A perennial plant, strawberries can provide juicy berries to the home garden for several years. They survive winter freezing but become susceptible to frost damage in spring. Frequent freeze and thaw cycles cause the strawberry plants to break dormancy, but then the tender new growth is damaged by the onset of the next freeze. Providing protection to the plants during these freeze cycles protects the new leaves and young flower buds, ensuring your plants survive to be productive another year.
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Things you need
- Straw mulch
- Cloth row cover
Remove winter mulch gradually in spring as the temperatures begin to warm. Place the straw to the side of the bed but don't leave it stacked in between the rows. Leaving the straw between the rows prevents the soil from warming up sufficiently.
Replace the straw over the plants if temperatures below 00 degrees Celsius are predicted. Cover the plants with 3 inches of straw.
Place a cloth row cover over the straw if temperatures are predicted to fall beneath 0-2.222 degrees Celsius or if wind is accompanying the freezing temperatures. Remove the cloth as soon as temperatures raise above freezing again.
Tips and warnings
- Commercial growers provide constant irrigation during a freeze to protect strawberry plants. This only work if the irrigation is not stopped until the last of the ice melts.
- Plastic row covers do not protect strawberry plants. Only use fabric row covers or old blankets.
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