How to prune strawberries

Updated February 21, 2017

Strawberry plants are quick to produce fruit, usually within three weeks. Certain varieties produce three rounds of fruit, resulting in summer-long fruiting. The berries can be grown in large gardens or small, confined spaces. As they grow, strawberries produce runners, which grow into new plants. Results are best when the runners are kept under control. Pruning strawberry plants increases their vigour and results in a more productive crop of fruit.

Prune runners to encourage the strawberry plant to form several crowns. Use pruning shears to make the cuts. Allow a few runners to grow into daughter plants in the first year of growth. Cut off all other runners unless you want new plantings.

Increase the vigour of the strawberries if they appear weak after planting. Prune the first two flower clusters that form to make the plant more productive.

Pinch out all flower buds on June-bearing strawberries during the establishment year. Removing the first year of growth will let the strawberry plant develop energy needed for larger fruit yield in subsequent years. Let some of the runners develop daughter plants. Leave two or three in place in late July, and prune any additional runners.

Remove all flowers on day-neutral strawberries for the first six weeks after planting. Cut off all runners in the first year so the plants can become established.

Trim off the older leaves as they turn colour. Any leaves that appear to be diseased should be removed. Collect trimmings and discard them far from the strawberry plot so they don't spread disease.

Mow strawberry plants once the season is over. Leave them 2.5 cm (1 inch) above the ground to keep them productive in subsequent years.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Lawnmower
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About the Author

Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.