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How to Divide Strawberry Plants

Like many kinds of perennial fruit plants in the garden, strawberry plants reproduce themselves via daughter plants growing at the ends of runners. Runners grow away from the parent plants, rooting daughter plants at some distance from the parent. Left untended, a strawberry patch can quickly become choked and clogged. Thinning the strawberry patch is essential to consistent fruit production.

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  1. Dig and lift the target clump of strawberry plants. Large plantings will require the use of a shovel, while smaller plantings may only need the use of a hand trowel.

  2. Loosen dirt from around the roots with your fingers, gradually working upward toward the crowns of the plants. Strawberry crowns are the thick stems from which the leaves of the plant emerge and where you will make the division. Several strawberry plants may be crowded around each other in a tight cluster, so search carefully for the top of each crown as you work on the division.

  3. Tease apart the crowns by ruffling the roots beneath the stems. Once the crowns begin to loosen, grasp the plants just beneath the leaves, at the thickest part of the stem and pull gently until the plants separate. Continue this process until each individual crown has been separated out from the clump.

  4. Replant newly divided crowns by digging a hole deep enough to allow the roots to spread out completely without bending. Crowns should be planted so the soil rests about halfway up the crown structure; improperly planted strawberry plants may rot or fail to flower and fruit.

  5. Tip

    Thinner plantings of strawberries can be propagated simply by removing the daughter plants from their runners and relocating them to a spot where you'd prefer them to be growing.

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Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or hand trowel
  • Garden gloves (optional)

About the Author

Michelle Z. Donahue has worked as a journalist in the Washington, D.C., region since 2001. After several years as a government and economic reporter, she now specializes in gardening and science topics. Donahue holds a bachelor's degree in English from Vanderbilt University.

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