The Q&A Archives: Weed Control for Strawberries

Question: I have searched and read your questions and responses to questions on strawberry planting. Your quidance suggests mulching with straw for weed control. I would like to know if a row cover, or fabric, can be used when planting strawberries for even better weed control? If so, will the runners root through the cloth, or will I need to provide holes in the cloth for them to root through?

Answer: Row covers or garden blankets are normally used to cover the plants to protect them from cold or possibly from insects. Landscape fabric or weed barrier would be applied to the soil surface to inhibit weed growth. Although landscape fabric can be used between strawberry plants, but it is a bit difficult under home gardening conditions where the plants are allowed to runner and are kept in place for several years. You will need to make a new hole for each runner you wish to keep. When the original plants are culled, you will have to close up the hole created originally for them. In addition to weed control and conserving moisture, traditional mulching materials also help keep the soil temperature constant. For this reason you may also wish to add traditional mulch on top of the fabric. (It will also help the fabric hold up longer.) Finally, note that the fabric will inhibit the mulch from breaking down and feeding the soil as it normally would, so you will need to be extra generous in preparing the soil initially and in renewing when the planting is rotated out.

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