Planting Strawberries – Blueberries Into Oats – White Clover
The goal of this project was to investigate the feasibility of planting strawberries and blueberries into a cover of white clover and winter-killed oats for weed control.
Oats and white clover were planted in August 2000. In April 2001 there was a variable cover of winter-killed oats and sparse cover of white clover. In mid-April 2001, the site designated for strawberry planting was reseeded with 15 pounds per acre of white clover. By late April, a strong stand of white clover was growing.
Three thousand strawberry plants and 1000 blueberry plants were planted in early May 2001. The strawberry plants had a difficult time competing against the white clover and had problems with competition from ragweed within the rows. Dean believed that in September the strawberry plants were 25% of the size that clean cultivated strawberry plants would be at that time of year.
Dean believes the blueberries competed more successfully with the white clover. The ground cover in the blueberry fields was primarily white clover, with some other vegetation and grasses scattered within the rows. Some tip dieback in the blueberries appeared in late May and again in early winter. The cause of this dieback was not identified so it is unknown if it was related to the treatment.
Economic returns were not yet available at the conclusion of this project. Dean believes the white clover was detrimental to the strawberry planting but could not quantify the effect until yield and berry size was available the following spring. The blueberries will not have yield data available for several years but Dean planned to continue using the white clover ground cover in the blueberries, albeit with more mulch on the blueberries to provide a barrier to the white clover within the blueberry rows.