Q+A: Thinning the Strawberry Patch
I have 60 strawberry plants. I fed them compost, pinched the blossoms, and moderately weeded them last year while they grew.
I wanted to thin them, but I can't tell the "mother" plants from the runners very well. I let the plants just run and spread and now the patch is just FULL of strawberry plants.
How do I know what plants to pull and which ones to leave?
Good question about thinning. If you missed thinning out runners last summer, you can still thin your patch this spring. The remaining plants will have more space and be more productive.
Now, the patch will likely look better in the spring as new leaves make it look uniformly green... but don’t let that stop you from thinning.
When plants are too densely planted, there are fewer berries, and they tend to be small.
Just stick with that 6” rule, though it’s merely a guide, and you need be too precise.
Which plants to thin? The mother plants, which are still fairly young, will likely be the most productive. So I’d look for the largest plants and assume they’re the mother plants—and aim to keep them.
But if you’re in doubt as to which plants are the mother plants, don’t sweat it. You’re not going to spoil the patch if you yank out a few mother plants too.
The main thing is that your patch be fairly full, yet well spaced.
Gardener, Garden Writer, Garden Coach, Horticulturist
CLICK HERE TO READ MY ARTICLE ON STRAWBERRIES
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