Old 10-08-02, 09:42 PM
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I started my own stawberry patch last spring and everything is looking good with the new runners and mother plants. What I need to know is when are you suppose to mow off the leaves. I've read you cut them off about 1 inch above the crown but when do you do this? Will I hurt them if I mow them off now? I'm located in northern Indiana.
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Old 10-08-02, 10:29 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
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When to mow strawberries?

To maintain the quality and productivity of the berry patch, start this renovation program immediately after the last picking of berries.

Fertilize the planting. A soil test will help to determine phosphorus and potash needs. Nitrogen should be applied at 1/2 to 3/4 pound of actual nitrogen per 100 feet of row. In the absence of a soil test, apply 4 to 6 pounds of 12-12-12 fertilizer per 100 feet of row.

Mow the foliage off the top of the plants. Mow just above the crown. Be careful that the crowns are not damaged.

Narrow the rows to a manageable distance based on your row spacing and the width of aisle desired. A row width of 12 to 18 inches or less is optimum. Aisle width should be wide enough to accommodate both traffic and the leaves and clusters of berries that will lay out in the edge of the row. Use a rototiller or cultivator or hoe to obtain the reduction in width of row.

Thin plants. For best production, plants should not be too dense. Optimum plant density is 5 to 6 plants per foot of row or per square foot. A good rule of thumb might be to cut out half of the plants in a good vigorous row.

Cultivate. Work in the straw between the rows. Throw about 1/2 inch of soil over the top of the crowns to facilitate new root development. A rototiller is ideal for this operation. The addition of soil to the row will help to obtain a slightly raised bed.

Irrigate. Water is needed for ideal plant growth. Never let the plants go into a water stress situation. Berry plants need about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water per week either by rain or added water. Continue through September.

From renovation time till frost: cultivate and maintain planting weed-free. Allow early runner plants to fill in where needed in the row. If the row was narrowed below the width desired, place runners to fill the desired area. Remove all excess runners as they form. After September 1, remove all new runners anyway, because they will not have time to root down and set fruit buds.

In early August an additional application of 3 pounds of 12-12-12 or equivalent amount of nitrogen per 100 feet of row will help in fruit bud formation.

Mulch plants with clean wheat straw in early December.

Enjoy the fruit of your labors next June.

Growing Strawberries
R.A. Hayden, Extension Horticulturist

Purdue University

Cooperative Extension Service

West Lafayette, IN 47907

Retrieved 09 October 2002

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