How to Grow More Strawberries (and Stop Pests!)

Having trouble growing strawberries? Maybe you’ve been dreaming of making strawberry smoothies, syrups and jams, but pests keep foiling your plans?

I used to throw away over half of my strawberry harvest due to rot and pest damage, and the smoothie dream looked unattainable for me.

But through trial, error and research, I figured out what works. Now I only lose around 10% or less of my strawberries.

Try these easy solutions to get rid of the pests, troubleshoot the issues and increase your strawberry harvest. Then get your blender ready.

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1. Lay Pine Needle Mulch Around Your Strawberries

This is probably the best thing I did for my strawberries. Fill a bucket or two with pine needles and lay them all around your strawberry plants.

The pine needle mulch is acidic, so it feeds the strawberries as it breaks down. But the real benefit is that it gets the strawberries off the soil to help keep them dry and prevent squishy rot.

The side of my house is lined with pine trees, so I have a limitless supply of pine needles. But you can also probably get some from a friend’s yard. Replenish the pine needles each year.

Pine needle mulch in strawberry garden

Related: Pretty landscaping ideas for your raised beds

2. Plant a Bug Deterrent Like Garlic or Chives

Next, surround your strawberries with something pests hate, like strong smelling plants. I grow chives and garlic right between my strawberry plants in my raised beds.

Something is wrong with these bugs. I think chives and garlic smell amazing. But the bugs hate them, so now we’re creating an inhospitable environment. Bye, bugs.

Using garlic and chives as a pest deterrent

Related: Where to order plants and seeds online

3. Use Insecticidal Soap to Get Aphids Off Your Strawberries

Are you seeing little black bugs under the leaves of your strawberry plants? Those are probably aphids.

Aphids suck all the juices and goodness out of your strawberry plant leaves. To make it worse, this creates a sugary honeydew secretion, which then attracts ants.

Ugh. Is the whole universe trying to sabotage our smoothie-making dreams?

When I got an aphid infestation, my strawberry harvesting came to a halt, and I had to get serious. I cut back and discarded a couple of the highly infested leaves and sprayed the rest with Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap, straight onto the leaves.

Boom, we’re back in business.

4. Stop the Ants

Next I had to remove the ants that were brought in by the aphids. If you try a natural remedy and it works, please let me know about it in the comments.

In the past, I’ve used this ant trap outside of my garden beds to draw the ants away. I hate to do it, but I need my strawberry smoothies.

Ants can take over the whole rest of my yard, but come on, leave the strawberries alone!

Stop ants from eating strawberries

Related: How to attract beneficial pollinators to your garden

5. Feed Your Strawberries

If you get funny shaped strawberries, that can be due to a lack of nutrients in the soil. Give your strawberries some fertilizer, they’re hungry.

Strawberries like nitrogen and well balanced 10-10-10 fertilizers. The pine needles will help. You can also add compost, or scratch in blood meal under your mulch.

Related: Basic gardening supplies you need

6. Go Strawberry Picking Often

Fresh strawberry from the garden

Finally, get out there and harvest those strawberries. With everbearing varieties, you might have new berries to pick every day for a couple of months. Snatch them up before the pests have a chance to get to them.

More ideas for your garden:

Strawberry gardening tips and pest control
How to grow more strawberries and stop pests

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