Wild Strawberries as a Groundcover on a Slope
Answered by: Ginny Cotterill
Question from: Chris
Posted on: August 17, 2010

Our landscaping project involves a 1 to 1 sloped area on our property, which has been scraped back and is free of weeds. One end of this slope is untouched with existing wild strawberries as the ground cover .We would like to plant with the same once we add topsoil, this area gets lots of sun. Would this be a favourable move and if so can you guide us with the planting procedure for wild strawberries? I should also mention to you that once the planting is done it will be covered with a biodegradable matting made up of staw and coconut to control soil erosion.

Wild Strawberries ( Fragaria vesca) would be an ideal groundcover for this project. They will quickly establish themselves when they begin setting out their runners, which should happen in their first season. Be aware that Alpine Strawberries (Fragaria vesca ‘Reugen’) does not set runners, and therefore would not be appropriate for your situation. To begin this project, you should first create your slope using the topsoil. Then add a layer of 3-4 inches deep of good quality triple mix. The compost in this soil will ensure that your plants get a healthy start and will continue to thrive. A slope of 1 to 1 is fairly steep for direct seeding of the wild strawberries. The seeds may get washed away by rain. Preferably, start the seeds in a plug tray that has individual cells for each plant. This type of tray is generally available with 128-288 cells per tray. Fill the tray with soil-less medium. Then place 3-5 seeds per cell, and cover with a fine layer of vermiculite, or more of the soil-less medium.Water gently and place the tray in a sunny location, with ideally, a bottom heat of 21 degrees Celsius. The seeds should germinate within a week or two. Allow them to grow another 5-7 weeks and they will be a nice size for transplanting. Use of the biodegradeable mat is sensible in this application. It can be slit to allow for the plantings, will allow moisture penetration and stabilize the plants until they are established. It is adviseable to have a thin layer of soil over the mat to allow a place for the runners to begin. Wild Strawberries may be planted at a spacing of 10-12 inches apart. Be sure to water them in well when transplanting, and use a starter fertilizer such as 10-15-10. Be sure to monitor the plants for watering requirements for a few weeks, until they become established. Good luck with your project!

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