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Renovating Strawberries

Sun, Jul 2nd, 2000
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Firstly, are your strawberries everbearing or Junebearing? Everbearing strawberries fruit all season long, or at a minimum, spring and fall. Junebearers deliver all their berries at once but not necessarily in June, depending on the variety.

If your berries are everbearing and are old and not producing the way they used to, its best to rip out the whole thing and replant. This may seem harsh or wasteful but if you want strawberries, its the thing to do.

If your berries are a Junebearing variety, your beds can remain productive for several years with faithful renovation.

The renovation process is best done in four steps:
1. Shear off (or mow) the plant leaves and rake them from the bed.
2. Remove old or crowded plants with a hoe or trowel. Narrow any matted bed to a swath about 18 inches wide. If the bed gets too wide, the older plants may shade the new daughter plants.
3. Apply a 1-inch layer of compost or sprinkle on organic fertilizer, like 6 cups soybean meal per 100 square feet.
4. Water thoroughly. (Keep plants mulched to suppress weeds and retain moisture).

Soon after renovation, your plants will grow again and sprout new leaves. Even with annual renovation your strawberry bed will eventually decline beyond repair. Plan on replanting every 4 to 7 years. Excerpted from Heavenly Strawberries by Lee Reich, Ph.D.

For more information on varieties and planting help call the Extension Office and request your free copy of "Strawberries for the Home Garden" (pub # FO-5625-B).

Apple Maggots

Do your apples have mottled bumpy skin; brown streaks though the flesh? Sounds like you may have apple maggots feasting in your orchard. These pests overwinter in soil and emerge in early July as small flies. They lay their eggs on young apples. The larvae then burrow into the apple flesh causing the brown streaking. Hang sticky red apple traps in trees to fool young flies. These traps can be purchased ready to go around $5 each. You can save a few dollars by making your own. Paint any apple-sized ball red; then cover with a sticky "Tangle Foot" type product. (Figure out how youll hang it before you put on the sticky stuff). Hang 3-5 balls per tree. Be sure to remove all leaves and fallen apples this fall to avoid problems next year. Bury fallen apples at least a foot deep or use for cider or livestock feed. Removal of all fallen leaves also will help control overwintering fungal problems like apple scab.

Virginia Cooper, Community Program Assistant at the Fillmore County Extension Office writes a weekly column from her farm in Mabel. She is a Master Gardener and can be reached via the Extension Office at (507) 765-3896 or email virgcoop@ yahoo.com

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