How to Transplant Runners Off of Strawberry Plants
Methods for growing strawberries vary for each region. Different plant varieties are better suited for each climate. Take advantage of your local extension service to find the best plants for your garden. Plant once- bearing and ever-bearing varieties to extend the season.
One of the best ways to expand your strawberry patch is by removing and replanting the offspring. Little plants grow off of runners put out by mature strawberry plants. They will root on their own but still receive nutrients from the parent plant. Removing them will give the adult plant more vigor. Not all strawberries proliferate this way but the majority of strawberries do. June-bearing strawberries provide the most runners. Mature strawberry plants are productive for about three years. By the time they begin slowing down, the baby plants will begin producing fruit.
Transplanting Strawberry Runners
Cut the small plants from the runners. Do this in the fall as soon as the baby plants have a well-defined cluster of leaves and visible roots. The runner can be completely removed from the parent and the baby plant with garden shears.
Prepare the planting bed. Choose an area that has good drainage. Use a spade to loosen the soil 6 inches deep. Spread a minimum of 2 inches of compost over the loosened soil. Use a small shovel to incorporate it in. Strawberries can grow in a matte form or in rows.
Plant the strawberries. Place the plants 8 inches apart. Dig a small hole for each one. Plant the baby plants deep enough to bury the small roots. Never bury the crown of the plant.
Water the bed. Water new transplants well right after planting. Keep them moist throughout the rest of the growing season.
Mulch your strawberry plants. In cold regions it is important to mulch strawberries. Use a loose material like straw or decomposed leaves so the plants can breathe. Cover the majority of the plant. Do this as soon as the ground becomes cold but not frozen. In warmer regions a top-dressing of compost around the plants will be sufficient.
Remove the mulch. Pull back mulching materials in the spring. Do this once the ground warms up to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This is around the same time vegetable gardens are planted. Leaving the mulch can cause crown rot.
Pinch the flowers. Remove the blooms on new strawberry plants. This will allow energy reserves to go to the roots and crown. The plant can be allowed to produce fruit the second year.
- Methods for growing strawberries vary for each region. Different plant varieties are better suited for each climate. Take advantage of your local extension service to find the best plants for your garden. Plant once- bearing and ever-bearing varieties to extend the season.
- Garden shears
- Small shovel
- University of Illinois Extension Service
- Sunset Western Garden Book; Sunset Books; 2007