How to Overwinter Strawberries in 6 Easy Steps 

Strawberry plants are popular and easy to grow. Native to North America, they adapt well to USDA zones 3–10. Strawberry production requires some freezing as they are perennial fruits. Strawberry crowns can die in temperatures below 15°F if not protected.  

Step 1: Renovate Beds & Prune Plants

Strawberry bed renovation means pruning and cleaning your strawberry patch. After the last berries are plucked and the temperature cools, give your plants some TLC. This coincides with late fall trimming of lavender, bee balm, catmint, daylily, and some fruit trees.  

Step 2: Optionally, Fertilize in Late Fall

Fall fertilizer boosts bud and root growth for stronger plants. However, spring fertilizer can overgrow foliage and soften berries. Nitrogen should not be applied near to spring blossoming.  

Step 3: Apply Mulch

Mulching is easiest and most fun after renovating and fertilizing. Strawberry mulch should be pine or weed-free straw. Children throwing straw around the garden to give plants a “cozy jacket” for winter is fun. If pathogen-free, dried deciduous leaves can be used.  

Step 4: Use a Row Cover if Needed

Extreme cold in zones 5 and colder may require further protection. The most popular winter protection for commercial strawberries is row cover. This woven fabric adds 2-8°F warmth and lets light in for early spring growth.  

Step 5: Move Potted Strawberries

The most important winterizing step for container strawberries is root zone protection. Container strawberries are uninsulated. To prevent frost damage to hanging pot roots and crowns, they must be properly warmed.  

Step 6: Keep Frost Protection Around

Probe soil temperature. Let plants adjust by gradually removing frost blankets and row coverings. If cold weather is possible, don't allow your plants produce susceptible new leaves and blooms.  

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Also see

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