Should I remove old strawberry leaves? Diary of a Rocket Gardener

I’ve been pondering my approach to growing strawberries. I have a large strawberry patch on the go, measuring approximately 8m long x 1m wide. There are around 200 plants in there. It sounds like I’d get to harvest a LOT of strawberries, but sadly the squirrels beat me to it last year. Grrr. Lesson learnt though, I have my netting ready and waiting, so my strawberries will be covered as soon as possible once fruits start to form!

Anyway, the thing I have been pondering is all the brown dying leaves that are abundant at the moment. These are the old leaves from last summer that are dying off as new leaves grow through. What I’ve been pondering is that many gardeners cut their strawberries back in late autumn/early winter, so that the new leaves can grow through. I’ve never done this.

I was giving it some thought as I plodded through the veg patch this morning. Eventually I reached the conclusion that I think cutting them back in winter is not entirely necessary – I’ve had my strawberries on the go for over 3 years now, and each year I get a decent crop, even if it’s only the squirrels, slugs and blackbirds that get to eat them. The old leaves seem to die off naturally and the new leaves come through looking vibrant and healthy every year. All those nutrients from the old leaves must break down and go back into the soil, feeding the roots and nourishing the new leaves. It seems to me that mother nature has everything in hand and is looking after my strawberries quite well – after all, I started with just 12 plants, and now look how many are growing!