too late to renovate strawberries?

marthacr(z5 Me)August 3, 2013

I need to renovate my strawberry beds but just finished post harvest weeding this week. Is the first of August too late to mow them and do a real renovation? (They have put on a LOT of new leaf growth already and look so beautiful it's hard to cut and till them.)
Martha in Maine zone 5/6

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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I don't think it's too late imo. I know what you mean about not wanting to cut the nice leaves. Is it possible to just cut them a little? If you leave all the lush foliage it will mostly die anyway over the winter, and in the spring you'll have alot of dead/or dried/or mushy dead folliage. If you don't, at least the crowns will be insulated. Not sure if you insulate or not with anything over the winter. Sounds like you have a large amount of bed area. With my small patch was able to selectively remove the old foliage. Did mine a couple of weeks ago because it was bearing into the first week of July.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 10:01AM
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I have yet to do mine - it was just too darn hot all of July. DH said he'd prep more space for me and he hasn't yet. But the deer are taking care of the foliage ;-) I don't mind this time of year, 2 cute little fawns and their mom show up every day in our back yard. I haven't seen them munching on the berry plants, but I assume that's who it was.

But they're sending out runners like crazy, I really have to root them in pots or something before they spill over into the lawn.

BTW, once they are thinned out and mowed down, what's a good organic fertilizer? Just throw down some compost? Don't want to bury the crowns too deep, I figured I'd prep the new (extended) area with compost/composted manure before transplanting, but hate to lift all the 1-yr old crowns to put a few inches down and replant. Suggestions?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 6:44PM
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marthacr(z5 Me)

JMO, but I don't consider compost to be fertilizer unless you are using manure in it. Otherwise I consider it a soil conditioner. There are lots of organic fertilizers on the market. Choose one that is an even balance of NPK.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 9:03PM
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10-10-10 is good for strawberries. They eat a lot.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Yeah, but 10-10-10 isn't organic. The manure tested fairly low in N after all the rain we had, but high in P and K. Maybe add some bloodmeal (that would keep the deer away too!)? The question is. how do you apply it w/o burying the crowns too deep?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 9:46PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

ajsmama makes a good point. If I would have renovated in early July it would have fried them.....too hot. So I just waited 'til it cooled down a little.

I was waiting until next month to fertilize. Do you think it's too early to fertilize now?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 1:06PM
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marthacr(z5 Me)

No, it's not too early to fertilize. You don't want to wait too long, because the new growth that the fertilizer "pushes" will be susceptible to the cold weather if you wait too close to fall.

BTW 10-10-10 CAN be an organic fertilizer. That is just the designation of the amts of NPK in the mix. I've seen organic fertilizers that are 0-0-1, 14-16-2, 3-4-2, all sorts of different formulations depending on whether you want to push foilage, flower or root growth.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 1:46PM
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All I've got is fish emulsion 2-3-1, could use that to give a boost to manure but don't want to overdo the P. Can you recommend a balanced organic fertilizer in granular form suitable for strawerries? Does Espoma make something?

Not sure we want to push foliage growth this late in the season - my foliage looks good as it is. Just use the manure (high in P&K) for root growth? Still the ? of how to apply - as a side dressing?

Ed - Forget about the plants, *I* didn't want to fry out there! Spent most of the month indoors in the A/C ;-)!

Time to prune the raspberries too, and move the new canes but I think that can wait another month.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 4:50PM
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Just wondering, since DH is digging out the rocks to expand the bed now, I'll start renovating Thursday. Should I just move plants, transplant the ones with runners, try to maybe discard the older ones transplanted last year (which were from someone else's thinning, looked mature so I'm assuming they're 2 yrs old now)? But not mow anything b/c I don't know how much foliage will grow before frost now?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 2:17PM
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marthacr(z5 Me)

I can't recommend anything specific. Try googling 10-10-10 organic fertilizer and you may come up with something. I think the key thing is that you don't want to push the nitrogen or phosphorous too much. You may not be able to find an organic that actually says 10-10-10. Making your own out of amendments is a possibility. I think in Ct you should be OK with mowing (at a highest height, two inches above crown) as long as you are going to mulch with straw for the winter, which is what I do.

Here is a link that might be useful: strawberry renovation

    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 9:03PM
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My wife has come up with a method for re-invigorating our strawberry patch. About every 4-5 years, she digs up the plants and sets them out again after removing the weeds. Seems to increase the production. We mulch them and do not fertilize, but I see know evidence that they lack sufficient fertilization.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 7:18AM
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Thanks Martha, I had seen that video last year when I was planting the berries, just wondering since we're renovating so late whether I should leave some leaves on (obviously removing any that look diseased). Also whether I want more K than N & P at this point.

I might email Dave Handley - I had emailed staff mater gardener at OSV since she had written an article in local paper last month, but haven't heard back.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 9:28AM
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