Pruning Strawberry Plants

Strawberries need pruning

Fragaria ananassa.     Full Sun     Soil pH: 5.5 to 6.5

First Season Trimming and Pinching Back of Strawberry plants

Remove the flower stalks of June-bearing strawberry plants as they appear throughout the first growing season. More production can be expected if the plants are allowed to attain large size before fruiting. Remove the blossoms of day-neutral and everbearing types of plants as they appear until about the middle of June in the first year of planting only.. Then allow flowers to set fruit for the duration of the season. Remove the flower stalks carefully with your forefinger and thumb so as to avoid damaging the stalk of the strawberry plant.

Diagram for Pruning Strawberry Plants

If you are uncertain as to what variety of Strawberry you are growing, or that you want to grow see our page on Strawberry Varieties

Trimming Runners

Trim back the runners. Runners are small trails and shoots from the main plant . Trim these back to the mother plant, so they don't drain essential nutrients. Some gardeners prefer to leave the runners on June bearing strawberries, which will work also. But you will probably loose control of the strawberry patch and the quality of berries will decline significantly.

You can also use runners, to start new plants. Once the runner {Daughter plant} hits soil it will begin rooting , once it has rooted - then detach it from the Mother Plant.

Post Season Trimming

Strawberry plants should be mowed back at the end of the production season, generally late Autumn. Cut them about one inch above the soil, run right over them with the lawn mower. Have the mower set on a high enough setting so as not rip the plants up by the roots.

This helps to keep them productive for the following season.

Diagram for pruning roots of a Strawberry Plant                                 Diagram for placing strawberry plants

Prune damaged roots , Trim excessively long roots to approximately 5 inches in length

Winter Protection

After Mowing down the plants, in order to protect strawberries against winter injury, a layer of mulch is recommended. If plants are unprotected, low winter temperatures may kill the fruit buds and damage the roots and crowns.

Alternating freezing and thawing conditions in the spring can cause heaving of the plants. Mulch should be applied before the temperature drops below 20oF (-6oC).

Once the temperature drops below 15oF (-10oC), damage to the plants begins. However, if the mulch is applied too early before the plant growth stops the crowns may rot.

Clean hay or straw make the best mulching material. Do not use tree leaves, as they mat down and smother the plants.