Clipping Strawberry Buds

fishacuraMay 18, 2012

I've never grown strawberries before. I believe I have heard that in order to have each plant produce larger berries, it's a good idea to pull off the initial buds in early spring. First, is this true? Second, assuming it is true, I'm wondering the right way. I have some plants that have 2-3 flowers on them right now. Should I go ahead and remove? Should I wait for the fruit to get a little bigger then pull them off? Should I leave them alone? Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

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ltilton

Usually, the first fruits of the season are the largest ones. I wouldn't do it for that reason.

People advise removing the flowers the first season so the plants can establish. That may be what you heard.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 3:35PM
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blackrag(6A East PA)

Fish,
It is my understanding that you want the plant to use it's energy the first year establishing itself instead of using that energy trying to bear.
I planted strawberries last year and it was painful removing every flower that occurred knowing that it could have been a berry. As I type, the bed is loaded with flowers and green berries. I have high hopes that it paid off.
Chad

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 3:48PM
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fishacura

So then pull them all off this year....no fruit???

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 4:15PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Either way your going to get fruit this year and the next. And youll get runners or clumps and make new plants so I dont really see the reason for pulling off berries the first year.

How about this pull them off of some of your "clones" the first year. Honestly I dont think it really matters. Not getting an entire years worth of fruit for what? A somewhat larger harvest next year? Is it really worth it considering the plants themselves constantly self propagate and you could basically have fruit whenever you want due to the fact that you can re new your plants ALL THE TIME...LOl

Serious, is one year of fruit pulling really worth it on a plant that never dies?

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 4:40PM
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steve_in_los_osos

I think the idea of pulling off the flowers has already been mentioned: to let the plants get established before they try to support and mature fruit.

That said, what I have always been told is to take off the flowers *while the plants are small* in order to let them size up a little. For example, I planted Seascape strawberries bare root. Two leaves (or less) later, many of the plants began sending out flower stalks. I clipped those off. Ditto for the Sequoias planted from six-packs. I stopped taking off the flower buds in March. Now the plants are off to a good start and berries are already sizing up on both varieties.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 7:05PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

I understand it is to let the plant establish itself but if I dont pull the flowers off will the plants not be able to support berries in the future? Right now I have alot of flowers and small berries on my newly planted strawberry plants. So if I dont pull these off will my plants not grow them to their full potential? Or wont be able to grow more or support a large harvest? I dont get it. So if I pull off the 5 or so flowers/small berries now for a few more later? What if the harvest will be the same regardless if I pull off flowers now or not. Is it too late in the season to make a difference? Has anyone really done a full test on the benefits of this method and at what time in the season we should start clipping flowers? Im not trying to be a jerk Im just trying to understand.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 10:56PM
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steve_in_los_osos

I think it depends on a lot of factors, one of which is the size and condition of the plants going into the ground. If you are profligate and plant from 6" pots, you can let those puppies fruit their genes off. Bare root, I'm not so sure.

Think of it this way: leaves and roots supply the food that makes the fruit. The plants don't know that we want to tease them into living forever. Their only object is to reproduce and that means making seeds (and/or, in the case of most modern strawberries, runners, so that even MORE seeds can be made; strawberries take over the world!!!!!!!!!!).

So I figure, give the poor plants a break. I can wait a little. Stressing plants with small root systems and not much leaf structure is an invitation to pest and viral attack (strawberries are notorious for suffering from viruses).

Climate matters too, of course. Perhaps where you live your strawberry plants are off and running from the get-go. Here at the coast where marine clouds and cool breezes predominate, every plant (except weeds.....) needs a helping hand (even if that hand is ripping off its flowers...).

Whatever works.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 11:33PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

Yes my plants were planted from fairly medium sized peat pots. They are nice sized plants and when I planted them they had only two flowers. That was a week ago. Today I counted 3 berries and as many as 5 new flowers on each plant. So I couldnt see pulling flowers on plants that are so productive. They are somewhat "medium" sized plants though. I guess I can see the logic behind pulling flowers on small plants to allow them to grow and establish first. Makes sense.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 11:55PM
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jolj(7b/8a)

You remove flowers & runners the first year, unless it is ever bearers, then it is the first month.
If you winters are not to harsh, then plant in the early Fall & mulch before the heavy freeze & do not remove any flowers.
Also each plant should be aloud to produce only two new plants per season.
I will try to find the book I read this in.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 12:17AM
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ltilton

Fall is defintely the best time to plant strawberries, but it's hard to get the suppliers to cooperate and sell them to you then.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:58AM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

So after the allowable 2 plants, do you clip the remaining runners or let them grow and make berries?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 4:34PM
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blazeaglory(10 SZ22/24 OC Ca)

So today I clipped all the new little greenies and flowers off my plants and only left 2 big greenies on each plant, just to get a taste this year.

Im going to chop all new runners except for the last few which Ill root to fill the pots. By then it should be late summer/fall.

Next year should be good I hope. Thanks to the OP for starting this thread and all the good info!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2012 at 12:37AM
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