How to Keep Weeds out of Strawberries

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Leaves of strawberry plants create canopies that prevent weed growth.
Leaves of strawberry plants create canopies that prevent weed growth. (Image: Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Weeds want the same water, food and light you give to your strawberries. If you use techniques and products to prevent pests and disease from attacking your plants, weeds seem to get in the way, rendering your efforts ineffective. To keep weeds out of your strawberry beds, you need to start early. About a year before you plant strawberries, start controlling weeds in that area, or your strawberry patches will produce less fruit with poor quality.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden gloves
  • Sharp hoe
  • Organic mulch
  • Black plastic (optional)
  • Knife

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Use a sharp hoe to cultivate the soil a few days after you plant your strawberries. Cultivating means moving moist soil so weeds will not grow. Continue to cultivate the soil as your strawberries grow, recommends the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension.

Put on your garden gloves and hand-pull weeds around your strawberry plants. Hoe around the strawberries to remove weeds between your plants. Use a sharp hoe to cut off the weeds just under the soil's surface.

Create an organic mulch or compost for the summer to help control weeds around your strawberries. Mulches work effectively by preventing the sun from getting to the soil's surface, and weeds need sunlight to germinate. Mulches also keep your strawberries clean and hold moisture in the soil. Make an organic mulch out of sawdust, newspapers, bark, straw, grass clippings or vegetable scraps. Spread the mulch 3 inches deep in the aisles between strawberry plant rows.

Make a synthetic mulch as a way to control weed growth. At the time you plant your strawberries and water them, lay black plastic over your plants, cutting small cross-like slits over each strawberry plant, using the knife. Lightly spread straw mulch over the black plastic to help prevent the plastic from overheating the soil underneath. Eventually, the strawberry plants will be large enough to cover almost all of the plastic, creating a canopy or shade with their leaves. Like the plastic, the plant shade prevents sunlight from reaching the soil, preventing weeds from germinating and growing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never use fatty materials such as bones and meat in your mulch to avoid attracting animals digging in your garden.

References

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