Straw Removal in Strawberries – Facts for Fancy Fruit

Straw Removal in Strawberries

The proper time to remove straw from matted row strawberries is when the bare-soil temperature at 4 inches averages about 40-43˚F. This usually coincides with mid to late March in central Indiana. This year is later than average. Plants begin pushing new leaves as the soil temperatures rise steadily so the straw should be raked off the tops of the beds and into the row middles before leaves emerge. Leaving some straw on top of the beds for plants to grow up through provides a clean surface for fruit. Straw should be removed from beds before the plants grow enough to cause yellowing of foliage. Allowing the leaves to become etiolated (yellowed with long petioles) due to late straw removal can reduce yields by as much as 25%. However, uncovering the plants early may promote early growth and increase chances of frost or freeze injury. The difference between early removal and late removal may increased first harvest by about three days, so there is no real advantage. After the straw is removed the frost protection irrigation equipment should be set up and tested and made ready for frost during bloom.


strawberry leaves

New leaves emerging in strawberries

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