When to uncover strawberries?

edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)March 15, 2011

I live in zone 5 in upstate NY, and I have a small strawberry patch mulched (totally covered) with straw for over wintering. I know that strawberries are hardy, and I'm tempted to uncover them now that the snow is gone, but we still have a month of potentially freezing weather left, and 2 months till last frost. So common sense tells me not to uncover for a month, but I was just curious on any other suggestions.

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alan haigh

Once the soil has thawed best to uncover immediately. The straw is to protect from extreme cold, not frosts and once plants begin growth they will rot under there.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 5:42AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

OK,thanks. I appreciate the feedback.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 3:44PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I'm glad I did uncover them today. There was quite a bit of rotten leaves, but the plants were very large in the fall, and even though a lot of leaves were rotting and slimey, there was still a lot of green leaves left too, and the crowns are healthy and big. I probably mulched too much, but it was my first year and we have -20F in the winter. We'll still have a lot of subfreezing nights, but I can just cover them with a blanket from here on out.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 6:24PM
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northwoodswis4

The rotten leaves were probably last year's leaves. Keep the mulch close by in case you have to re-cover them if there is a frost predicted when the blossoms are open, as happened here last spring. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 12:43AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Yes, the rotten leaves were definitely last years leaves, and there was still some green leaves left on just about every plant. I will have a cover available, as we can have frost here anytime 'til 6/1.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 11:03AM
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alan haigh

floating row cover is another way to protect blossoms from frost.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 6:08PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

I don't cover my strawberries and I've never lost any. Almost a month ago, the plants put out their first new leaves and at that time, I went out and cut off all of last year's dead foliage.

It's still freezing every night and the strawberries aren't growing fast, but they have green leaves that don't seem to be bothered by the cold.

I've got June Bearers, Everbearing, and Day Neutral plants, and it doesn't seem to make any difference. None of them seem to be bothered by the cold.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 2:35AM
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alan haigh

Yeah, covering is generally not necessary here either and I stopped doing so years ago although I can't say if covering doesn't increase yield. I don't spend much time fretting about strawberries.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2011 at 11:37AM
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mkkimmen(5)

We planted Strawberry Plants for the first time last Spring. They are in their own raised bed. We got a decent amount of Strawberries from them late Spring thru the end of summer/early fall last year. I am just wondering what I need to do with them this Spring as far as pruning. Am I supposed to cut them back or trim the brown leaves and stems? There looks to be new growth or left-over green leaves in the middle, but the ends of the plants that drape over the raised bed are brown and dried up looking. What part, if any, do I trim or prune back?? And when?

Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 6:04PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I'd get rid of all the dead stuff. I'm waiting to prune mine for a little while (a week or two), but I'll eventually clean them up. I just don't want to expose the crowns too much yet. It's supposed to be in the teens here this weekend.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 9:49PM
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northwoodswis4

When I started covering mine, the production jumped a lot. I don't bother trimming off any dead foliage. Covering them also helps prevent frost heaving. Last fall I was gone a couple months, so they didn't get covered, although they have been buried under very heavy snow all winter. We will see how they do. Still have a large supply in the freezer, so a smaller harvest won't hurt anything. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 11:37AM
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