After a bumper crop of super strawberries, how do you ensure next year also has fabulous fruit? In a recent Pots & Trowels video, Martin Fish shared his expert tips and advice for how to treat your strawberry plants right now to make sure they provide you with more bountiful harvests next season, from feeding and pruning to propagating new runners. You can watch the video below, or keep reading for all the tips, tricks and equipment you need to ensure your strawbs go from strength to strength!
When Should I Prune My Strawberry Plants?
Summer is the perfect time to tidy up and prune your strawberries, as once you’ve picked all the strawberries you can and they’ve finishing fruiting they can start to look a little tatty and sorry for themselves.
Now is the time to give them a good tidy up to promote some new growth, and that’s the same whether you’re growing them direct in the garden or if you’ve got them growing in pots, hanging baskets or any form of container – it’s time to give them a bit of a rest.
How to Prune Strawberry Plants
Giving your strawberries a prune is very simple, all you need to do is cut all of the growth down to what is called the ‘crown’ – that’s where the plant grows from ground level – and then give them a good feed and they’ll produce some new growth.
If your strawberries are in pots then grab your trusty Darlac pruners, gather up the foliage and give your plant a really good haircut. Cut off the foliage and pick out any dead leaves – if you’ve got a compost bin they can all go in there – and just give each plant a good tidy round.
If you’re growing strawberries direct in the garden then you want to do exactly the same thing, however you can use either your secateurs or, if you’ve got a lot of plants and a lot of growth to get through, you could use a pair of garden shears and just work your way along trimming them all down.
Once you’ve clipped your plants down, you also want to pull out any dead bits from the centre of the plant, AKA the crown, as this is where all the new growth will come from and will stop the plant rotting. If you’ve been using mulch such as straw then now is the time to rake that up too and dispose of it – again that can all go in the compost bin if you have one.
After that, the next thing you want to do is give your strawberry plants a bit of a feed just to give them a boost and get them growing. Choose a feed that doesn’t have too high a nitrogen content, as you want the plants to develop strength but not too much lush growth. Sprinkle it on the soil around the plants – about a handful per square metre – and then work it into the surface by raking it in or just lightly forking the soil in so that when it dissolves it’s where it needs to be.
The final thing to do is to give any dry plants a good watering, as you want the feed to dissolve and you want the roots to have moisture, too.
How to Propagate Strawberry Runners from Strawberry Plants
You’ll also notice if you’ve got strawberries in your garden this time of year that they start to produce runners. Runners are the strawberry’s natural way of producing more plants. They start producing roots and eventually miniature plants on the stems where they touch the ground and come into contact with a bit of moist soil or compost. They begin to grow and then, within a couple of weeks, you can detach the runner and you’ve got yourself a new plant!
Normally, you would cut the runners off because they take quite a lot of energy out of the plant and naturally you want all the energy to go back into the plant to produce even more strawberries next year, but if you want to produce a new plant or a few new plants for next season, then save a few of those runners.
To propagate the strawberry runners from your current plants, all you do is get a little plant pot – or a tray if it’s in the garden – and push the growing runner so that it’s in contact with the moist soil. Then, get a piece of wire, a paper clip, even a few stones or something similar, just to hold the runner in position on the soil, and it’s as simple as that!
If the runner has any straggler stalks then you can just trim them off as you don’t need them. Keep the runner moist and it will root within a couple of weeks. Once it’s rooted, you can cut the main stem off too and there you have your new strawberry plant.
The secret is, of course, to only produce runners off of healthy plants. If they’re not good, healthy plants then you will have to unfortunately buy some new ones.
Follow these simple steps and you can look forward to a flush of new foliage on strong, healthy plants and then, of course, later some tasty strawberries next season!
Where to Buy Darlac Tools
Make life a little easier for yourself by using the right garden tool for the job. You can find our Darlac products in store from your local garden centre. Find your local Darlac stockist here.
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