Last summer we planted the native strawberry, Fragaria chiloensis, from flats in two large parkways under large magnolia trees. They were well mulched and are on a drip system. Meanwhile they are not thriving. They are hardly growing and as we understand from various literature these plants should be fast growing. What could be the problem?
Thank you for the help.
Strawberries require light, more than they are able to receive under shady magnolia trees. Also, drip is a terrible way to water ground covers of any type. In order to thrive ground covers need to be irrigated in such a manner that the entire area that you want them to cover is watered. For ground cover under Magnolias (I'm assuming you are taking about the evergreen magnolia), I would suggest Liriope spicata, also known as 'lily turf'. These grassy, mounded plants grow to 12 to 18 inches tall and have shallow root systems that do not have to compete with the magnolias thirsty network of roots. Once they are established you should only have to water them once or twice a week.