Harnessing Strawberry Runners: Maximizing Your Strawberry Yield

Strawberry plants are perennials with fruit that produce fruit a year to two after they have been planted. Strawberry plants will produce runners as they mature. These are long stems that look like strings and have small nodes. This allows the plant to reproduce itself. These nodes are basically clones that create new plants.

A small plant node that produces small strawberry leaves can also produce what is called adventitious root, which means they will search for a suitable place to root. All June-bearing strawberries and most day-neutral or everbearing varieties produce runners.

Strawberry runners can be thought of as young strawberry plants. In the right conditions, they will self-propagate or be separated from the original plant and planted separately as new plants. You may notice that over time, new strawberry plants will appear next to the original plant: these are clones produced by strawberry runners. Learn how to use strawberry runners successfully to grow more strawberries.

What Are Strawberry Runners?
Strawberry runners are also known as stolons. They are small plant nodes that grow from a stem. These nodes produce tiny roots which allow for propagation. They can also be planted.

How can you grow more strawberries with runners?
The runners are the strawberry plants’ way of self-propagating. Using these runners to propagate can give you more plants and more berries. It is especially beneficial if your perennial strawberry beds have plenty of room for runners to grow.

Remember that the energy used to produce strawberry runners can eventually affect the plant’s capacity to produce fruit. The majority of strawberry plants will produce fruit vigorously for up to five years. After this, runners may cause an overcrowding of the strawberry bed and deplete its energy. Transplanting runners will replenish your strawberry bed.

Transplanting Strawberry Runners
It is best to dig up new strawberry plants, which have grown from runners in the fall. This is between late September and early October. It gives them time to re-establish themselves and start producing berries in the spring. Plant them like you would any new plants from a nursery. Use good organic soil and mulch with straw, if you wish.


What you’ll need
Equipment and Tools
Garden spade
Shears and snips for pruning
Materials
Organic soil
Straw for mulching
Instructions
Collect Your Strawberry Runners
Look for small strawberry plants that are growing next to your main strawberry plant in early autumn. Use a small spade, or any other tool that you use for transplanting in your garden to gently dig them up. If the runners are still attached, gently cut them.

Prepare Your Strawberry Runners
Shake off any leaves or weeds from the roots of your strawberry runners before planting. Add some new soil to the strawberry runners and plant them. Strawberries prefer neutral, rich organic soil. If you want, you can create a new strawberry bed.

Plant your strawberry runners
Plant the runners after you have prepared the strawberry bed. Give them plenty of water and tamp down the soil around their roots. For a good start, water them every other day during the first ten days. You can either add straw mulch right away or wait until spring to do so. Mulching your lawn in the fall will provide some protection for winter.

Strawberries: How to Care for Them
When your strawberry runners appear in the spring, you should treat them like new strawberry plants purchased from a nursery. Strawberries are a little fussy when it comes to water. They need the right balance of moisture and sunlight for optimal fruit production. Growing healthy strawberries is possible with a few simple tricks.

Strawberries: Harvest them
Depending on the variety, your strawberries will grow normally and you should be able to harvest your first berries by June. It can take a few years for the young runners to produce fruit. Keep adding new plants to your strawberry patch and you will see it produce a lot of fruit every year.

The FAQ
What can I do with strawberry runners
If you want, you can remove the runners from your strawberry plants. You can also encourage them to root and grow more plants or separate them from the strawberry plant.

How do I remove strawberry runners?
Trim back some of the runners if your plants are producing a lot. Otherwise, you may find that your strawberry plant produces fewer and smaller strawberries.

What happens when you cut strawberry runners?
By removing runners, you can direct more energy towards the main plant and produce larger berries.


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