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Mulch is always beneficial to small fruits. It helps to:
- Suppress weeds;
- Maintain even soil temperatures;
- Hold moisture in the soil;
- Add organic matter;
- Protect overwintering plant crowns;
- Keep fruits clean; and
- Prevent root damage from shallow cultivation.
What kind of mulch to use around strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
- Straw, shredded leaves, rotted sawdust, grass clippings, newspaper, and compost can be used to mulch small fruit plants.
- Chopped pine bark, pine needles, and sawdust are good materials to use around blueberries. Blueberries have a shallow root system and they do not like dry soil. Mulch helps to hold in soil moisture.
- A winter mulch can be spread around plants to help prevent the freezing-thawing cycle, which can heave and damage plants. However, keep mulch from touching plant crowns to prevent vole feeding.
- Mulching strawberries with straw as weed control in strawberry beds is an important factor.
Watering small fruits
- Irrigation is also very beneficial to small fruits.
- The rule of thumb is one inch of water per week during the growing season (65 gallons per 100 sq. ft.). This need increases during flowering and fruiting. Supplement rainfall when necessary.
- To discourage disease problems, water in the morning and avoid wetting the foliage.
- Soaker hoses or drip irrigation lines work well in a small fruit planting.