Strawberry Runner Plants

Help, I am being overwhelmed by strawberry runner plants and I don’t know what to do with all of them. I planted a strawberry patch 3 years ago and it has grown to about 3 times its original size. The plants are so thick that I have a hard time finding the berries. I have to step on plants to get to the middle of the patch.

Your problem sounds very familiar. Strawberry plants are very productive in producing new runner plants. Strawberry beds have to be thinned once a year to prevent them from becoming so thick that they actually produce less fruit. The best spacing for strawberry plants is 6 inches to a foot apart.

The newest runner plants will be the most productive in producing fruit next year. The oldest 3 year old plants will be the least productive. So as you thin your patch, remove the oldest, largest plants first. Then if it is still too thick, remove some of the new runner plants also.

You could also start a new patch by moving the new runner plants as soon as they have developed roots. Start with a spacing at least a foot between plants.

Do you have an open spot in your vegetable garden? Now is a good time to plant some leaf lettuce and spinach for late summer and fall harvest. It only takes a month from seed sowing for leaves to be ready for harvest. A planting of lettuce or spinach now will produce well into October.


Allen Wilson

Allen has been writing about gardening for over 30 years. He is a retired professor of Horticulture.

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