Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Caring for Strawberry Plants

New strawberry growth indicators:  top left is the stem from the mother plant, top right is the new root.

I’ve been told several times that strawberry plants stop producing strawberries after the first few years.  My initial reaction was to just leave my strawberry patch alone for the first few years and hope for the best, not quite convinced that I would need to replace all my plants after the first few years.  Well, as the saying goes, timing is everything.  This year, the year that I decide to commit to transitioning everything to edible landscaping, is the year that my strawberry crop has dwindled and my patch is looking very sad.  Several of my favorite magazines have also published articles about strawberries this year, so I have learned a lot and feel equipped to foster new strawberry plant growth without purchasing from outside providers. 

Here’s what I’ve learned and what I’ve been working on this week (and probably for weeks to come):

1.      The shoots that strawberry plants send out (their way of spreading) count as new plants and can be disconnected from the plant that is no longer producing well.  Thus, I have looked for new shoots that are in the process of rooting or are about to root. 
2.    If the new shoot has already rooted, I have disconnected it, dug it up, and potted it.  (As my patch is a mess, and I think I want to relocate my strawberries anyway.)
3.    If the new shoot is not yet rooted, I have dug up the mother plant and potted it.  Then, I placed the shooter over a separate pot, hoping it will take root in its own pot.  Once it has rooted, I can disconnect it from the mother plant and have a nice new plant. 

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