Mulching strawberries is necessary to ensure that the berries lying on the ground are not rot and not covered with mold. For this, different materials are used: straw, needles, scraps of newspapers, special fabric. Along with the other options, the sawdust will do. They have a number of undeniable advantages.
Sawdust for strawberry
Many doubt whether it is possible to mulch strawberries with sawdust. Even necessary. The ground, thanks to the sawdust, becomes lighter, friable, and air permeable. Even in severe heat, there will not be a hard crust on the surface of the bed, therefore, frequent loosening of the soil is not required.
Sawdust is not only the protection of berries from spoilage, but also nutrition for the soil. Since the sawdust lies on the surface, it is gradually decaying, enriching the soil with nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. But they do not bury them in the ground: it is an ideal nutrient medium for bacteria, which also need nitrogen. It turns out that they will take it from berries.
Which one to prefer? If you want to get an effective natural fertilizer, use sawdust, which turned out when sawing hardwood trees. They will rot faster. On the other hand, sawdust of coniferous trees is the best protection for berries, they can be poured less often.
Optimum use for strawberries is already partially pereprevshie sawdust. From fresh they can be distinguished by color: they are slightly darker. If you just leave them in the open air, the process of re-lengthening will last for 10 years or more. To speed it up, add them to the compost heap or greenhouse and greenhouse beds.
How to mulch strawberries with sawdust?
If only fresh sawdust is at your disposal, and mulch is needed right now, use the following method of preparing it.
- On a flat piece of land, spread the plastic film, pressing it around the edges. Top with three buckets of sawdust( level to a thickness of about 10 cm) and a glass of urea.
- All this pour( 8-10 liters of water).
- Repeat in the same order.
- Cover with a polyethylene film so that there is as little as possible a gap for air access, and wait 12-14 days.
The beds should be pre-prepared:
- Carefully weed out all the weeds, remove pebbles, fallen leaves and other small debris, and loosen to a depth of 3-5 cm.
- Then 3-4 rows of beds are covered with old newspapers so that they overlap each other. Otherwise, the mulch will spill onto the soil. Newspapers choose only with black and white text. All color drawings and labels are undesirable. Color paint - a chemical that after the rain will inevitably fall into the ground. Categorically do not fit as a lining for mulch paper, glazed cardboard and any waterproof paper: they are much worse than newspapers, let in moisture and air or do not do it at all.
- Spill the space between the bushes with sawdust. Sense to pour the sawdust directly under each bush there. As practice shows, over time they will still slide into the basal zone. The optimum thickness of the layer is 3-5 cm. Make sure beforehand that they are not rotted, they are not covered with mold and there are no larvae of garden pests.
If you clean up old sawdust, do not rush to throw them away. This is an excellent addition to the compost pit. They will significantly accelerate the composting process due to the fact that a higher temperature is formed in the pit. In addition, the product will turn out to be more qualitative, loose and remarkably suitable for soil of any type.
The fact that the sawdust began to rot, is shown by the dark brown color and characteristic plaque.
Why you need to mulch in the spring:
- A layer of sawdust will protect the bushes from unstable temperatures and possible night frosts at this time of year. This is especially true for young shrubs, transplanted in the past year.
- When the sawdust rot, the soil at the roots warms up much faster. This promotes faster growth and proper formation of the bush. All conditions for abundant fruiting are created.
- This is an effective protection against pests. Slugs and larvae simply can not overcome the barrier from the tissue that damages them. In other insects, the chitinous shell is scratched. As for the spores of fungi and bacteria, they for the most part can not get into the soil.
- On the garden grows much less weeds. You save time and energy on weeding.
- Sawdust contribute to the fact that the necessary substances from the chemical and organic fertilizers introduced into the soil fall directly to their destination, and are not washed out by rain.
The first thing to do in the spring is to remove the mulch from last year's strawberries. It not only looks unpresentable, but is also a suitable place for wintering pathogenic bacteria, fungal spores and garden pest larvae.
- Preliminarily the soil is carefully loosened to a depth of 5-8 cm and nitrogen fertilizer is applied.
- If you need to align the bed, pour the required amount of fresh soil.
- Directly before the beginning of the mulching, the strawberry bed is abundantly poured and water is allowed to soak. It is more expedient to carry out the procedure in the morning: the dew on the leaves has dried up, but the sun does not bother too much. loosening of strawberry beds application of fertilizers before mulching
The second time mulching in the spring is carried out at a time when the strawberry is blooming and the berries are massively beginning to tie. The technology is the same.
Many people think that you do not need to touch sawdust in the summer, but this is not entirely true. For example, if early in the summer there are intense rains, the layer of mulch is inevitably contaminated. It will no longer be an effective protection against rot and mold. Therefore, in order to preserve the crop, it is advisable to pour in fresh sawdust in a timely manner.
If this is not done, from mulch by the middle of July or beginning of August there will be practically nothing left. Due to the regular loosening of the beds and the presence of earthworms in the soil, the sawdust is mixed with the soil.
Too much strawberries are covered with sawdust in August, when the main phase of fruiting is already behind, on the contrary, is not recommended. A thick layer of mulch will prevent excess moisture from evaporating out of the soil in a timely manner. In winter, this moisture will turn into ice, which may well lead to the freezing of the roots and the death of the plant. Also, such a violation of the microclimate adversely affects the formation and development of new shoots( the so-called whiskers).
If you noticeably went too far with the mulch in the spring and by August it did not mix with the soil, be sure to perform intensive loosening of the bed. The treatment with a flat cutter will also help.
This procedure is designed to protect strawberries from frosts. The thickness of the newly created layer should not be less than 4-5 cm. But the goal will be achieved only if the sawdust does not freeze. Otherwise, you will get an effect that is directly opposite to expected due to the wetting of sawdust.
If the snow cover in your area is not installed immediately, but melts repeatedly during late autumn and early winter, in addition to mulching strawberries, additional protection is required:
- First, build a kind of frame from twigs or thin plastic slats. The resulting design should resemble a hut.
- Then cover the bushes with polyethylene or other waterproof material, taking care of the tightness of the shelter.
- Only after this can be added sawdust.
If you are sure that the colds are established immediately and once the fallen snow does not melt, pour the sawdust directly onto the ground.
Strawberries are considered a relatively unpretentious agricultural crop. But this is not so. Of course, without proper care, it will continue to bear fruit for a while, but it will gradually degenerate and become wild.
Not the last place in the series of procedures necessary to regularly receive a plentiful harvest of useful and delicious berries, takes mulching. The procedure does not require any material costs, it takes quite a bit of time and effort, and the result is repeatedly paid off by the quantity and quality of the berries collected annually.