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Mulching young strawberries

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Dear permies,

This is my first post, but I'm reading the forums for a few years now. My question is about strawberry plants in zone 7b. I started the plants in the spring from seed then transplanted in the ground. Now the strawberries are quite small but they seem to be doing well, lots of green. You can see them in the two attached photos. Some even started growing fruit but I took them out so they spend the energy on roots.

Now the freeze came, we even had snow one day but it melted same day. And one day hale. Should I put mulch on the strawberries? I read that I should prune all growth in the fall but the plants are so small that all I can do is cut all the leaves. Will it be ok if I just pile up mulch on the plants without pruning? Or the mulch should be around the plants?

I am also not sure why some straberries like in the second photo has red leaves, while others have only green leaves? Any idea? Maybe different species? because it's true that I used two different types of seeds.

Thank you!
[Thumbnail for strawberry1.jpg]
Strawberry photo 1
[Thumbnail for strawberry2.jpg]
Strawberry photo 2
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Eddie:  Welcome to the brave new world of posting to permies!

I grow strawberries in USDA zone 4b. I ignore them in the fall. I don't prune. I don't mulch. They thrive.  I expect that in your warmer climate, the plants may continue to grow all year long. It would seem detrimental to the plant to prune off perfectly healthy leaves.

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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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We use straw mulch all year long on our strawberries.
The straw really helps keep the berries off the soil which seems to help with berry rot and insect damage as well as retaining moisture in the soil.
They over winter quite well, we just add new straw as the previous straw breaks down.

I've never cut them back, just leave them alone and pick the berries as they ripen.
winter here, they generally keep putting on new growth and runners.  

The red leaves are usually found on some of the newer hybrids. It seems that as the leaves age, they do the color change.

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