Everbearing/Day-Neutral Strawberry Renovation

etherealsunshine(5b)April 23, 2014

I am in the midst of finishing two 5x9 raised garden beds connected by an in-ground perennial bed containing an espaliered row of fruit trees surrounded by chives/garlic and bordered in the front edge by a row of strawberries. I have planted Tristan and Loran day-neutral/everbearing strawberries (sources vary) at the edges of the raised beds, thinking that they won't put out many runners, and have a mix of june-bearing strawberry crowns to go in the in-ground row.

I'd like to renovate these patches to keep them producing for many years, but keep reading that day-neutral/everbearing strawberries are simply replaced every three years after production drops off and no "renovation" of the bed with new young plants is practiced. No one seems to state the answer to my question..."Why not?"

Everbearers/Day-Neutral varieties put out few, if any runners...understood. But, isn't it likely that when production drops off in the third year, a few of those elusive runners can be potted up and stored in dormancy to plant out the following spring (i.e. replacing the mothers with young daughters)? Isn't cloning (albeit in a sterile environment) the way that commercial growers propagate the "new" mothers anyway?

In a related question, I've seen many people post in this forum that strawberry beds should be renovated with newly purchased plants. If there is no indication of disease in the current bed, is there a disadvantage to using propagated runners to rejuvenate the bed beyond the extra effort?

Am I missing something? Why not renovate day-neutral varieties every three years with daughter plants? And besides disease being carried to rooted runners, is there a downside to propagating your own daughters for renovating a bed?

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When I've had day-neutral plants, I found they were throwing off about as many runners as the Junebearers.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 3:36PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Mine throw out runners like crazy. I suppose some cultivars would not. Yeah you can replace older ones, but it comes to a point where it is hard to tell. At least for me, they are like weeds! Plus new ones are so cheap, not very expensive for 25 plants. For me it's more I want to try other cultivars.

I'm not sure what you read? My old beds are usually cleaned of all plants after awhile. Sometimes I buy new plants to try, other times I use runners. I have a couple cultivars I like so i always use the runners. But sometimes I want to try other cultivars. This year I added a new cultivar.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 6:19PM
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I have a large bed of 4 varieties, half everbearing and half June-bearing, that has spread from 100 original plants. I have not bought new plants in seven or eight years, and it is doing fine. You don't need to dig and pot, either. Just cull out some of the old plants each year. It doesn't have to be an exact science. The easiest way is to till up a portion of the bed each year and let the bed gradually travel to new areas of the garden, but if you want to reuse the same spot, you could just remove some of the older plants each year.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 2:17PM
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Thanks to everyone who weighed in. Northwoodswis4, that's really what I wanted to hear: that someone has kept a day-neutral patch producing for several years with daughters. The till-and-wait method won't work for my small patch, but I get the gist of it.

I wrote a short follow-up yesterday...don't know where that post went. Basically, I wondered if there was any good reason not to renovate day-neutral varieties, other than making more money for commercial growers (I mean, aren't they cloning plants, too?). I enjoy starting cuttings and I think I'll enjoy the process of working the strawberry patch. So many of these "how to" guides make it sound so complicated!! And although strawberry starts aren't expensive, culling older plants and transplanting runners is...FREE!! I'd like to spend my $30 once...not once every 3 years.

So unless someone tells me that the runners will produce less vigorous clones than the mother was, or that using the same plants for several years invites disease, I'll be renovating all of my strawberries in the same way...and only buying plants when I want a new variety ;)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 12:21PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

One of the reasons I start sometimes with new plants is I have found strawberries to be disease prone. Often picking up leaf disorders. So it's hard to isolate clean runners from them. When I tried I just contaminated the new bed.
With old beds I clean them out grow something else there for a few years, then start a new patch. Maybe others have better luck keeping a patch disease free. It is not happening here. In zone 6a, my plants just started flowering, and they have had 3 fungal treatments already.
Sulfur-lime, Captan, and Bonide Fruit tree spray.
botrytis rot is a problem here, so I have learned to prevent it. The leaf diseases are really not a big deal, but
botrytis rot sucks. I have 5 strawberry beds. So produce hundreds of strawberries. The sprays I have to do for my trees, so the strawberries get them too. It's so wet and humid here in the spring you cannot produce pesticide free berries. If you want strawberries, you have to spray. My raspberries are unsprayed, so maybe I can find a strawberry cultivar that can not get botrytis rot? So far no luck. I leave new cultivars unsprayed, well some of them to see how prone they are. I grow a few in pots as the test subjects so they do not contaminate my beds.
Most Strawberries at Indiana Berry are 16.50 for 25, 30 bucks is way too much! Good luck with it, hope you do better.

This post was edited by Drew51 on Sat, Apr 26, 14 at 1:01

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:41AM
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Now we're getting somewhere...

Drew51, $30 was just a round number. I bought a mix of plants and dormant crowns. I think I got 36 nice plants for $30 at a big box store (I wanted the dark pink flowered Tristan cultivar). The other 60+ were bagged crowns for 30 cents or so each. I want enough strawberries to eat fresh, preserve, and share.

I have no problem using chemicals on the bed. I don't have time to be organic all the time. The two rows of strawberries are on either side of a row of fruit trees, so they will get overspray and I can include them in the spray schedule if it will help me keep the beds in the same location. If they don't make it, they will get replaced with garlic, chives, or herbs and I might have to buy strawberries at the store again :)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 2:52PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

It sounds like you will do well. Keep us updated! I use the fruit tree spray and Captan because both can be used against botrytis rot. I also wanted to get some sprays in early before the bees come around. And try to keep the fruit spray free. I will use Captan again, if I have to. I added
Mara Des Bois this year because it supposed to taste like a wild, yet is bigger. Mrs. G's favorite strawberry. I also grow the white Pineberry. I have 3 cultivars. I also have wild reds and whites, and musk berries. besides Summer, and everybearing. My favorite everbearing is Elan. The berries are excellent, they are big, and it each plant pushes numerous berries out. Hard to find though. i have many I would like to try too.

When i was talking about wild, here is what I mean, the darn things overtook this bed quickly!
Can you tell the originals from the runners? Don't plant them too close. This is a 4x4 bed.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 4:14PM
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How did you like the pineberries ? I have a few I just planted and I also raised a few alpines from seed. I want to get several types of strawberries and raspberries to see how I like them

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 4:28PM
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A lot of people use Immunox on their fruit trees, but when I did the same thing a few years ago and hit the strawberries at the same time, I noticed afterwards that it's not listed as effective against botrytis.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 5:13PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

I'm using Bonide Complete Fruit Tree Spray, and use for botrytis.on strawberries is listed on the label.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bonide Complete Fruit Spray label

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 5:28PM
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Just an update near the end of the season...

My row of june-bearers (Quinalt, I think) only had 5 big-box crowns survive. I may have been able to save a few more, but this bed was part of our lawn in March, so I got behind on keeping up with the weeds in a 30" x 25' row for five measly plants. (They have since taken off with a little more attention and the daughters have almost filled in the entire area behind the espalier row, but just a few blooms and no berries that I've found.)

As for the everbearers: the Loran and Tristan did very well in my raised beds as a border on the short sides of each bed and, despite a few small berries from dry spells, produced a few handfuls of berries a day in peak season. That is, if I could keep the birds and ground squirrels from sampling the ripe berries (The chickens were quick to scout the discarded berries behind the garden). The plants in-ground in our "lovely" clay soil didn't take off nearly as fast, but did end up producing a bit later.

I ended up replacing all of the crowns in-ground with Loran and Tristan plants, and although the slugs snuck up on me last month after a week of torrential rains, we've had a handful of berries every day or so for the last few weeks. I should note that Tristan and Loran varieties are nearly runnerless and were well-behaved even in the raised beds. That may make renewal of the everbearing bed a little more challenging!

I'll have to take a pic of the comparison between the everbearing row and the (5) June-bearing plants. I'm sure that letting the everbearers produce gave them a slower start, but the difference is comical!

I have to say, I love the dark pink flowers on Tristan, but the berries are slender and pointed...I got much plumper and slightly tastier berries from Loran. Tristan also seemed to bear on longer stems and berries would often rot from touching the soil before ripening--I think they would be ideal for a hanging container, though.

I do have some Captan for the fruit trees, but never did spray on a regular schedule this spring. They got some neem oil and then a couple spot applications of pesticide/fungicide when the japanese beetles started munching. The strawberries maybe got some overspray, but no direct application aside from a little Grass-B-Gon (Fusilade) on the most stubborn crabgrass.

We also built a garden shed in the backyard in early summer and I'm still building decks and finishing the landscaping now that the garden has slowed down and the weather has cooled...I had a busy summer!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2014 at 4:18PM
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