Weeds & grass in a strawberry bed

steve333_gwMay 24, 2013

We have several terraced beds which are planted to strawberries. The last few years the strawberries have done poorly, no doubt due to the drought here as well as weed pressures. When originally planted several years back, the beds were weed free and mulched with newspaper and straw. They fared well against the weed invasion for a few years, but lately the weeds and grass (mostly smooth broome) are winning the battle.

Last year I weeded the beds rather well and they looked OK for a couple of months, but by the end of the season the grass had invaded again. No doubt a large part of the problem is the soil between the beds is in grass, which re-invades the weeded beds each year.

I am wondering what possible solutions to this endless cycle could be employed here. If I covered the grassy areas between the beds with landscape fabric before weeding, I think that would reduce the invading grasses; however this is not ideal on the sloped land (makes it hard to walk on that area). Any other ideas? How do commercial growers keep grass/weeds out of their strawberries?

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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Went I went to a U pick it was mulched with straw, I think most growers till it over in a couple of years and start fresh,..mulch heavily.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 2:45PM
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ltilton

Commercial growers cover their beds with plastic.

One other thing you might consider is after your harvest to spray the beds every year with a grass-specific herbicide.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 2:46PM
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steve333_gw

Hmm, plastic covering sounds interesting. Question though, if the berries are June bearing, and you want them to spread to fill the bed, how do you use plastic? Come through and cut openings for the runners?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 3:18PM
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ltilton

That's exactly the problem, Steve.

Commercial growers treat the berries as annuals, rip them out after harvest and plant new for the next year.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 7:58PM
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