I have a strawberry bed that I have not dug and completely refurbished for 3...

Asked May 4, 2015, 6:21 PM EDT

I have a strawberry bed that I have not dug and completely refurbished for 3 or 4 years. The berries were small last year. How do I know what the the old plants look like compared to the new strawberry plants that have come up?Should I dig out only old plants or should I dig everything out, and start completely over?

Goodhue County Minnesota

3 Responses

Thank you for your question.

The University of Minnesota has a brand new eBook on growing strawberries in cold climates. It is an excellent and will provide answers to your questions as well as other great information.

Thanks, but I need to move NOW on my backyard 5x10 strawb bed..... PLEASE
Could you give couple tips , or have someone else respond. Re: how to identify
plants that bore last year, and maybe should be dug out??
Thanks for your help!

Without knowing what varieties / bearing types of strawberries, I can refer you to the Extension publication Strawberries for the Home Garden. http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/fruit/strawberries-for-the-home-garden/. More specifically, here are the two sections from this publication on renovating June-bearing plants, and everbearing and day neutral plants:

Renovation of June-bearing cultivars: A strawberry bed will require yearly renovation to keep it healthy and productive. After harvest is completed each year, mow off the foliage of the plants using a standard lawnmower taking care not to damage the crowns of the plants. This practice helps control leaf disease and stimulates runner production. After 1 - 2 weeks, rototill or hoe to narrow the rows to half the original width. The production of new runners should again result in rows 12 - 18 inches wide. Because fruit yield and quality decline over time, a strawberry planting should be replaced every 3 - 5 years.

Care of everbearing and day-neutral types: In the year of planting, all flowers should be removed until July 1, after which time the plants are allowed to flower and set fruit. Runners are normally removed as they appear, especially if the 'hill' system is used. Renovation is not practiced with everbearing and day-neutral types. For maximum productivity, replace the planting every 3 years. Day-neutral strawberries may also be treated as annuals. Irrigation, mulching and weed control are the same as for the June-bearing types.

I really recommend you read the entire publication as it has good information on planting , pest management, and cultivars that will be helpful as you re-establish your plot.