Getting My Strawberries to Fruit

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by dt-van, Aug 31, 2021.

  1. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    A couple of years ago I inherited a small allotment garden bed with a bunch of strawberry plants on one side - a 2' x 8' strip of small plants with lots of even smaller runners. The site is in full sun with pretty good soil.
    I don't know the variety, and since they rarely fruit I don't know if they are supposed to be 'everbearing' or not.

    The plants seemed a bit crowded so I thinned and replanted the bigger ones in small mounds of soil in hopes of getting a smaller number of big vigorous plants and a good fruit crop. Instead, I got small plants making lots, and lots, and lots of runners, but very few flowers and almost no fruit. This year I tried removing most of the early runners in hopes that the plants would concentrate on making flowers, but again, no luck. I got almost no fruit and the bed is again full of small plants and runners covering the ground in a mat. The larger 'mother' plants are only about 6" to 9" diameter and the bigger leaflets are about 50 to 60mmmm long.

    What can I do to turn this into a productive strawberry bed? When should I start?
    Can I rehabilitate some existing plants or should I just compost them all and start over with new plants?
    Which plants should I keep - the mothers or the daughters? How do I chose the best ones?

    Should I remove everything and work mushroom manure or something else to the soil before replanting selected plants, or should I thin and top-dress them in-place without disturbing the roots? Is mounding important if there is only a single 2' wide row?
     
  2. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Well-Known Member

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    from personal experience,

    mound your rows as they like moisture and prefer good drainage. Absolute must is FULL sun.
    Trim back the runners regularly.
    We have an ever bearing variety , still producing well now. Fruit production did not really get going until mid July. Prior to that it was sparse. We are in Chilliwack BC, not far from you
     
  3. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    Mounding but not crowding out the plant with soil

    And lots of good food - would you say, Otto? @Otto Bjornson

    I wonder if the little garden the OP has fortunately inherited has run out of nutrients.

    We had prolific strawberries growing up on a coast farm - and sunny all day, well drained soil enhanced with the previous year’s well-rotted sheep manure applied sometime early spring before new leaves flowers

    I forget the variety name but certainly one of the common popular ones circa 1970.
    I think we would plant one row of what were runners in order to have productive plants the next year.

    I know our raspberries were Willamette - the river & valley in Oregon
     
  4. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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  5. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Well-Known Member

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    We fertilize generally late Feb / early spring. Shallow roots on strawberries, just like raspberries. The past few years we have just used our own compost comprised of mostly organic garden waste, coffee grounds, etc. In the past we have used well composed cow manure from a distant neighbour
     
  6. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Dt-van, since you don't know what strwberry variety you have, it might be one that is not suitable for your area. It would be best to replace them with one or more varieties that are known to be productive in this area. I recommend day-neutral everbearing types, which will produce a crop over a long season. The varieties that I have found to be productive are Tristar, Albion, and Seascape, all readily available in the spring. The first is the tastiest one, but more disease-susceptible than the other two.

    After setting out new plants in early spring, be sure to remove all of the early flower clusters until sizable leaves have developed (usually early June).
     
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  7. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Strawberrys, especially some cultivars, tend to turn infertile if they have been neglected for some time (being overcrowded, not weeded properly, not watered during droughts, as a result of strong pest attack, being grown in unfavourable climate, growing too many years at the same place, letting too many runners to grow etc). This process is generally irreversible. You should obtain new fertile plants. When propagating from your own mother plants, select daughters only from plants, that were productive this year. Preferably those with visible signs of having flower buds. Some strawberry cultivars are more susceptible to this problem than the others. In my area one notorious cultivar that had this problem was Soviet era cultivar Festivalnaya. But I have seen this issue on more recent cultivars also (Polka, Senga Sengana, Jonsok, Venta, Honeoye)
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2021
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  8. Sulev

    Sulev Contributor

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    Strawberries should not be at the same bed for more than 4 years in a row, so better move your strawberry bed to somewhere else, if you are not sure how long the previous owner used this bed.
     

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