I planted a nice strawberry patch which will be 3 years old this spring.I read somewhere that strawberries start to lose their production capability around 3 or 4 years. Is this really something I need to be thinking about?
I have heard the same. My patch was 3 years old last year and produced well. My wife thinned them out and moved some of them around and I believe I will have a banner year this year. What I suggest is this: Take about 50% of them out and move the plants to another location or replant in your patch. Fertilize. In this way you can get more mileage out of your patch. Someone with more knowledge may want to weigh in here.
I agree with Charlie. This patch was 3 years old last year, so in fall I removed about 1/2 of the patch. The remaining plants will send off runners that will fill in the spaces.
I've done this on older beds and have been happy with the results.
I agree with the others. In spring 2012, I had one single very neglected 3-year old plant that had survived the winter uncovered by straw, which for fun I decided to re-pot into new soil, and from there it sent out dozens and dozens and dozens of runners. So then in fall 2012, I pulled all the new plants -- I counted like 36 or 40 plants that all came from just one! -- and with these I replanted into a well spaced double-row patch in my garden that is 15-20 feet long. I expect the ones that survived this Wisconsin winter (hopefully half?) will send out enough new runners again to make a very full and productive patch this summer. I got a few berries last year, but now I should have a nice sizeable amount all summer. That is my hope. I have no reason to believe that it won't work, especially since I selected this from a hardy neglected plant that survived a few winters already uncovered and unscathed.
I think there are a few tricks that work well:
1) In spring or fall, carefully and by hand pull all the plants, rootball and all, and replant into new or well supplemented soil. I agree with the advice of the others that if you already have a well established patch, you should throw away or relocate half the plants in order to make room for new young and more productive ones. But I also think the old ones will do very well in new or well supplemented soil.
2) Pull all the blooms for the first month or so in spring when they begin blooming. This gets the plants out of wasting resources on very early fruiting --too early, too young -- and instead into a much more vegetative state that results in many more leaves to support the new plants, and runners to go out, which is all crucial until the new plants are well enough established.
3) Keep well watered. With strawberries, it is almost better to water too much than not enough. They are thirsty plants.
4) And keep the weeds out, of course, by whatever means necessary. I will have to experiment to find out what works best in my new patch. Perhaps, if the leaves are bushy enough, they will shade so much of the area that weeds will not be so huge of an issue? Wishful thinking, I am sure. We'll see.
Best of luck to you.
This will be my third year with my 'Mara des bois' day-neutral strawberries. I cannot wait to see what kind of crop I will get this year. Year two was quite slim but I have over 200 plants. I'll see what happens.
I keep hearing how patches run down after the 3rd year, but mine has been going strong and also spreading for six years or so. We get more strawberries than we can freeze and jam up. Had planned to till under part of the bed last spring, but wasn't home due to family issues, so left it. Will probably till part of it under this year. My Junebearing ones produce many more berries than the everbearings. Northwoodswis
northwoodswiss, how do you keep out the birds, mice, voles and squirrels? Thanks Mrs. G
It's a pain but I use a net. Once the berries are forming I put 24" stakes in the ground and run a net over them. You only need a few tall stakes but make sure you pin down the edges every few feet.
.Richard from Minnesota i'm planting 50 everbearing Fort Larmie and 50 june bearing Winona Gaint strawberries in a raised bed 27'' high x 6' x 24' one year bare root plants from Henryfields .they will be one foot apart each way . my question is when i plant them this spring can i pick them this year for canning with out harming the plants or do i have to wait until next year to pick them???