In cold-winter regions of the country, strawberries need winter protection. The traditional mulch is straw (hence the name strawberry), but any weed-free, lightweight mulch may be used. In some regions, shredded corn stalks or marsh hay may be more readily available. Use whatever you can easily find. Apply the mulch 2-6 inches deep after the plants have experienced several freezes in the mid-20s. It's important to wait until cold weather settles in so the plants are dormant. Pull the mulch off the crowns of the plants in spring when growth begins. This usually happens after high temperatures hit the low 70s for several days in a row. Be on the alert to rake the mulch back over the plants if frosty nights are predicted during bloom.