This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
In answer to your correspondent "T," in the June number of the Horticulturist, respecting tan-mulching for Strawberries, I think his error consisted in applying too much tan-bark immediately over and around the plant For ten years I have used tan-mulching for Strawberries, but I never permit more than a quarter or half an inch deep immediately-around any plant, and none whatever so as to clog or smother the plant The rest of the bed I cover from one to two inches deep, and apply it when I set out the plants or dress the bed either fall or spring. I have never lost a single plant from mulching with tan, but think they have been greatly benefited. The only thing I dare cover the plant with, even to the depth of one inch - which is abundant for our coldest winters - is clear loose straw; and that I remove from off the top of the plants on the earliest opening of spring, so as to give the plants an abundance of good air constantly. The sulphate potash and ammonia solution should be applied freely and directly on the plants and leaves, if not stronger than ¼ lb. sulphate potash, ¼ lb. suph. soda, (glauber salts,) and 1 ½ ounce ammonia, to 6 gals, water. The tan is excellent to spade in after using for years as a mulch.
If any doubt this, let them place a few chips of old tan-bark under a new plant and in a few months the fibrous roots will fasten in great numbers on every part like tree roots to a bone. Amateur.