All gardeners are divided into those who manage to grow garden strawberries, and those who have not really succeeded in this difficult task. Often it depends on experience, but not always. Even beginners will be able to get a good harvest of sweet and large strawberries if they want to follow all the tips and recommendations with which experienced gardeners can supply them. Of course, choosing the right variety is often of paramount importance, especially for our difficult climatic conditions, but also caring for strawberries is very important. No wonder this berry is called the queen, because only if you please all its whims and requirements, you can fully enjoy the delicious taste and aroma of its berries. This article will help you determine all the answers to the question: "How to care for strawberries?"
It is good if you already have a strawberry plantation left in the inheritance, and if not, you will have to start from the very beginning, that is, planting strawberry bushes.
The place for future beds is sunny, out of the blue, preferably protected from strong winds and with groundwater up to 70 cm.Attention! All legumes, onions, garlic, greens, beets and carrots are good predecessors for strawberries.
The most optimal planting dates for strawberries or garden strawberries are July-August (for the middle zone) and September (for the south of Russia). You can plant strawberries in the spring (in April), but then in the first year, the fruiting will be weak. Moreover, if you follow the advice of experienced gardeners, then during spring planting it is better, in general, not to allow flowering strawberry bushes in the first season and cut off all the peduncles and mustaches from them.
When developing a new plantation for planting strawberries, perhaps the most important thing is to carefully select all the smallest rhizomes of weeds when tilling the land. Thus, you will greatly facilitate your further care of strawberry bushes in the country in the next 4-5 years.
In addition, it is very important when laying a strawberry plantation to make a sufficient amount of organic matter. It is best to bring rotted manure in the amount of 6-7 kg per square meter. The effect of manure lasts about 3-4 years, just as much as it makes sense to grow strawberries in one place. In the future, the place is desirable to change due to the accumulation of disease and reduce the size of the berries.
Choosing quality seedlings for your future strawberry, you should focus on the following characteristics of plants:
- The root system of the bushes should be voluminous and fibrous;
- The diameter of a suitable root collar starts at 0.6 cm;
- Strawberry bush should have at least 3-5 leaves;
- The roots must be elastic, strong, white, not less than 7 cm long.
A day before planting, the ground should be carefully shed, but so that it is wet and not wet.Tip! If, after purchasing a seedling, you cannot immediately plant it in the ground, then you must dip the roots in a clay mash (creamy clay solution) and place them in a shady and cool place.
Immediately after planting strawberry bushes, it is advisable to sprinkle with humus and mulch with any organic material: sawdust, straw, mowed grass. This will help prevent the formation of soil crusts and will save moisture from strawberry bushes.
In the future, the care of strawberries in the first year is reduced to regular watering in hot weather and the removal of peduncles and whiskers when planting in spring.
Spring is a very important time for gardeners and if you do not know how to care for strawberries, it is best to start by inspecting your beds immediately after the snow has come down. Most likely, you will find some dry and brown leaves, and maybe even a few bushes could not survive the winter and disappeared without a trace. It will be necessary to wait for sunny and dry weather, so that the ground around the bushes has dried out a bit. And the first care procedure will be cutting, collecting and burning all non-living plant residues. If you covered your strawberry bushes from frosts for the winter, it would be better to remove shelters, including organic ones, so that the earth warms up well.Attention! If you have planted bushes under the black non-woven material since autumn, you do not need to take it off in the spring.
The root system of garden strawberries intensively develops at low but positive temperatures. During this period, it is significantly ahead of the development of the upper vegetative part. Therefore, at this time it is favorable to transplant some bushes instead of the dead, or to plant new ones. It is necessary to do this only as soon as possible, choosing cloudy weather in any case. Soon with the onset of heat, intensive development of the above-ground part of strawberries will begin, and transplants will need to be stopped.
In the same period, they are obliged to loosen the land around the bushes of strawberries and inter-rows. This procedure can improve the access of oxygen to the roots and will contribute to the preservation of soil moisture. At the same time perennial weeds are removed. If loosening between rows can be carried out to a depth of 10 cm, then around the bushes themselves, you need to proceed with caution. It is desirable to pour the earth on the bare roots of older strawberry bushes. And young rosettes, on the contrary, often win over the ground after winter. They need to rake up and release a little heart, which is the growth point.
The first processing and feeding
After the destruction of plant debris from the beds and loosening, one of the mandatory procedures for caring for strawberries in the open field is preventive treatment of strawberry bushes from diseases and pests. Traditionally, for the prevention of fungal diseases, copper-containing preparations were used, such as: Bordeaux mixture, Horus, Chom. If you do not want to use chemistry, you can use a solution of biofungicide - Fitosporin.
Experienced gardeners recommend watering strawberry bushes in hot water with potassium permanganate in early spring. The water temperature should be about + 50 ° + 60 ° С, and add potassium permanganate to obtain a light pink color. Such a hot shower helps well to neutralize many pests that hibernate in the soil, in particular, from strawberry mites.Comment! Before the very flowering of strawberries, it is advisable to spray the bushes from the weevil, using the drug Fitoverm.
The first feeding of strawberries in the early spring after loosening the land is usually carried out using nitrogen fertilizers. You can use ammonium nitrate (application rate 35-45 grams per 1 square meter) or mullein solution. It should be soaked in a small amount of water, and then diluted in a ratio of 1:10 and watered strawberry bushes, consuming 4-6 liters per 1 square. meter. For beginners, special liquid or granulated complex fertilizers for strawberries with trace elements are very convenient to use.
Before flowering strawberries potash and phosphate fertilizers are more necessary. Effective will be feeding the following composition: 2 tablespoons of nitroammofoski and 1 teaspoon of potassium sulfate diluted in 10 liters of water. On each bush strawberry need to pour half a liter of solution.
And during flowering strawberries well sprinkled with a solution of boric acid. It is prepared simply: 1 gram of boric acid is diluted in one liter of hot water, cooled, and all bushes with peduncles are carefully sprayed with the resulting solution. This procedure can increase yields by 20%.
Mulching of beds with strawberries
Of course, mulching is not at all an obligatory procedure, but taking care of strawberries will not seem so complicated if you carefully grind the beds in early spring after loosening and carrying out all the dressings and treatments. A layer of mulch is able to protect the berries from direct contact with the soil, prevents the growth of weeds and reduces the amount of watering, as it retains moisture in the ground. When watering the mulch does not allow water to splash soil particles on flowers and berries. In addition, the mulch gives strawberry plantings aesthetic appearance.
Different materials are used for mulching: sawdust, straw, dry grass, compost, leaf humus, pine needles, tree bark. Inorganic materials are often used: lutrasil and even black film, but only in an annual culture, because it provokes outbreaks of fungal diseases.
Best of all, if the layer of mulch will be about 4-7 cm: the weeds will grow through the smaller one, and the thicker one will delay the warming up of the soil by the sun. It is advisable to have time to mulch the ridge before flowering.
To understand how to care for strawberries in the summer, to get a full harvest, follow these guidelines:
- Water the bushes at least once a week. If the weather is dry and hot, you may need more frequent watering. Remember that only before flowering strawberry bushes can be watered from above using a sprinkler. After tying berries watering should be strictly under the root.
- During the ripening of berries, watering should be reduced to a minimum, and should be resumed only after the strawberries have eaten.
- Constantly remove weeds, as well as damaged leaves, flowers and berries from strawberry bushes.
- Regularly pick ripening berries with stalks.
- Pour the mulch on the bare ground next to the bushes so that the berries do not touch the soil.
- If there are heavy torrential rains, it is advisable to cover the garden bed with a strawberry to avoid the development of diseases due to excessive moisture.
What you need to do to grow the crop every year
Caring for strawberries is not only in the watering and feeding. It is equally important during the fruiting period to select the most fertile bushes. The best bushes are not the ones on which the largest strawberry ripens, and the rest are pea-shaped fines, but those that give berries that are much more or less equal in size. They must somehow be specially marked, and it is from them that after the formation of the whiskers, the planting material is chosen for breeding. Moreover, you should choose only a few of the first outlets from the first, maximum from the second whisker of selected bushes.
All other mustaches, starting from the third and the sockets formed on them, should be ruthlessly removed - they only take away strength from the mother bush and do not allow, after fruiting, to plant flower buds for the next year.
In addition, there are so-called varieties of weed strawberries. The bushes of these varieties either do not bloom at all, or form small, ugly berries even with the best care.Important! During flowering and fruiting be sure to mark the bushes without berries or with one or two curves berries. In the second half of the summer they should certainly be removed from the beds.
They only take the nutrients from good bushes. This is also important because such bushes usually form a large number of whiskers, which act like weeds.
Period after fruiting
Garden strawberry blooms and bears fruit one of the first in the garden plots. But after all, very little time passes after the snow melts before the ripening of the first berries - from where does the strawberry draw strength for the formation of tasty and sweet berries? And the harvest of the next year begins to be laid from mid-summer to autumn of the current year. That is why the care of strawberries after fruiting is almost the most important for the entire season.
Strawberry leaf pruning
After the end of fruiting, many gardeners prune all the leaves on strawberry bushes with a mustache. Others believe that this procedure weakens the plants. It seems that here you need to stick to the golden mean - if among the leaves there are many affected by various spots, then it would be better to cut them all off. If the leaves are healthy and strong, then they can be left for this season. In any case, be sure to cut out all the mustache except the first two, if you are interested in the reproduction of this variety. If it was decided to mow everything, the foliage is cut at a height of about 6-8 cm above the ground, so as not to damage the heart of the outlets, from which new leaves will later develop.
Immediately after cutting planting strawberries need to feed. To do this, use a complex mineral fertilizer with trace elements. You can use 20-30 grams per square meter.
In the same period, it is necessary to conduct another loosening of the aisles with a slight hilling up of the bushes.
About the same thing is done in the autumn, when strawberries are prepared for winter rest.
In this video, strawberry pruning is shown in detail and clearly:
Differences in the care of conventional and remontant varieties
There are some differences in how to care for strawberry remontant varieties throughout the season and after fruiting. After all, as you know, the strawberry repair bushes are capable of forming two or even three crops per season.
- Therefore, watering and feeding should be more regular. Watering is best to arrange a drip - it greatly saves time and effort.
- Pruning of dry and diseased leaves on the bushes should be carried out regularly throughout the season.
- Mulching should be a necessary procedure, as it allows you to retain heat in cooler seasons.
- Landings need to be updated more often, either every year, or once every two or three years.
- Planting remontant strawberries usually require shelter for the winter, because due to fruiting until the frosts the bushes do not have time to get ready for the cold.
Let's sum up
Following all the above tips throughout the year, even an aspiring amateur gardener can get a good harvest of tasty and sweet strawberries.