Wood chips can be a great alternative to straw to mulch strawberries. It will protect the strawberries from touching soil and keep them clean. Wood chips will stay in place in windy areas and will prevent weeds from growing between your strawberry plants. Wood chips can be used around strawberry plants or between rows as paths.
How to mulch strawberries with wood chips
To mulch strawberries with wood chips, clear the soil of old mulch and plant the strawberry into soil improved with compost and aged cow manure. Apply the wood chips on the soil around the strawberry plant around 2-3 inches thick.
Make sure you leave a 1-2 inch gap between the strawberry crown or stem and the wood chips. This will allow water to drain easily through avoiding the wood chips covering and rotting the stem.
Water the strawberry and wood chips in after planting. This will help to hold the mulch in place and help to settle the soil around the newly planted strawberry roots.
Strawberries that have already been in the ground for a number of years can also be mulched with wood chips. Simply place them over any old mulch around strawberries to top up the level to 2-3 inches thick.
When using bark chips around any plant, never mix it into the soil. The soil bacteria will take nitrogen away form your plant roots they break down the bark chips. While bark chips work well on top of the soil surface, never mix it into the soil.
Best wood chip types for strawberries
The best wood chips to use around strawberries is a mixed tree mulch which will be made usually from pine or other trees that are trimmed by arborists. It will consist of a range of bark chip sizes and include the green material from leaves and stems.
The tree mulch mix is perfect for mulching around strawberries as the mixed sized pieces will knit together, staying in place in windy areas. They will protect your strawberries from weeds and help to hold soil moisture in.
Wood chips come in a range of sizes from a small grind all the way up to larger pieces. The best choice for your strawberries will contain a medium sized bark chip or a mix of piece sizes made from a light material like pine.
This will break down and improve the soil over a period of around 3-6 months and feed the worms and soil bacteria to release nutrients to your strawberries.
Wood chips between strawberry rows
Another fantastic use for wood chips is placed between strawberry rows as a path. If you have a large number of strawberry plants grown in an open garden area, use bark chips between rows as an affordable path.
This will stop the soil from being compacted as you walk on the path or push wheelbarrows between the rows. Wood chips are the perfect material for all garden paths including flower beds and between pavers.
The best thing about wood chips is it will allow rain to flow through to the soil, improving soil health, feeding soil bacteria and worms and building up the organic matter over time.
You can even plant in the path areas if they have been covered with bark chips. Simply move your garden rows to your paths when you want to create more garden space or rest an area of your garden.
Benefits of wood chips for strawberries
Using wood chips for mulch around strawberries offers lots of benefits including natural weed control, improving soil, keeping moisture in for your strawberries and it won’t blow away. Check out the benefits of wood chips for strawberries below.
Wood chips keep weeds away
Wood chips will form a layer on the surface of your soil around your strawberries stopping weeds from growing through. The wood chips will stop the weed seeds from getting light, preventing all but the strongest weeds from growing through the wood chips.
Weeds that do manage to grow through will be easier to remove as they would have had to work hard to grow through the wood chips. Lay the wood chips 2-3 inches thick to prevent weeds.
Wood chips won’t blow away
Wood chips are heavier than the traditional straw mulch usually used around strawberries. If you have planted your strawberry patch in a windy area, wood chips will be the perfect mulch which will stay in place while protecting your plants.
Wood chips keep soil moisture in
Mulching strawberries with wood chips will reduce the amount of water you will need to put on your plants. Wood chips will reduce the amount of water that evaporates off the surface of the soil keeping it in the soil for longer for the strawberry plant to absorb.
Strawberries are thirsty plants so add wood chips around the surface of their root zone to keep soil moisture in.
Wood chips will keep strawberries clean
Using wood chips as mulch around strawberries will keep the fruit off of the soil and will keep it clean. They will be less likely to be eaten by soil dwelling bugs including worms who can dig through the soil to eat the strawberry.
Use wood chips to lift the strawberries off the soil and protect them from pests.
Mulching Strawberries with wood mulch – FAQ
The best mulch types for strawberries are straw, hay, sugar cane and wood chips. Straw is the traditional mulch used for strawberries but the benefits of wood chips are they won’t blow away as easily and they last longer.
Wood shavings are not a great option for mulching strawberries as they can take up nitrogen from the soil and will not allow the rain to penetrate through as well as other mulch types. Choose straw or wood chips for the best mulch options for strawberries.
Bark mulch works well for strawberries and will prevent weeds while keeping soil moisture in. Large bark mulch can be mixed with a tree mulch to provide a good mix of green and brown materials which will break down and improve the soil around your strawberries.
Wood chips are a fantastic option to mulch around strawberries. Look for a bark mulch that has a mix of green and brown materials. This will break down and improve the soil for your strawberries.
Mulching strawberries with wood chips – Summary
Wood chips are a fantastic alternative to straw when mulching strawberries. It will prevent weed growth, stay in place and will last longer than straw. If you have extra wood chips in your garden, try using them to mulch strawberries and you will be pleasantly surprised at the results.
Wood chips are my favorite mulch type throughout my whole garden and any extra can be used around citrus trees and flowers.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.