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Winter strawberries - So the plants come through the cold season unscathed

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Since strawberries are perennial plants, they must be wintered properly over the cold season. Find out here how you can do it successfully.

© Marina / stock.adobe.com

Garden fruit and vegetables are not only delicious, but also healthy. In addition to tomatoes, strawberries are particularly popular in home gardens. Since the latter belong to the perennial plant varieties, the question arises, especially towards the end of summer, which measures have to be taken for wintering. The naturally hardy properties of strawberries make the wintering process much easier. Nevertheless, the fine roots that run directly below the surface of the earth are strongly at risk of frost, which is why you should consider the following aspects when wintering strawberries.

Prepare for wintering in good time

In the case of strawberries, flowers start to bloom in autumn, so the yield in the coming year depends on the type of wintering. With these measures, you can promote the renewed expulsion in spring:

➞ Remove leaves:

Drought leaves deprive strawberry plants of valuable energy, which is why you should carefully remove them with pruning shears. Foothills of the plant can be recognized by the fact that the shoots take root again in another place. You must also cut them off. This makes the plant more compact and can concentrate its full energy on the actual wintering. When removing the foliage, you should be careful not to injure the heart of the plant.

For annual strawberry plants, the cut must be made by mid to late July at the latest, so that there is enough time before winter to form new leaves and flowers. The vegetation period is too short for two-year strawberry plants, so that thinning out of these specimens would have a negative effect on the formation of leaves and flowers. Therefore, these plant varieties can no longer be processed. For this reason, young strawberries should also be planted no later than mid-August.

Checklist for thinning strawberry plants:

  • Carefully remove dry leaves and runners with a pair of secateurs without damaging the heart of the plant
  • Pruning for annual strawberry plants must be done by mid to late July at the latest
  • a cut is not recommended for two-year-old plants
  • young strawberries should be planted no later than mid-August

➞ Loosen the soil:

To protect against frost, the soil can then be loosened up a bit. For this, enrichment with sand or an organic fertilizer is recommended. This also promotes the growth of the plant in the following year. In addition, you should regularly check all strawberry plants for pests and pathogens in both summer and winter. Always keep an eye out for mold on strawberries.

Wintering: The location is crucial

How carefree wintering actually goes is influenced, among other things, by the location of the strawberries. Basically, growing is possible both in the pot and in the open bed. Depending on the variant, various considerations must be made with regard to wintering:

Wintering in the potWintering outdoors
• Relocation possible without any problems• no change of location possible after planting
• Ideal on the balcony near a house wall, as there is weather-related protection and it is warmer overall• no additional protection from the surrounding pot
• If necessary, covering with straw and / or brushwood is possible• Choose a place that is protected from the wind
• Due to the hardy properties of strawberries, wintering should always take place outdoors• Bark mulch, straw, brushwood and fleece are possible as covers
• Do not water too much, as waterlogging in frost could have devastating consequences for the survival of the plant• Occasional watering is necessary on frost-free days

What should be considered when covering winter?

Covering strawberry plants during the cold season provides additional protection against weather-related influences such as moisture and frost. Especially in the open-air bed, strawberries are almost unprotected from the weather. A first layer of bark mulch provides the fine roots with an isolating effect against the weather. Depending on the location, a further layer of straw and / or brushwood is recommended. Simply lay this out between the plants. The strawberries are covered, so to speak, but not completely covered.

© EduardSV / stock.adobe.com

Alternatively, you can put a special garden fleece over the strawberries. However, you must pay attention to its excellent breathability, because good air circulation is essential to effectively prevent the development of fungi and rot. Covering with plastic films of any kind is therefore strongly discouraged, since no air circulation can take place here. A disease of the plants is difficult to avoid in this case.

How long are strawberry plants covered?

In fact, it is often difficult to estimate the point at which strawberries can go without a cover. Late frost, which can cause irreparable damage to strawberries, proves to be almost the greatest challenge. The cover should therefore be maintained until frost is no longer to be expected. As a guideline, the month of March and possibly April are also used. Strawberry plants should also not be covered for too long, since the insulation on warmer days favors the development of rotting and diseases of the perspiring plant.

Even in winter, strawberry plants should be watered on frost-free days. Part of the water eventually evaporates directly on the surface of the plants, which ensures the supply of valuable nutrients. However, care must be taken to ensure that no irrigation water builds up in the ground, as the roots would suffer irreparable damage if the water freezes.

Conclusion:

Basically, every winter turns out to be a stress test for plants outdoors. With thorough preparation in autumn and a careful selection of insulating materials, there is a good chance that all strawberry plants will survive the cold season unscathed.

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