Strawberry plantings require mulching for protection from the cold and soil heaving that can result from sudden drops in temperature.
Approximately 4 inches of clean (weed-free) wheat, oat, or rye straw or salt marsh hay should be applied in December. Do not apply mulch in clumps because this can smother plants. Mulch should be removed in spring, usually from mid-March to early April, after the danger of freezing is past but before much leaf yellowing occurs. Straw should be left in the rows as a bed for the berries to ripen on.