Redirect Strawberry Runner Plants

Strawberry plants are busily sending out runners with new plantlets. Some of these plantlets are already sending roots down into the soil. Even if they have started to root, they can be moved or redirected so that they are not crowded or growing into areas where they are not wanted.

Strawberry beds tend to get overcrowded with plants and expand in size so that is difficult to pick fruit without stepping on plants. They become less productive after a few years because plants produce less fruit as they get older. Plants also produce less fruit of smaller size when they are crowded. The plants that will produce the most fruit next year are the new runner plants developing right now.

I begin removing old plants of June bearing strawberry varieties as soon as I have enough new runner plants established to replace them. As soon as the new plants are well rooted, I cut the runners attached to the mother plant and then remove the mother plant. The new plants can be moved to respace them as necessary or remove some of them if there are too many. Strawberry plants are most productive when there is at least 6 inches between plants. You have to be ruthless in discarding plants to keep them from becoming unproductive.

If you have everbearing strawberry varieties which will produce another crop of fruit later, wait until fall to thin and reorganize your bed. This is a good time to start a new strawberry bed using recently rooted runner plants.

Reorganizing or planting strawberry plants now or in the fall will give plants more time to become established than if moved in the spring, so they will bear more fruit next year.

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