soil under it overheats in the summer, which is bad for the southern regions. The film also accumulates excess moisture, which contributes to the reproduction of woodlice, slugs and fungal diseases, and in some cases, the root rot.
2. Mulching strawberry beds with a spanbond
No less popular today is mulching with spanbond - agrofibre, agil, lutrasil.Mulching strawberry beds with a spanbond
Benefits of use:
- spandbond, like a black film, does not transmit light, which holds the growth of weeds,
- delays evaporation of soil moisture, which saves on irrigation water,
- maintains the temperature regime of the soil during spring and autumn temperature jumps,
- unlike film, spanbond can be irrigated,
- agrofibre "breathes".
For details on what happens to spanbond, read the article Agrofibre - what happens and how to choose the right one?
Cons of use Spunbond for mulching strawberries:
- in the southern regions the land under the spandbond may overheat,
- In areas with high humidity, condensation may collect below the surface of the web, increasing the risk of developing fungal diseases.
It is better to choose a two-color spanbond for covering strawberry beds (one side is black, the other is light) with a fabric density of 60 g / sq.m. In this version, he is able to serve 3 years. In this case, the white surface will reflect the sun's rays, which will save the soil from overheating.
As a prophylaxis from root root warping, ventilation is sometimes practiced by lifting the sheet along the edges of the beds.
3. Mulching strawberries with garden straw
An attractive raw material for mulching is straw.Mulching strawberries with garden straw.
Pros of straw like mulch for strawberries:
- simple enough to purchase,
- is an organic material
- good water permeability
- inhibits soil evaporation,
- reflects the sun
- protects berries from contact with the ground.
There are also minuses. Straw bales are difficult to disassemble due to their strong compaction. The stalks of straw are quite long - they are not so easy to lay, and sometimes, to mulch the soil under the low bushes of wild strawberries, they have to be cut with scissors. If the straw is not put tight enough, weeds sprout through it. And yet - decomposing, the straw acidifies the soil, for this reason you need to be careful with it on acidic soils.
The same pros and cons are waiting for the gardener and with mulching strawberry beds with hay. But there are more weed seeds in the hay than in the straw.
Read about the interesting experience of using straw as mulch on beds in article 4 of the type of mulch on my plot - the pros and cons of using it.
4. Mulching strawberries with garden coniferous litter
You can mulch strawberries and coniferous litter.Mulching strawberries with garden coniferous litter.
- good water permeability
- inhibits moisture evaporation
- protects the berry from pests, in particular snails and slugs,
- disinfects the soil
- inhibits the development of gray rot.
Minuses. Such a mulch is rather heterogeneous - it contains not only coniferous needles, but also small twigs, the remains of cones. It is not easy to dial in the right amount. Uncomfortable to stack, due to barbs. With regular use, decaying coniferous litter acidifies the soil. For this reason, on acidic soils, it must be introduced by mixing with ash. Or once a few years to deoxidize the soil.
Read more about the use of coniferous litter in the article How to use needles in the garden?
5. Mulching strawberries with sawdust
Sawdust is considered by many to be the most successful material for mulching strawberries.Mulching strawberries with sawdust
Benefits of use:
- it’s easy to work with them: they lie in an even layer,
- look beautiful on the garden
- perfectly reflect (which is especially important for the southern regions) the sun's rays,
- retain moisture well
- better than grass, hay or straw, inhibit weed growth,
- complicate the movement of snails and slugs,
- improve soil structure.
Minuses. Decomposed, sawdust absorb nitrogen. For this reason, for mulching, it is necessary to use either already old, stale sawdust, or add nitrogen before using them.
In addition, sawdust acidifies the soil, which is not scary on alkaline and neutral soils, since strawberries love slightly acidified soil, but badly on acidic ones. In this case, before using sawdust, they must be mixed with ash, dolomite flour or lime.
To prepare the sawdust for mulching, it is necessary to spill them with a urea solution or mix with manure or chicken droppings. On acidic soils, 100 g of lime is added to the sawdust bucket.
6. Mulching strawberries with garden chips
If there is sufficient wood chips, it can be mulched with strawberries.Mulching strawberries with garden chips.
pros. Like all mulching materials, woodchips do well in controlling weed growth. Protects the earth from weathering, the berry - from contact with the ground. Looks beautiful on the beds.
Minuses. Acidifies the soil. The earth under the chips dries faster, in comparison with other mulching materials, compacted. And this is already bad, since the basal layer on the strawberry bed should not only be loose, but also moderately moist. At the end of the season, removing such a mulch is quite problematic.
7. Mulching strawberry beds with grass, weeds, plant debris
You can use mowed grass, weeds, plant debris as mulch.Mulching strawberry beds with grass, weeds, plant debris.
pros. Such a mulch gets for free. Convenient in layout. It retains soil moisture well. Rotting, grass feeds the earth, and laid in a thick layer - inhibits the growth of weeds.
Grass cutting before use as a mulch is better to “fade” in the shade.
Minuses. Laid out immediately with a thick layer, in the rains, such a mulch is easily compressed and decays. Therefore, it is necessary to spread the grass section and plant residues gradually, adding in small layers, with a certain periodicity. Since drying fresh grass, weeds and plant debris are greatly reduced in volume, they need to be added constantly.
Laying out weed grass under strawberry bushes, it is better to initially remove inflorescences and seeds from them.
8. Mulching strawberries with compost, humus
You can mulch strawberry beds with compost or humus.Mulching strawberries with compost.
pros. They retain moisture well. Restrain weed growth. They feed the beds. They are an excellent fertilizer. Prevent the development of pathogens. Improve the structure of the soil.
Minuses. Dark color raises soil temperature. Improperly prepared compost and humus can become sources of weeds and diseases. During the summer, such a mulch needs periodic bedding.
9. Mulching strawberries with garden peat
Another mulching material is peat. But here it is important to understand that peat is of different acidity. The most harmless is neutral. Not very sour - lowland. But it is better to abstain from high peat, especially on acidic soils.Mulching strawberries with garden peat.
Read more about peat in the article Peat - what happens and how to use it?
pros. Peat is a pleasure to work with. It absorbs moisture well and inhibits its evaporation. It copes well with weeds. Peat-covered beds look elegant. Single weeds that break through peat can be easily removed. The topsoil remains loose.
Any mulch of organic origin is laid with a layer of 5-7 cm.
Minuses. Peat is highly hygroscopic, so when watering it is necessary to ensure that the ground under it is well wet. Not everywhere peat is equally available. Due to the dark color, it raises the temperature of the soil.