Once strawberry plants have finished fruiting, they will put out runners. These look like long stems with baby plants attached at intervals. Left to their own devices, the baby plants grow roots and will try and take hold in the soil. If they do, then they become separate strawberry plants that will produce some fruit next year.
Here are three ways of tending to your strawberry plants at this point in the growing season:
Cut off Unwanted Strawberry Runners:
Use a pair of secateurs to cut off any runners that you don’t want. It feels a bit brutal as you may have the desire to let the poor things grow, but if you don’t have the space then it is better to cut them off and pop them in the compost. You will need to do this again once or twice until they stop producing runners as colder weather comes in during late autumn.
Allow Strawberry Runners to Take Root:
You can let the strawberry runners take root in the soil – you may want to tease them into the right place, so that they are not putting their roots down in pathways, for example. If necessary, you can peg them in place or just weigh them down with a stone. If you have a dedicated strawberry patch in a raised bed or similar, this is a good option, and minimal effort involved. Over time, though, the bed can get overcrowded, so it is probably sensible to cut off at least some of the runners!
Pot Up Strawberry Runners:
It’s very easy to peg the runner into a small plant pot filled with compost. Once the runner has set its roots down firmly you can separate it from the parent plant by simply cutting the stem that connects the two. You can then grow them on in their pots, transferring them to a larger pot or planting them in a new bed once they get bit bigger. Doing this is also a good idea if you’d like to give some plants to friends and neighbours…nearly everybody loves homegrown strawberries!