Do You Have to Renovate Strawberry Beds?If you do not renovate the bed, the plants will form a thick mass, choking themselves out and eventually they will stop producing strawberries. Renovation is recommended annually for June bearing strawberries and every 2–4 years for other varieties. Strawberry plants produce best when they are young. Since they send out runners that become new plants, thinning the older plants and allowing the new ones to fill in will keep your strawberry patch in continual production.
When is the Best Time to Renovate the Strawberry Bed?Wait until after you harvest, to do any renovation. After the berries ripen and are picked, the plants are in a semi-dormant stage. This is the best time to move them.
How to Renovate a Strawberry Bed
- Weed the bed.
- Remove all the leaves, before new growth starts. You can use a mower for this. Set it high enough so the leaves are clipped, but the crowns are untouched. ( This step isn't crucial, unless your plants have a lot of leaf disease. But it will help to regenerate the planting. )
- Cultivate or till between the rows of strawberry plants, so that the rows are thinned or reduced to about 12 inches wide.
- Thin the remaining plants so there is 4–6 inches between each plant. The remaining plants will send out runners that will develop into new, more productive plants.
- Side dress with a complete fertilizer and a ½ to 1 inch layer of soil.
- Water thoroughly and make sure the bed gets at least 1 inch of water each week afterward.
- Be patient, the bed will recover and become lush in no time.
An alternative approach is to lift and replant the rooted runners in the early fall. This will give them time to become established and they will be ready to produce strawberries next season.
One final option is to grow your strawberries as annuals, replanting each spring.