It is natural that there is no gardener who does not have at least a few strawberry bushes on his garden plot. There are also those who whole "hundreds" occupy strawberry plantations and get good yields, however, they sometimes don’t know what to do with plants after the whole harvest, that is, until a single strawberry has been harvested. It turns out that during this period nothing can be allowed to drift and throw strawberry plants to their own devices. The end of fruiting is the most important period when the next year's crop begins to be actively laid and if the plant has enough - heat, moisture, nutrition and care, then next year the crop may be even higher than this year.Strawberry care after harvest.
Strawberry pineapple, or garden (Fragaria × ananassa) and its berries are often called strawberries, which is wrong from the point of view of the botanical nomenclature, but is universally accepted in everyday life. Using the word "strawberry" in this material, we mean strawberries.
Post-Harvest Strawberry Care Rules
So, we will tell you about what you need to do immediately after harvesting the entire crop from strawberry stands, and then we will analyze each stage as thoroughly as possible so that no black (unclear) spots remain.
The first stage is, of course, loosening the soil. Loosen the soil carefully, both in the aisles and under the bushes, being careful not to damage the fragile root system of strawberries and not to take out its roots to the surface. Loosening will provide soil ventilation, relieve soil crust, enhance air and water metabolism, respectively, plants will begin to receive more nutrition and moisture from the same unit of area, grow normally, develop and lay enough generative buds to ensure a high strawberry crop.
When loosening the soil around the strawberry bushes, try to bite them a little at the same time with fresh and nutritious soil, especially if you notice that one or more roots are bare.
The second important event, which can be carried out literally on the list, is weeding the beds, that is, the removal of all weed vegetation, especially wheat grass. The wheat grass is extremely tenacious and consumes a lot of moisture and nutrients from the soil. It is better not to pull it out of the ground, but literally pull it out with your hands, then, perhaps, its further growth will be greatly slowed down.
Do not lose sight of other weeds, because they are the same competitors, and therefore must be removed. It is best to remove the weeds after watering or good rain, then the roots of the weeds are mostly and much easier to pull out of the soil.
The beds need to be kept moist, only try to pour moisture under the bushes in the evening. It is better not to pour water on the leaves at noon - sunburn may occur. Naturally, you need to water strawberries based on the weather outside the window, for example, if it is raining and the soil is already saturated with moisture, then additional watering is not necessary at all, it is much more appropriate to loosen the soil, and maybe even tear off a couple of lower leaves from those , which are literally nailed to the ground to enhance the evaporation of moisture and prevent rot from forming.
If the weather is dry and there is not even a hint of rain, then watering is necessary. When watering, it is best to use settled water or rainwater, soak the soil to a depth of at least 5-6 cm so that the roots are saturated with moisture. Overmoistening the soil is also impossible, but overdrying soil will be detrimental to plants.Drip irrigation of strawberries.
If you are a resident of a summer cottage where you visit only on weekends, then you can design a simple drip irrigation system. To do this, take a barrel of 200 liters, set it on a small elevation, under the stream of rain from the roof, make a couple of holes in the base of the barrel (according to the number of rows in the bed) for special tubes - droppers and spread along the beds with strawberries. Moisture flowing through droppers will moisten the soil in your absence, where it is needed.
If with the installation of droppers you do not want to "bother", then you can simply mulch the soil after each watering, a layer of a couple of centimeters. As strawberry mulch, you can use straw, sawdust, humus or just dry soil. For several days, such a mulch to save moisture in the soil will be enough.
In the event that after harvesting the strawberries in the garden, a layer of old mulch, say, straw that you laid out in order to keep the berry clean and protect it from the appearance of fruit rot, remains on the plot, it is necessary to remove and burn this mulch as carefully as possible there is no need, since harmful microorganisms can accumulate in it.
Removing old leaves
The next stage: as you know, the leaf blades of strawberries, after serving them two years, begin to age, so you can safely remove them. They do this in every way: they comb it with a rake, mow it and even cut it out manually. There is no clear guide to such actions, but do not forget that when removing old, discolored strawberry leaf blades, it is important not to damage the growth points. Given this, two methods are considered the most sparing - raking old leaves with a rake (they can be easily separated) and removing them manually.
Strawberry top dressing
This stage can be combined: the removal of old leaf blades can be combined with plant nutrition. After reproducing the offspring, the strawberry plants are pretty much depleted, and there is a long winter ahead and a short period for which you need to have time to lay flower buds again to give a good harvest for the next year.
If there is little nutrition in the soil, this can negatively affect immunity: it will weaken and plants may freeze in the winter and at the stage of growth activity, so the bushes will lay the minimum number of flower buds.Cleaning strawberry bushes from old leaves
What to feed garden strawberries after harvest?
The introduction of one element to maintain the optimal balance of nutrients in the soil will be clearly not enough. Moreover, we strongly recommend that you add all the elements in a form dissolved in water so that they arrive at the roots as soon as possible and, accordingly, into the plant.
During this period, it is best to use potassium sulfate (not chloride) dissolved in water, ammonium nitrate and superphosphate. Potassium sulfate, in terms of a square meter of soil previously diluted in a bucket of water, needs 15-18 grams (this is per liter per square meter), ammonium nitrate - the same amount per area, but superphosphate needs 45-50 grams, also in the same amount of water dissolved in a bucket, and in the same amount per square meter of beds with garden strawberries.
In addition to the application of liquid mineral fertilizers, after about a week, under each bush, 50-70 g of wood ash can be sprinkled in soil previously loosened and watered with water, although there is not much potassium in wood ash, only 5-6%, but there are many other mineral substances (trace elements).
In the absence of wood ash under the bushes of strawberries, you can sprinkle a handful of compost, there will be nothing wrong with that. Somehow I got an advice that at that time under a strawberry garden they poured a handful of dried manure, tried on a couple of plants, they dried after me, so this advice is at your own peril and risk.
As for wood ash, it can be sprinkled not only under each bush, but also scattered in the aisles, previously loosened and weeded, spending two kilograms per square meter. Some write that it helps from the bear, I doubt it, but that’s what enriches the soil with potassium and microelements - this is a fact.
Probably, it will be superfluous to say that, when doing all these operations, you leave plant debris and old foliage on the plantation, you certainly shouldn’t do this, absolutely all rubbish from the site must be removed and burned: diseases, pests and various pathogens.Soil cultivation and hilling of strawberry bushes.
Strawberry protection against diseases and pests
The next important stage, which for some reason is neglected by many, is the preventive and eradicating treatment of plantings of wild strawberries after fruiting, both from pests and diseases. As soon as all the berries have been removed, carefully inspect the plants for pests or signs of various diseases.
Diseases, contrary to popular belief, there are quite a lot of garden strawberries. Take at least powdery mildew. Its first signs of manifestation are observed in the form of a grayish coating on the leaf blades of strawberries, in the future these leaflets begin to rot, and of course, they fall off, previously twisting.
At the first sign of a disease, when the entire strawberry crop has already been harvested, the plants generously - above and below need to be treated with a solution of colloidal sulfur, for which you need to dilute 100 grams of colloidal sulfur in a bucket of room temperature water, mix well, season the spray bottle and treat the plants, wetting surface.
Gray rot also harms garden strawberries. Usually clearly visible gray spots are visible on the berries and in some places such berries still hang, pickers simply ignore them. You can’t do this. First, you need to collect all the affected strawberries and destroy them by burning: these are foci of infection; and after - treat all plants and especially carefully those where the diseased berries were found, with a solution of copper oxychloride, in an amount of 45 g per bucket of water. Moisten with a solution the whole aerial part of the diseased plants.
Another rot that few people distinguish from gray is black rot, it can be distinguished by the spots on the berries, they have exactly black color, although the action itself and treatment methods are exactly the same as gray rot.
We go further: spotting, usually spotting affects the leaf blades of strawberries, and brown-red spots appear on them. You can’t drag it out, the disease can spread quickly to healthy plants and capture most of the plantation. Outwardly, it seems that this is nonsense, well, think of it — spots, in fact, these spots lead to disruptions in the photosynthetic apparatus and, against this background, inhibit the overall development of the plant.
Of course, to a large extent this will not affect the laying of the strawberry crop of the next year, but spotting must still be fought. In this case, treatment with a solution of copper oxychloride effectively helps, it must be diluted in a concentration of 50 g per bucket of water and this solution should be used to treat diseased plants of garden strawberries.
By the way, newcomers quite often confuse outdated and reddish foliage with affected spotting. Firmly remember that you just need to clean the old foliage, it does not need any additional treatments.
We smoothly move from diseases to pests - at a time when garden strawberry has given up the entire crop, it also needs protection from pests. At this time, strawberries are attacked by a strawberry weevil, a strawberry tick and a spider mite.
Strawberry weevil usually eats leaf blades; at earlier stages of plant development, it can also affect buds. In order to get rid of strawberry weevil, plants need to be treated with permitted insecticides such as karbofos, spending 70-80 g of the drug per bucket of water. When processing, you need to thoroughly moisten the top and bottom of strawberry leaves and treat the soil as well.
An even smaller insect is the strawberry tick. To understand that it was he who struck the strawberry plantations, it is possible by slightly deformed foliage, which changed its color to yellow. The control measures are the same as in the case of the weevil.
To find a spider mite on strawberry plants is quite simple: if you turn the leaf over, you will see a spider web from below, this is a trace of the activity of the spider mite.
After you notice a spider mite on strawberries, which sucks the juice from the leaf blades and greatly inhibits the development of the plant, reducing its immunity, it is necessary to treat the plants with any permitted acaricide, and if the strawberry plants are severely affected, it is better to remove them and burn them outside the site.Mulching strawberry plantings.
Replacing old strawberry bushes
So, we have already said a lot about what needs to be done after the strawberries have been fruitless, but far from all, there are still secrets, and we will tell you about them right now.
For example, do you know that the full fruiting of garden strawberries lasts only four years, but on sufficiently moist, nutritious soil it can last even five years, after which, alas, it fades away without a trace, and it is better to renew the plantation? Now know!
Therefore, as soon as you have harvested the fifth, full-fledged crop, the strawberry plantation will need to be replaced with a new one. Around the end of July, all old and drying leaves of strawberries should be cut, removed, from the shoots and shoots to leave only the very base of the bush with a height of about 2-3 cm.
All that is cut off must be removed and burned from the site. This procedure is cruel, however, already this fall it will allow plants to form a new leaf mass and lay flower-bearing buds, that is, the guarantee of the next year's harvest.
What to do with strawberry mustache?
When the processes are removed, there are a lot of them and it is really a pity to destroy them. Given this, if you have enough free space, then the remaining processes, choosing from them the strongest and most well-developed and healthy, should be transplanted to newly laid beds. All other mustaches must be removed, otherwise they will simply draw moisture and additional substances onto themselves to the detriment of the formation of the generative sphere of plants.
Strawberry mustache should be cut off anyhow, for this a garden knife is usually taken and the mustache is removed as close to the soil surface as possible. In no case do not pull the shoot out, so you almost always pull out part of the root, and it can dry out, and therefore the whole plant will die.Rejuvenating strawberry plantings with mustache layers.
Preparing strawberries for the winter
You should not ignore the preparation of strawberries for the winter, this is a significant part of the guarantee of a good harvest for the next year. If there is enough moisture in the soil, then you do not need to water the plants in late autumn, if not enough, then around the end of October you can pour a couple of buckets of water per square meter of soil.
Once again carefully inspect the plants, especially after watering, if you notice that the root system is sticking out in some places, then be sure to dig it with moist and nutritious soil. At the onset of the first steady frosts, it is necessary to cover with spruce spruce branches to keep snow in the area of the bed with strawberries, it is not such a reliable protection from the cold, but it delays the snow in the area just perfectly.
But for the winter, many do not recommend using straw as a covering material for strawberries, usually mice are planted there, so if you have a lot of straw and nowhere to put it, then at the same time put the poisoned bait out to protect yourself from mice.
Well, that’s all we wanted to tell you. If you have questions or tips, then write about them in the comments, we will gladly answer questions and take advantage of the tips!