How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Mulches

Plastic mulch is a good idea for all garden strawberries. A layer of polyethylene placed on the soil surface beneath plants keeps fruit from touching the soil, greatly reducing problems with fruit decay and discouraging slugs, snails, and sowbugs.

If you plant in late fall, put mulch on as soon as plants begin to grow. If you plant in spring or summer, you can wait until February or March and use clear, white, or opaque mulch.

Before you put down plastic mulch, check the beds at least once a week and remove all weeds that appear. Once mulch is in place, you will have a hard time dealing with weeds that emerge under it. Stretch the plastic (1.5 mil [0.038 mm] plastic is recommended) lengthwise over the bed and pull it down on the sides of raised beds, securing it with pins or soil. Cover as much of the soil surface as possible and secure the edges of the plastic with bricks, stones, or a layer of soil to keep the mulch in place. Then cut an X about 4 inches long in the plastic over each plant, pull the plant through, and push the corners of plastic back under the plant. One corner can be pulled back later when you add fertilizer.

Strawberry plants are pulled through mulch
Strawberry plants are pulled through mulch

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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