How To Prune Strawberries



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How To Prune Strawberries

Strawberries might be one of the easiest fruit plants to grow at home due to their resilience and minimal care requirements.

However, there are still certain areas of garden maintenance you need to take care of to ensure continued growth, health, and fruit yield. 

One example of this is pruning – a practice that is paramount to continued plant health and fruit production. But what exactly is the benefit of pruning your strawberry tree, and how can this be done? 

Why Do Strawberries Need Pruning? 

Like all plants, pruning can be largely beneficial to strawberry plants because you are removing dead or dying portions of the plant, ensuring only the healthy parts of the plant remain. 

This means that the plant isn’t supplying food and essential energy to dead parts of the wider plant – instead providing the healthy, living parts the food they need to continue thriving. 

A good comparison would be amputating a limb that is poisoning the rest of the body or that no longer serves its purpose.

Once this is gone, the rest of the body (or plant, in this case) can heal, adapt, and thrive. 

What Are Some Benefits Of Pruning? 

As well as this, certain benefits associated with pruning make it a vital part of the growing process. 

Encouraging New Growth

When you cut a plant back or remove the parts that are no longer alive, then you can actually encourage new growth for the next season, or indeed, the season that is up and coming. 

This is essentially fine-tuning the plant so that only the hard-working, thriving portions are left and any dead weight has been removed.

While it can be hard to cut parts away, it actually makes the plant stronger as a whole moving forward. 

Controlling Disease

Plants, like animals, are prone to various forms of disease and parasites, and if it is these are causing areas to die, then removing those damaged areas is paramount to continued health for the rest of the plant. 

The rest could soon follow suit if these areas are not pruned from the plant. 

Rejuvenating Old Plants

You can also use pruning to rejuvenate aging strawberry plants and give them a potential new lease of life.

While all plants ultimately have a shelf life, pruning can actually do as mentioned above – redirecting attention to the healthier parts of the plant (like the roots) and encouraging new growth. 

Ensuring you have well-fertilized and optimal soil is also crucial for your strawberry’s health and well-being.

*For our detailed and tested organic fertilizer recommendations, please see the article Best Organic Fertilizers for Strawberries: Boost Your Crop Yield Naturally.

Increasing Fruit Production

In some cases, careful pruning can also increase flower blooming and fruit production in plants, meaning that you could get a better yield come harvesting season than you otherwise would have. 

This once again relates to directing the energy and food to the healthier portions of the plant and abandoning those that have become dead weight. 

How To Properly Prune Strawberry Plants

How To Properly Prune Strawberry Plants

Of course, when it comes to pruning any particular plant, there are specific ways and means to go about it – especially if you are looking for the best results possible. 

Removing Damaged Areas

Strawberry plants get damaged in gardens – there are simply no two ways about it – and this damage is often out of control, either due to adverse weather conditions or to animals having a nibble on our beloved gardens. 

Removing damage is one of the most important parts of pruning and one that can ensure a healthier growing season moving forward.

You want to remove any dead stems, shoots, or leaves with strawberry plants. 

This will promote air circulation and prevent plant disease contraction (or spreading). 

Thin Out Crowns

The next thing you need to do is thin out the individual plants’ crowns.

The crown refers to the leaves on the plant, and if there are too many, this can stop rainwater and sunshine from getting to the soil and hinder the growth of each plant

You should remove some of the leaves, ensuring there are just a few per plant and this way, you can ensure longevity and lasting health.

Cut Back Runners

Runners are the new shoots that strawberry plants can naturally grow and can be used to grow new plants. 

These should be cut back to around 6 inches long, and this will redirect the energy back to fruit production instead of the growing of new plants. 

You want to maintain and encourage what you have for the time being, not put half of your eggs in another basket. 

When (And How Often) To Prune

Of course, when pruning any plant, it is important to choose the right time and to do the right amount to ensure health. 

If you have June-bearing plants, they should be pruned in winter to ensure a good spring-growing season.

The same goes for ever-bearing strawberry plants, which can also be pruned in late winter or early spring. 

However, if you have day-neutral strawberry plants, you can feel free to prune them any time of the year.

You just need to ensure that you do not prune in late summer, as the heat of the season can cause damage to the more important core of the plant if too exposed. 

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, everything you need to know about pruning strawberries and the best methods to ensure the plant’s health and longevity. 

It’s true that strawberries are some of the simplest fruits to grow at home, giving a large harvest, an attractive plant, and a pleasant hobby to keep you busy.

However, without the proper maintenance and care, this easy plant can soon become a nightmare in no time. 

So, if you want to know how to prune your strawberry plants, then be sure to follow this handy guide. Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!

Further Recommendations:

Video: Pruning Strawberries

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