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When should I mulch my Strawberries? Its been cold but suppose to warm up in a few days to 40's-50's I believe I was told not to until they was for sure dormant.

big rockpile
 

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Still holding off mulching ours for now. We've had several good frosts but those plants sure are cold hardy! Still a healthy bright green for the most part with a few leaves beginning to redden a bit in color. From my notes/last year, I (zone 6/7 border) mulched them the 1st week of Dec. With cold weather moving in and more than likely here to stay, the rest of those leaves should be red in color in another week or two. That's my sign they're dormant and ready for straw.
 

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We did ours this week. Leaves still had some green, but the night temps with this latest Polar Blast are dipping into the teens, with tomorrow night calling for a record of 12.

My understanding is the plants can take to the mid 20's (this time of year) without harm, if you don't get wind with it too, which dries them out. But I'm not willing to try below 20.
 

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Yea, I pretty much agree with TnAndy. Soon as the lows dip to around 20 for a few nights then I put on straw about 2 or 3 inches thick over the entire bed. This year I finished covering on November 9th while we were getting a light dusting of snow and now it looks like all the snow we have is gonna stay awhile.
 

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I agree with the others--20 degrees is my cut-off. It also depends on what kind of snow fall there's been, since snow does a pretty good job of insulating by itself.

This year in Eastern Washington, the temps dropped dramatically long before we had any significant snow cover. We've had single-digit temps all week. I'm a little worried because this cold snap occurred to suddenly, and as a result the plants were fully upright, with some beds measuring about 12 inches high. So although I covered them with straw, I couldn't get a good, thick layer. The straw just sort of hung on the topmost branches with lots of gaps. I certainly didn't get a good solid layer like I have in the past when the plants had already gone semi-dormant and were closer to the ground.
 

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The rule of thumb is to measure the soil temperature. If it reads 40 degrees for three or four days in a row, that's the time to mulch.

Here in SW MI we gamble a bit and rely on snow cover to mulch for us. I'm not growing strawberries this year(due to the bum ankle), but I have, in the past, planted oats in August in between the rows. The oats will get pretty tall, then winterkill, then lay down over the berries to mulch them. So, it's oats and snow cover for me.

geo
 

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U of Mo experiments show mulched strawberries can produce up to 60% more berries! They recommend row cover which we've used but straw mulch seemed just as effective and we definitely got more berries with mulch. We're caught in the polar cold right now but our plants still green. Supposed to warm up at end of week and will get to mulching them.
 

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I always mulch after a couple frosts, thick then pull it back when soil warms in the spring, it keeps weeds down and keeps the soil loose. It also keeps the berries off the ground, keeping them from rotting, especially the early ones or if it rains a lot. I don't seem to have more slugs than when not mulched and I get a lot more berries on the mulched ones, both in raised beds and in the hilled strawberries, where it also makes a good place to walk without getting feet dirty. I also think it protects early buds, that when exposed, get pollinated and give me much earlier berries....James
 

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This year I first spaced the bales evenly, then spread the straw:

View attachment 40238
I've never mulched strawberries not over winter anyway, it probably never gets under 5 here but they do just fine with that, that picture.. so would not work for me, we have constant wind, all of that would be up against a fenceline in less than a week. any mulch has to be seriously held down in these parts.
 
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