Preparing strawberries for wintering
Strawberries are cultivated in all regions where weather conditions allow. Considering that winters in temperate climates are cold, sometimes snowless with severe frosts, the culture requires special preparation for wintering to protect the bushes from freezing. Therefore, the article will consider the features of preparing different types of strawberries for winter, depending on the growing region, and additional autumn procedures to increase the level of resistance of bushes to adverse conditions.
When to start preparing for winter by region
It is necessary to begin the procedures for preparing strawberry plantations for wintering in the fall, but the specific periods of the events will vary depending on the growing region.
Did you know? The largest strawberry in the world, which was entered in the Guinness Book of Records, was grown by Japanese farmer Koji Nakao in 2015, the weight of the berry was 250 g.
In outskirts of Moscow
In the temperate climate of the Moscow Region, autumn is longer, therefore, they begin to cut strawberries completely in the middle of August. If you do not have time to prune, in the next season the garden plantation will be severely affected by pests that hide under dense foliage in the winter and winter, they begin to multiply actively.
In the Urals
The northern cold climate, which is established in the Urals, is characterized by a short summer, therefore, crop leaf pruning is not performed, since flower buds on a mowed plant under unfavorable conditions are very poorly laid, which greatly reduces the yield and overall development of young seedlings.
The Siberian climate is very similar to the Ural climate, however, complete removal of the leaves is not recommended, you can only partially remove the lower old dry leaves, which can be a source of reproduction of pests. Also in August, it is recommended to prune old flower stalks, remove the old litter - mulch, which is a hotbed of gray rot spores.
In the Leningrad region
To start preparing a strawberry plantation for winter in the middle lane, which also includes the Leningrad region, is necessary at the end of August. At this time, complete removal of the old tops is also carried out, which prevents the freezing of pests and fungal spores.
Features of preparing for winter different types of strawberries
Depending on the type of bushes grown on the site, their preparation for winter will differ not only in timing, but also in the features of the events. This is due to different periods of fruiting and flowering of plants, which do not coincide in the remontant and ordinary strawberries. Consider the basic nuances of the life cycle of each type of strawberry, so that it is easier to understand the intricacies of preparing bushes for wintering.
Learn how to protect strawberries from frost.
After a full range of activities related to pruning, fertilizing and processing bushes from pests, the time comes to prepare the culture for the cold. Plants tolerate snowy winters well, but there are cases of prolonged absence of snow cover and severe frosts in certain areas, so the bushes should additionally be covered with plant mulch. The best material as mulch is lapnik, which does not block the access of oxygen to the roots of the plant, but at the same time it protects well from sudden changes in temperature.
If you couldn’t get enough lapnik to cover the plantation, you can use other materials for this purpose in the form of compost, humus or straw. A little more effort needs to be made if you plan to build a shelter, installing low arcuate supports on all sides, covered with a spanbond.
Important! You should start warming ordinary strawberry varieties only after setting a low temperature on the street so that under a layer of mulch the strawberry does not block.
Varieties of repair strawberries are more demanding to care and need more attention than usual. Particularly attentive to the insulation of the plantation for the winter, since the future harvest depends on the correctness of the procedure. Overwinter the berry is sent after enough soil is saturated with moisture.
Another feature of the varieties of this berry is the partial death of bushes, which this year gave abundant crops and were overloaded with fruits . Therefore, to maintain the beds in good condition, it is necessary to fill the voids formed with young seedlings. Planting new strawberry bushes should be in August, so that they are well received before the first frost. Removable strawberries before stable frosts carry out the removal of peduncles so that they do not freeze, which very badly affects the condition of the whole plant. Like ordinary varieties, the repair strawberry takes shelter for the winter with spruce branches, straw.
Key Strawberry Care Activities in the Fall
Care for strawberries in the autumn is the main step before preparing the bushes for wintering, so the quality of its conduct directly affects the viability of plants in the next season. Therefore, we consider what to do with the bushes and how to properly care for the plantation in the fall in order to keep it in good condition until the next season.
Read also our e-magazine on strawberry cultivation.
In accordance with the selected dates of strawberry pruning for the winter, which depend on the growing regions, the procedure consists in postponing until the fruiting of the plant is complete. In order to prune without harm to the plant, choose a dry, sunny day, so the slices dry out faster .
The pruning technology at first glance is quite simple, but in order not to hurt the growth point, you must follow some recommendations:
- For pruning, sharp garden shears or a thin pruner are chosen so as not to severely injure the plant.
- On each bush, manually, leaf plates should be removed, carefully separating them with the tool from the stems.
- Stalks do not need to be cut, as you can damage the growth point, and the bushes will not be able to actively grow young leaves.
- In addition to the leaves, all antennae are completely removed, dried fruits and peduncles, cutting them off at the very base of the growth point.
- Do not throw cut off plant residues in the garden; it is better to collect them in a compost heap or burn them.
Find out if you need to prune strawberries after harvest.
Loosening and weeding
Loosening is a necessary manipulation for strawberries, which is carried out about 6 times per season to give oxygen free access to the roots. The last procedure for loosening strawberry beds falls during the preparation of the plantation for winter.
Cultivation is often combined with weeding in order to remove weed vegetation from the aisles . The space between the bushes is usually small, so weeding is replaced by manual removal of weeds. If there is a risk of root injury when pulling large weeds from the bush, they are simply regularly cut with a sharp knife under the root.
Consider how to properly weed and loosen the soil in the complex:
- For weeding and loosening row-spacings, a wide hoe is chosen, the depth of immersion of the blade in the soil is from 8 to 10 cm. The rows are loosened to a depth of 7 cm, and the areas around the bushes are no more than 3 cm in depth.
- In parallel, small weeds are pulled out of the bush, carefully so as not to injure the roots.
- After weeding, the soil can be further loosened with a rake in order to break the breasts formed from the weeding of the earth.
Watering after harvest
The root system of strawberries is located in the upper layer of the soil, so it is not possible to extract moisture from deep strata, and regular irrigation should be carried out manually. In early autumn, the crop is laid for the next season, so plants need nutritious moisture. The first watering in autumn is carried out after the end of fruiting - in September, and the last (moisture-charging) - in October, before mulching.
Basic rules for watering bushes:
- The procedure is best done in the morning, so that until the evening the roots are well saturated with moisture, and the soil is slightly dried up;
- Abundant watering is the key to good growth and fruiting, about 10 liters of water are used per 1 m².
- Water is poured directly under each bush so that the superficially located roots receive a sufficient amount of moisture.
- For irrigation use water at room temperature, not less than + 18 ° C.
- Watering the bushes should be by sprinkling or using a drip system, manual watering is possible only on small beds, as it is considered a rather time-consuming process.
Strawberry dressing after fruiting
Autumn top dressing, which is carried out after the end of fruiting, allows you to nourish the plant with useful substances, restore strength after a long productive season and normally winter. At this time, complex mineral fertilizers are usually applied, alternating with organics for better absorption of nutrients by the bushes.
The technology of fertilizing the beds consists of the following steps:
- Initially, organic matter in the form of humus, horse manure or mullein is laid out on the territory of the garden in about September, so that the remaining planned irrigation and rain gradually erode the fertilizers, and they get into the soil.
- If you are late with the introduction of organics, you can, before mulching, for a faster effect, add chicken manure solution to the soil, dissolving 1 part of the fertilizer in 20 parts of water, pouring 1 liter of mixture under each bush.
- 3 weeks after top dressing with organic matter, complex mineral fertilizers of the Kemira Autumn type, superphosphate or nitrophosphate are applied to the wet (pre-well-watered) soil during weeding.
Important! It is worth considering the recommended dosage of purchased mineral fertilizers for the autumn period, so that instead of dipping into sleep, strawberries do not begin to actively grow leaves from overfeeding with nutrients.
Disease and Pest Treatment
Handling strawberry plantings after fruiting is necessary to prevent the development of spores and fungi during wet cool weather and to protect bushes from pests that settle inside for a safe wintering.
For treatment, it is recommended to use complex preparations in the form of "Actellica", in a concentration of 20 ml of the drug per 10 liters of water. It is necessary to carry out processing by spraying the product over the entire area of planting, paying particular attention to strawberry bushes. The funds should be enough for 3-5 m² of landings.
The interval between the first and second spring processing of strawberries should be at least 3 weeks . For the prevention of diseases, spraying with the Fitosporin preparation is carried out, which not only protects the bushes from rot and fungus, but also improves yield indicators. The tool is prepared as follows: mix 1 tbsp. l preparation with 10 l of pure water, using this amount per 2 m² of plantings.
It is necessary to cover strawberry plantings completely, without highlighting any more winter-hardy varieties, all bushes without exception should be wrapped in a layer of mulch. It is necessary to start sheltering of landings as soon as the air temperature drops to 0 ... –1 ° С at night and does not rise above + 5 ° С during the day. If the frost overtakes suddenly, it is necessary to provide shelter in the shortest possible time. Depending on the chosen covering material, the technology for warming the bushes is slightly different.
Did you know? Strawberries are grown on almost all continents except Antarctica and Australia, more than 70 countries export berries, and in the world they produce about 8 million tons annually.
If you shelter the bushes with needles, first planting should be mulched with a thick layer of humus or leaves (up to 3 cm), and only then pour needles on top to avoid excessive soil oxidation. Such a shelter can protect strawberries even when the temperature drops to –25 ° С in the complete absence of snow cover.
You can insulate strawberries with a special non-woven covering material - agrotex, with a density of 60 g / m². Such a heater is capable of transmitting oxygen, light and moisture, can mitigate temperature fluctuations and protects plantings from rodents.
To warm strawberries with agrotex, it is necessary to erect supports in the form of arcs, on which the material itself is pulled. Such a method of warming strawberries allows you to maintain positive temperature under the agrotex almost throughout the winter, so the soil does not freeze. Constructions are usually made in the form of low tunnels, covering each row of strawberries separately. Agrotex can effectively insulate small strawberry plantations; mulching is used to warm large plantations.
Experienced gardeners have compiled a basic list of recommendations for preparing strawberries for wintering, which will help novice gardeners avoid common mistakes in caring for strawberry plantations:
- Before mulching or arranging shelter for strawberries, each bush should be spudded to preserve exposed roots from freezing and to protect plants from freezing of the root system.
- Empirically, you can solve the problem of the need for complete removal of leaves for the winter: the plot is conditionally divided into 2 parts: the leaves are removed in 1 part, and left in 2. In summer, they monitor the yield of both parts of the plantation, on which the crop is better and better - this method of preparing strawberries for winter should be used in the future.
- To get the maximum yield of quality berries, purchase varieties in accordance with the recommended growing region, zoned strawberries winters well and gives a plentiful harvest.
- When fertilizing, discard chlorine-containing fertilizers, they negatively affect the growth of bushes and the quality of fruiting.
- Plantation mulching is also carried out during the period of active growth of young shoots. The protective layer allows not only to retain enough moisture in the soil, but also prevents the growth of weed vegetation, and also protects the roots of the plant from pests that are on the surface.
- It is forbidden to transplant bushes after freezing the soil, it is better to postpone the procedure to the next season. If you neglect the recommendations, young seedlings may not survive the winter, but even if you keep the roots alive, the fruiting quality will be significantly reduced.
- After the first heavy snowfall, you should throw the maximum amount of snow on the strawberry bed - such a shelter is considered the best protection against freezing.
Thus, sheltering strawberries for the winter should be carried out in conjunction with other autumn procedures for caring for plants so that they normally remain until the next season.