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Does it make sense to shelter a strawberry?

Not a single berry crop has been able to achieve such fame and recognition among gardeners as garden strawberries.

 This wonderful perennial conquers with a lot of advantages: unique taste and aroma of berries, high yield, early maturity and relative simplicity in care. It is on the concept of relativity that today I would like to draw your attention to and figure out whether it is worth burdening yourself with additional troubles of warming strawberry bushes on the eve of winter.

Features of culture
Garden strawberries – a winter-green culture. She does not know what leaf fall is, and goes under the snow in green decoration, and renews her leaves throughout the season. Knowing this feature, we must take proper care of the plants. First of all, this concerns anti-aging pruning, which allows you to maintain the health of the perennial.


A cardinal shearing of ordinary strawberries, bearing fruit once a year, is carried out immediately after the last berries are picked, that is, in the middle of summer. With this approach, the bushes have time to grow new lush rosettes of leaves by autumn, which serve as the key to their successful wintering. The foliage accumulates useful substances that add endurance to plants in a difficult winter period. Lush rosettes, covering flower buds and horns and trapping snow, protect them from freezing. The repaired variety is not subjected to such a haircut, but its dried and damaged leaves are cut out selectively throughout the season.

However, the natural shelter of strawberries from its own leaf outlet does not always guarantee reliable wintering. Sometimes plants look for support from the gardener and in late autumn ask for additional protection from the cold.

When is shelter necessary
The old proven varieties of garden strawberries are perfectly preserved in winter without any shelter, but their sour berries leave much to be desired. This drawback was especially pronounced when we had the opportunity to test new discoveries of breeders – honey berries of modern large-fruited varieties. Unfortunately, by adding sweets, breeders have greatly reduced the winter hardiness of plants. For the pleasure of feasting on this delicacy, we now have to pay with additional troubles – to carefully cover such plants for the winter.

A new strawberry plantation will also make you start building a shelter. If you planted young rosettes on a new bed not in spring, but in the second half of summer or early autumn, cover the young for the winter. He has not yet managed to build up a powerful root system and therefore is prone to bulging: moisture in the root layer turns into ice and expands, as a result of which the hearts are squeezed out of the ground. Such plants become especially vulnerable to winter wind and frost.

Searching for an answer to the question of whether to harbor strawberries or not in country forums is a risky business. If you still want to hear the advice of experienced people, then ask only the opinion of local residents. It is the peculiarities of the climate of your region that will give the most correct answer. If snowless winters with severe frosts regularly occur in your area, then the solution suggests itself – it is imperative to cover.

The same goes for regions where winter often brings unpleasant surprises in the form of unexpected thaws. Strawberries take the untimely warming for a wake-up call, but after being tricked into being torn apart by frost. The correct shelter in this case will help smooth out the changes in winter temperatures and preserve the strawberries.

Snow is the best insulation, but if there is little or no snow at all, strawberries have a hard time in winter. This can happen if the bed is broken on a slope, where in winter the snow cover is constantly blown away by the wind. Bare sockets, which are burned by an icy wind, often die in winter, so they need additional solid shelter.

Another case when insulation is necessary is a cardinal cut of strawberries in the fall. This procedure is carried out by gardeners who are late with summer pruning and want to bring beauty to a neglected garden in a freer autumn period. Bushes that have lost their leaf cap turn out to be especially vulnerable to cold weather and suffer greatly even from small subzero temperatures. Such plants must be insulated without fail.

When to shelter
If you did everything right and pruned the bushes in the summer, then by the fall the plants have acquired a new lush hairstyle. Do not rush to spoil it and cover it with mulching or covering materials. Let the bushes undergo natural hardening in the conditions of the autumn cold snap. Plants, wrapped in a warm feather bed too early, will not only be unprepared for the upcoming cold weather, but may also “steam up” during the next autumn thaw. In the spring, after removing the shelter, you will find bald spots on the garden bed, but this will not be due to freezing, but death due to damping.

In autumn, carefully follow the weather forecast and start sheltering the strawberries only if the weather forecasters promise that real winter is on the way. Until the moment of shelter, about a week should pass, during which the temperature neither at night nor during the day will not rise above 0 ° C and will hold out at small minus marks. In some regions it may be October, while in others it may be early December.

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