Ideas & Inspiration
How to Fertilize and Mulch Berries
From succulent strawberries to super-nutritious blueberries, small fruits are the backbones in edible landscapes.
While every type of berry has its quirks, all have one thing in common — shallow roots benefit from year-round mulch. When you fertilize your berries and renew mulches in early fall, the plants will have everything they need to prepare for next year’s crop.
Most berries grow beautifully when mulched with shredded wood such as pine bark mulch, hardwood mulch or cypress mulch.
- Strawberries need to be weeded and pruned by late summer. Fertilize with a balanced organic fertilizer, water, and then mulch between plants, taking care not to bury the central crown, the place where the stem meets the soil. Fine-textured pine bark mulch is easy to spread, but pine straw mulch looks lovely and discourages slugs.
- Blueberries need a good feeding in the fall with half the recommended amount of an organic, acidic fertilizer. Follow with a deep watering and mulch 4” deep with any wood-based mulch.
- Raspberries reach their full potential when kept constantly mulched with at least 3” of organic mulch material such as weed-free straw. A light application of a balanced organic fertilizer won’t hurt, but all raspberries really need is mulch.
- Wild blackberries grow with little care. But cultivated varieties should be fed and mulched in early fall, which is also a good time to prune. Topping back new blackberry canes to 4’-5’ tall forces plants to produce more fruit.
TIP: Use The Home Depot’s mulch calculator to find out how much mulch you need.