How to Preserve Strawberry Plant Runners

Overview

One of the joys of growing a strawberry patch is that it is like an investment with dividends: You plant a few strawberries and in a couple of years, you will have scores of plants. If strawberry plants did not have any hindrances, they would just keep growing and take over your yard. However, the best way to get a bigger strawberry is by pruning off these runners (or stolons, as they are technically called) and let the plant focus its energy on the developing fruit. Instead of just tossing the cut runners, save them for new plants.

Step 1

Trim the runners from the mother strawberry plant by cutting their connecting stem about an inch from the base of the daughter plants. These new plants should already have a good set of roots before you trim them away. Throw away any weak looking or underdeveloped plants.

Step 2

Dig under the daughter plants with your hand shovel, making sure to dig down and then under so you do not sever the roots. Most of the growth is pretty close to the surface, so you only need to dig about four inches down. Lift the plant from the ground and keep the dirt in the root ball if possible. Place it in a bucket until you are ready for transplanting.

Step 3

Dig a new hole the same size as the root ball in the new location. If you have not worked the new site previously, add a lot of organic matter to the soil so that it is loose and easily moved. Set the daughter plant into the hole and bring the dirt up to the stem without covering the crown.

Step 4

Water the newly established strawberry plants and mulch with a thick layer of hay to keep the strawberries off the ground and to preserve water around the plant. Keep these new plants free of runners by pruning them until the plant is large enough to bear fruit and runners.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Hand shovel
  • Bucket
  • Hay mulch

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: Growing Strawberries
  • UCLA. The Mildren E. Matthias Botanical Garden: Strawberry: The Maiden With Runners
Keywords: strawberry runners, propagating stawberries, strawberry patch

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and eHow.com. Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.