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Strawberry Plants and Fruit bushes - weed control

I have a few raised beds ( old pallet collars) which I have planted some fruit bushes in -  Gooseberries, Currants and some rhubarb.  I also have some raspberry and blackberry canes too, running along the fence.

The problem that I have is that the slugs and birds seem to get most of the strawberries and the every cat in the neighbourhood seems to see my raised beds as the local toilets, which means that the kids cant go and pick the fruit as I am worried they will stand in cat mess.

I was wondering if I could put some weed control fabric down and spread some gravel over the top, this would hopefully stop the weeds and might deter the cats and the slugs etc. I don't want to use Slug pellets or chemicals but I really need a solution which will be safe and effective.

I did try bark chippings last year but the strawberries didnt seem to like them and l lost a few plants and did not get many strawberries. I wonder if I put gravel round them would they rot?


Any advise would be grateful.  Was also thinking of a fruit cage or a net which would stop the cats and birds.  But I guess the slugs would just find a way in through the bottom. 


Thanks for reading 


  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    In my experience, gravel is useless for detering cats from using the area as a toilet. In fact, it makes the problem worse.

    I've had many problems with my strawberry beds this year and next year I've decided to plant them in vertical planters - a bit like a living wall in design but on a smaller scale.

  • gardengirl6gardengirl6 Posts: 223

    We have a simple framework, with a fine-mesh net over it to keep birds, and cats, from our soft fruit.    I have read somewhere about growing strawberry plants in a length of guttering, which can be propped up on supports to keep the slugs off - just an idea.

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    Netting is the answer for birds and squirrels, careful siting with little or no access for the slimy ones for the slugs and snails.  My raised bed for strawberries is made of brick, with a good rough surface, the slugs and snails dislike using this to access the fruits, there are easier things for them to attack.  The berries in pots and growbags have copper tape around them to discourage them - and as I said, netting over all - the somewhat stiffer type in which the birds cannot get tangled.  All we need now is some sunshine to give us some berries to protect!!

  • Hello NJJ272,

    I agree with marshmello that cats love gravel, but they do not like large grade gravel, so you could use that. They like the small stuff that looks like a litter tray.

    Emma team


  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    The weed control membrane is a good idea though, as it will keep the fruits clean - but the slugs crawl across it very easily - there are no really good answers to keeping strawberries completely  untouched that I am aware of, maybe others know more.  Netting and vigourous observation for ripeness and quick removal then seems to work best. 

  • NJJ272NJJ272 Posts: 9
    Thanks, we have gravel at the top of the garden for the kids swing etc and the cats seem to avoid it, however I was wondering about some of those stacking tubs - shaped a bit like a clover? But I was worried the plants might dry out. Sounds daft considering how much rain we have had.
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