Diminishing availability and increasing costs of herbicides cause strawberry growers to seek both chemical and nonchemical alternatives, especially for within-row weed control soon after strawberries are transplanted. Several weed control treatments for strawberry establishment were examined during 2 yr in Minnesota. Treatments included: woolen landscaping fabric centered over the crop row; as above, but 2-ply fabric; spring canola incorporated into soil when 30 cm tall; as above, but canola killed with burndown herbicide and left as mulch; standard herbicide, DCPA; hand weeded; and no weed control. Areas between all strawberry rows were cultivated. Measurements included weed densities and weights, numbers of strawberry daughter plants, and fruit yield 1 yr after transplantation. The best alternative treatment was the 1-ply woolen fabric. It nearly eliminated weeds from rows, promoted daughter plant rooting, and allowed maximum fruit yields, equivalent to those of the DCPA and hand-weeded treatments. Canola mulch controlled weeds inconsistently and achieved only modest to low production of daughter plants and fruit. Weed control and fruit yield with incorporated canola were similar to the weedy check treatment.
Nomenclature: DCPA; canola, Brassica napus L.; strawberry, Fragaria × ananassa Duchesne ‘Glooscap’.
Additional index words: Cover crop, landscape fabric, weed control, weed management.