I recently made a raised bed for some cherry trees and was wondering if I could fill in some of the voids of the bed with strawberry plants? The soil types seem compatible for them, the only thing im concerned about is the watering situation. I dont want to water log the cherry roots.
How competitve are strawberry roots? Do you think that they will hinder establishment of the new cherry trees?
I’ve done it, and it will work. If you can get some regular soil (not ground peat or bark) that is weed free, way so much the better. I did it with peach trees instead of cherry, but same idea.
And, you won’t have to irrigate strawberries as much as you probably imagine…I think I only did with a soaker hose twice in 4 years during a long hot dry spell. But, I’m addressing conditions in Kentucky, don’t know about other places.
I have them under my Carmine Jewel bushes. Works great. There might be some competition for soil and nutrients, so it is possible my cherries are a bit smaller than they might be (about 6 foot now), but considering I’m in 7A, way south of where they were bred I think the strawberries might be helping to shade and cool the soil in the heat of summer.
permacultuists do it all the time. i have arctic raspberries, alpine strawberries , woodland strawberries and low bush blueberries all around the sunny side of my bushes and trees. they are starting to fill in and I’m still adding more. i just clear away a section of the wood chips and plop it on the soil and rebury it in the chips. puts down roots pretty quickly and i don’t have to dig. they are so shallow rooted they don’t compete with the tree. i only water for a few weeks to get established then they’re on their own. i mix the small berries with my bigger ones. love the white/ yellow alpines. birds don’t touch them either.
It’s good to know others have had success doing this, since I just planted all of my new fruit tree raised beds with strawberries, LOL. I figured it would probably work, but it’s good to have validation.
Borage and comfrey make excellent additions to the strawberry bed also and are companions with the trees. Strawberries are not aggressively rooting plants and keep a place to shelter predator mites and other predators that then can climb back up the trees.
What about needing to apply insecticides or fungicides at times that the berries are blooming or have fruit about to ripen but now get covered too? Or the polinators that will be visiting the berry blooms?
Here’s a picture from this morning of my Carmine Jewel bushes with strawberries under them. I really need to get in and weed out some violets and other weeds infesting my strawbs… In terms of the infernal wildlife, I definitely have losses to birds and chipmunks, but eventually, when the production really kicks in, we get our share as well. I agree with the comments above about it being hard to net. If it was a smaller patch with fewer plants and I couldn’t protect it the critters would take it all.
It will work the first few years, but then the trees will start getting fruit and it will be difficult to spray without covering the berries first. If you try to bag the apples or pick them, you will have to step among the berries. So it is possible, but will require some extra effort.
Just one more vote in favor of strawberrys around fruit trees. I have strawberries around some of my cherries and my plum trees. I am sure that strictly speaking it isn’t the best arrangement for the trees but I like strawberries and only have so much space, and the trees don’t seem to mind.
Good point. But, typically the June bearing berry plants are good for 2 to 4 years, and then the beds are plowed under. And another patch of berries planted with new plants.
That’s common practice. It becomes difficult to cultivate and rejuvenate a row of strawberries after just a few years.
just rip out the older plants and leave the runners every year. if kept up it can be kept going for many years before they start to weaken. at that point just dig out the old plants , amend with some compost and replant with new ones. the alpines are easier. you just divide them to propagate more plants. wild ones you would just let them go or could thin out the older ones.
With enough elbow grease and with healthy plants…lots of things are possible. Still, usually weeds and other issues get the better of good intentions of renewing the old bed 5 or 7 years later. But I agree it’s possible to keep a bed for many years. (Just in real life, it very seldom happens.)