When is the right time in spring to remove straw from strawberry plants?


I planted strawberries in a raised bed last spring. I covered it with straw for the winter. When is the right time to remove the straw that is still covering the plants? I peeked under the straw and noted some healthy leaves.


David Fuller, Agriculture and Non-Timber Forest Products Professional IV

It sounds like you used only straw for mulch, which works well. The straw may be pulled back now but you’ll need to protect the plants when a hard frost is predicted to protect the blossom buds.
Please see the following from our publication #2067, Growing Strawberries, for more on using mulch and for larger, earlier harvests:

Row covers can be placed over the plants in the early fall or the early spring. Plants covered in the fall will have greater yield benefits from the covers, but additional mulch such as straw should be applied in mid-November for extra winter protection. Remove the straw in late March, or as soon as the snow melts, leaving the row covers in place.

Row covers can also be applied only in the early spring. Mulch should be applied as usual in the fall, but removed early in the spring (in late March or early April) and followed immediately by applying the row covers. While this may not provide as high a yield increase as the fall application, it avoids the practical problems of applying mulch over the covers. Leave the row covers on until the plants begin to bloom. This may occur two to three weeks earlier than plants without row covers, so you must be prepared to protect the flower buds from frost. Although the row covers will provide some frost protection, it is best to mulch or use irrigation over the row covers if a hard frost is predicted.