Strawberry plants are shallow-rooting plants. Most root systems for strawberry plants grow less than a foot deep. That means that it's important to protect those roots with a layer of mulch. This reduces the risk of drying out, ensures a more consistent growing environment and helps you boost fruit production. Here are a few types of mulch you can consider for your new strawberry plants.
You'll find plastic sheeting used in most commercial strawberry fields. Plastic mulch is plastic sheeting that is resistant to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Once spread on the ground under the plants, it forms a barrier against the sun's rays. This preserves the nitrogen in your planting soil through rainy periods. If you choose black plastic, you'll also get the benefit of heat absorption, which keeps the soil warm as well.
Straw is another great mulch option because it has good insulating properties and keeps the dirt away from the growing fruit. Spread a couple of inches of straw under the plants to create a barrier against the sun's rays and to form a protective layer between the dirt and the berries.
Because of its insulating properties, straw is also a great choice for wintering your plants. If you live in an area where temperatures get cold through the winter, cover your entire strawberry plants with several inches of straw to insulate them from the cold.
Pine needles are an affordable and easily accessible option in most areas because of their abundance. They are good for strawberry plants in areas where the soil is slightly alkaline. This is because they add acidity to the soil as they decompose, which will help balance things out. They also help to keep slugs at bay since they keep things dry, and they're prickly. A couple of inches is usually enough to suffice through the growing season, and an extra inch or two can help through the cooler weather.
Don't risk scorching those shallow roots after you plant your strawberries. Adding mulch not only protects those roots from the sun, but it also helps you retain the moisture in the soil, which ensures that your berry plants are getting the water that they need instead of losing the more shallow water it to evaporation. Whether this is your first year ever planting berries or you've just never applied mulch, choosing the right one makes all the difference. With the tips here, it will be easier to choose the best type of mulch for your new strawberry garden.
For more information, contact Mulch Masters or a similar company.