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Renovating strawberries this late?

Posted by ajsmama 5b (NW CT) (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 9, 13 at 16:04

I know, it's a month later than I meant to do it, but things have been busy (and July was too hot). My plants are crowded so close it's a solid mass of foliage, some foliage is spotted, I have to thin but I'm wondering

1) should I mow first or thin first? If I thin first, at least I can pull out those plants with the spotty leaves.

2) If I mow before transplanting, it will make it easier to see the crowns, but will the plants survive transplanting with the leaves shorn off? Will leaving runners on the mothers, with foliage on the runners (they're shorter so we could probably go right over them) help the plant get established, or will leaving runners on at all take more energy from the mother?

3) What are the chances of runners taking if I cut them off the mother plants and then transplant the runners? Most of them (at least the ones on the edges of the bed) don't have roots yet.

Thanks - trying to figure out the best way since I didn't do this right after harvest and frost is coming sometime this month!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

Well, seeing as no one else has chimed in, I can give you the info I just received with my runners from NCGR:

"Protocol for Rooting Fragaria Runners

These runners have been removed from the 'mother' plant prior to completion of the rooting process so care in assisting them to root properly is required. A standard commercial potting soil is a sufficient medium in which to root the runners.

1. Use the container of your choice such as a 1 gallon pot or a flat. The soil should be at lease three or four inches deep.

2. Place the runner intact on the surface of the medium. Anchor the the runner at each growing crown with a u-shaped clip such as a half paper clip. The root initials at each crown need only to be in contact with the medium. They will grow rapidly into the soil.

3. Keep the medium moist but not over watered and place the pot in a filtered sun lit area. Do not place in direct sun until the rooting process is completed.

4. The rooting process should be completed in about a month. At this point you should be able to separate the individual crowns (plants) into their own pots or garden spot for future strawberry production."

This doesn't answer your question about mowing but it sounds like it would be best to divide then conquer.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

If it were my patch at this point would probably just leave it alone. I'd be a bit leary about mowing over. Not sure how big your patch is, but maybe some selective thinning, revovating, might be your best option.

If you leave it alone you probably won't have to mulch it for the winter. The heavy foilage should do the trick protrcting the crowns until spring.

I thought my patch was too overcrowded this spring, and we got more berries than we ever have. 12+ quarts from a 6' diameter patch.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

The runners will die if not well rooted before cut off the mother plant.

The idea of renovation is to thin out the patch to allow air and light into the plants and get rid of diseased material, and to replace the old crowns with new ones. Take it from there.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

Sounds like I should remove the diseased ones (don't mow so I can see) and maybe just move runners to those spaces(and let them stay in the veggie garden, just not the lawn) to root. Then move them in the spring. I just started the bed last year so the old crowns aren't that old (2-3 years?) but if I can tell which they are, I'll pull them out and let last summer's "daughters" be the remaining "mothers".

I may just mulch the roots so they don't heave, and cover so the deer don't munch on them (like they did last year).

Lots of moving to do in the spring - I'll just cover the bare earth in the new bed area to keep the weeds out til then.

90 today, heavy rain tomorrow, maybe I can get out there and thin this weekend. No fertilizing this late.

Thanks everyone. Hopefully next summer will be a bit more temperate and I can renovate right after harvest.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

Not seeing the advantage of moving the runners in the fall just to move them again in the spring. If you have a new bed already prepared and daughter plants growing now, move them now.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

I was just going to "place" the runners in any bare spot they could easily reach (either within existing bed or in the veggie garden they are crawling into), w/o moving the mother plant. Then cut the apron strings in the spring and move the now-adult offspring to new bed.

I was thinking not enough time to establish the new bed if I dug up crowns with runners that hadn't rooted, then the crown/mother would have to re-root while the runners were also rooting, most likely wouldn't make it?

We're heading into a period of below-normal temps now (low-mid 60's, nights in high 30's-low 40's) and I don't know when/if we're going to get back to our normal Sept high 60's-mid 40's temps before Oct comes with its frosts.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

Are you planning to keep both beds going next year?


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

Yes, since DH just prepped area at west end of existing bed to make it longer (and narrower, so won't gain much space). I've positioned some of the runners at the west end of old bed into the east end of new bed (there is a foot or so between them that needs to be weeded and dug out after I remove hoops). But runners are going every which way - north into veggie garden and what used to be a narrow path between berries & veggies, east and south (over stone wall) into lawn. I was thinking of just letting the northern ones go into the veggie beds for the winter but repositioning the rest (that won't reach new bed area) within the old bed after pulling out diseased crowns.

Old strawberry bed is along top of stone wall to right of picture, extended to left (west) where you can see terraced area that looks like a really high wall (it's actually 1 behind the other).


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

Wow, nice garden, I wouldn't mind seeing more photos.
I'm moving strawberries too. But I did renovate mine on time. I also have everbearing types, and day neutral. Also Pineberries, which were not renovated as they never fruited yet, well 2 of 3 cultivars didn't fruit one did, and they are fantastic berries. But what they are? June or everbearing is unknown to me? Anyway all runners are being moved to a new bed. Weather is about right. Next week I'll do it.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

That looks like a great place for a strawberry bed, sunny and well drained.

The thing is with strawberries, you always have to keep throwing out perfectly good runners and plants. The tendency to save them has to be suppressed, just keep what you need.

If your original bed is really overgrown, which is how they get, you probably can dig up and discard the old diseased mothers, keep enough daughters and still have enough rooted daughter plants to transplant to the new bed.

The necessity to mow the bed under these circumstances is overstated. While you're digging, you can cut off diseased leaves and rake the old bed afterwards to clean it out.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

Oh yeah, it's really overgrown, I started with 29 plants last summer, dutifully pinched off flowers, had 100 plants (carefully placing the runners) by this year, and now its so thick you can't see the ground.

So, I'm getting confused with generations here. I'll call the 29 I put in last year the "grandmothers", the runners that rooted last year and early this summer the "mothers", and the runners that are just starting to root/haven't rooted yet the "daughters".

So, I'll pull out the "grandmothers" if I can ID them, also anything diseased. The well-established "mothers" will stay, allow 2-3 healthy "daughters" to root now wherever they can, and move them in the spring? Or are you saying I can move what I'm calling mothers and you're calling daughters to the new bed now before frost? Remove the runners if I do that?

Thanks - I still have a lot to learn about berry cultivation! Still have to prune the brambles too - and really should move some of those but I'll start another thread.

Drew - here's a picture of my brambles to the west of this area, earlier this year. I also have a main garden area with tomatoes, peppers, beans and peas (last year was tomatoes peppers and potatoes), that's not so pretty. Also a small area where I did edamame this year, want to make that blueberries next year (and forever after) since I can easily screen it in.

Trying to build a couple of low tunnels for next year too.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

I would transplant now, however many young, healthy, well-rooted plants you can find. Pinch off any runners they start to make in the new bed, until next year.

If you have enough for the new bed at a spacing of about 12", that's good. Then you can work on clearing out the old bed.

I wouldn't be that concerned about which generation, as none of your plants are really old yet.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

I did have spacing of about 12" for the 100 plants I started this summer with LOL. Thanks, I won't be worried about which generation I'm moving, as long as they're healthy (I don't know how old the 29 original ones were). And I'll clip off the runners when I move them.

Rained heavily for a little while here, but I think the worst is yet to come.

Thanks for you help.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

OK, here it is a week later and I'm finally getting around to tackling the job. Started out with 29 plants that turned into 100 (carefully placing runners) in 33x3ft bed. Now there must be 1000 plants out there! I haven't hit a crown yet that looks bad, but every one so far has some yellow or at least red-spotted (some shotholed) leaves. Been pulling them out but at this rate I won't have anything left! How do you tell which are truly diseased and which are just superficial (since the foliage is going to die anyway with the first frost)?

Should I just leave/transplant any crown that looks green and healthy (while maintaining 1+ ft between of course)?

Highs in 70's the next couple of days dropping to more seasonable 60's, some rain (yeah!) expected Sunday, lows again seasonable low 40's to "warm" around 50 for the next 10 days so if I transplant ASAP (next 48 hours?) maybe they'll have a chance to get established?

TIA


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

Do you want 1000 strawberry plants? I suspect not. Then you have to get rid of some, no matter how healthy.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

No, I don't have room for 1000 strawberry plants (unless I don't do a veggie garden near the house next year). My question was, do all the plants with red-spotted or yellow leaves have to be destroyed? I just went along the stone wall and dug out all the ones that were really close/shallow, transplanted some of them to the new area, but I haven't even started really thinning the interior of the bed, or narrowing it down on the uphill side.

I'm just afraid that I won't find a single unblemished plant - the ones I did transplant didn't look too bad, if one had a couple of spotty leaves I pulled them off. I also only transplanted ones that had a good root system (some had grown in between stones in the wall).

You always hear not to take transplants from other people's gardens (though that's how I got the original plants, and they looked good), so how do you decide which ones are "safe" (or best) to keep/transplant from your own?

I even saw 1 flower and a couple (small, deformed) berries! Maybe these aren't June-bearing?


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

Well, that's one reason why people advise mowing the bed, to mow off the old leaves. Then you can't see them and they won't bother you. So I think you're doing the right thing, cutting off the old leaves. Then get all the dead leaves out of the bed before winter, so they don't rot there.

Once in a while a plant will bloom and/or flower late, doesn't really mean anything.

I suspect your strawberry bed will be fine.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

So as long as the crown looks nice and green, not mushy and brown, I can leave it (providing there's room - in fact, I may leave it crowded a bit now and put the thinnings in pots in the spring to sell)? As long as crown and roots look good, it's good to transplant? Leaves don't matter at this point in the season (after a lot of rain in June, I'm surprised they don't look worse)?

Thanks for patience with a total newbie!


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

Sometimes people overthink and overworry. Strawberries are pretty tough plants.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

That's me, a worrywart. So what *do* I look for to see if a strawberry plant is diseased and should be pulled? Of course I do want to thin some (maybe not to 12" right now, might do 6" and then see what survives the winter, thin/transplant more in the spring), so I'll be pulling healthy ones but I want to make sure I'm getting all the diseased ones.

I am raking the dead leaves out with my fingers as I thin - I haven't started giving them haircuts yet, should I just cut off the spotty leaves (which are most of them) and leave the (newer) healthy ones to die a natural death? Of course I left green leaves on the ones I transplanted yesterday, figuring plants would need to photosynthesize to get established, I'm just wondering about the ones I'm leaving put.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

Did your berries show evidence of disease during the season? If not, they probably don't have it now.

For me, the worst disease problem is botrytis, gray mold, that spreads from dead material into the soil. But really you can't practically eradicate it from the soil. Moving to a new bed, as you're doing, is the best thing to thwart most common diseases. Thinning out the bed to let air circulate is the next best.

If you do get a disease spreading in your beds, you should pull everything out and start over in new soil. But you don't seem to have that problem. If your plants were dying over last season, you'd know it.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

I had a little bit of botrytis early in the season but managed to keep ahead of it and didn't see any by the last week of berries. Do you think it moved into the soil? I was pulling dead leaves and was very careful about disposing of the moldy berries.


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RE: Renovating strawberries this late?

Found this link - says not to mow after Aug since new buds are forming. So I missed it this year (Aug also best time to transplant), I'll just keep thinning this weekend and take out dead leaves, maybe some spotty ones but leave most of the foliage. The ones I transplanted last week aren't looking so good though I did water them in and we did get rain later, I'll have to replace some of those in the spring.


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