What do I do with strawberry plants during the winter? - Knowledgebase Question

Naugatuck, Co
Question by Sleary16
September 17, 2008
I have some strawberry plants outside in several window boxes. This is the first year I ever planted them so I do not know much about them. Do I leave them outside for the winter? Or do I have to pull them and let them go dormant and then replant them come spring? I live in Connecticut where some winters can be harsh. Thank you for whatever help you can give me.

Answer from NGA
September 17, 2008


Strawberries are generally hardy in all parts of Colorado. In the ground, we recommend protecting strawberries over the winter, generally with a straw mulch applied about December 1. By then, cold weather has inhibited growth, and the soil is cold. Distribute the mulch over the plants to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. Hold it in place with weighted boards or piles of soil. This mulch prevents the plant from losing moisture to drying winter winds. It also prevents root damage caused by alternate freezing and thawing of the ground.

Leave the mulch on as long as possible to restrain plant growth in the spring. Early spring growth produces early flowers subject to damage by adverse weather. Therefore, check the plants under the mulch in March for new growth. When growth begins, part the mulch to allow sunlight to reach the foliage. As the plants continue to grow, gradually remove the mulch, leaving as much as possible as a soil mulch to keep the fruit off the ground. Rake the mulch back over the plants to protect them in case of a late spring frost. Remove soon after the frost danger is over.

Since yours are in containers where the roots and soil will be more exposed to cold winter weather, either sink the planter boxes in the ground during the winter months or insulate the bottoms and the sides of the planter boxes and leave them in place.

Best wishes with your strawberry plants!

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