Tips for Renovating Strawberries
This article was originally published on June 16, 2011 and expired on July 16, 2011. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.
Strawberries, particularly the June-bearing types, tend
to produce a lot of runners and daughter plants in a patch. This leads to
overcrowded plants that compete for light, moisture, and mineral nutrients and
leads to a reduction in the amount of berries produced in a strawberry patch,
said a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator.
"In order to minimize competition among plants and
maintain a productive June-bearing strawberry patch over an extended period of
time, the patch needs to be renovated immediately at the end of harvesting
season every year," said Maurice Ogutu.
"The patch can be renovated until the plants have
had three to four fruitings or until the plants are not performing optimally.
The plants that are not performing optimally may be destroyed and a new
strawberry planting established on a different location," he said.
Ogutu described renovation as the removal of the higher
percentage of old strawberry plants from established plantings to allow natural
replacement with new daughter plants that will produce more fruit. Renovation
leads to thinning out old plants in order to provide more space for new plants.
Weeds are also controlled during renovation and it enables fertilizer to be
applied and incorporated into the soil.
"When the strawberry plant has fruited, its ability
to fruit again is drastically reduced," Ogutu said. "The patch can
only be rejuvenated by removing most of the old plants so that the remaining
plants can produce runners, runners that will develop into new plants. The new
plants will produce more berries with higher yields from the patch.
"Renovation should be done every year, and no more
than one week after the harvest," he said. "The strawberry plants
tend to become semi-dormant for a period of four to six weeks after harvest. If
the weather is dry during this period, the plants may resume growth when a
suitable rainfall occurs or after irrigation," he said.
Renovate strawberries by following the directions below:
--Mow the foliage by clipping the leaves and leaf stalks
about 1 inch above the crowns. Mowing plants to ground level may injure the
crown where the runners arise and this may lead to the death of the plants. Do
not mow plants if they are unhealthy.
--Narrow the strawberry row to 10 to 12 inches wide. Rake
the leaves from the selected area. Remove plants outside the selected area
using a shovel or a rototiller. Weeds are controlled at the same time, and the
weeds in the selected areas where strawberry plants were not removed can be hand
pulled or controlled by applying recommended herbicides.
--Apply complete fertilizer or fertilizer types
recommended for your area at the rates of 1 to 2 pounds per 100 square feet by
broadcasting on the patch.
--Water the plants or irrigate by applying 1 inch or more
of water. If it is too dry, apply water to ensure that the root zone is well
soaked up to a depth of 6 inches. Water will dissolve and leach fertilizers to
the plant root zone. Water will activate herbicides to control weeds and also
stimulate growth of new shoots, runners and daughter plants.
Source: Maurice Ogutu, Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pull date: July 16, 2011