Every gardener is delighted when his lovingly cared for strawberries open in abundance in the spring, because they promise a bountiful harvest. If the Fragaria goes on a tour of conquest with her tendrils, the joy is mixed. While some are grateful for new, free plants, others see offshoots of strawberries as useless energy robbers. Both considerations speak in favor of cutting them when the time comes.

Foothills – a sensible arrangement of nature

Strawberries are herbaceous plants that reproduce above ground by creeping. Therefore, the formation of runners is not a disturbance in growth, but a meaningful action of the plant. She would like to reproduce vegetatively in this way and conquer new areas, even if there is also the possibility of seed reproduction. However, not all commercially available varieties form tendrils.

Tip: The monthly strawberries ‘Mara de Bois’ and ‘Wädenswil’ are two varieties that do not form runners. There are many more.

Follow without cutting

In order to decide whether it makes sense to prune the vines and young plants, we should consider the implications of not doing so. The following key points should clarify this:

  • young strawberry plants are forming on the tendrils
  • so-called foothills or also called Kindel
  • they take root and grow larger over time
  • initially, however, they are taken care of by the mother plant
  • she lacks this energy for fruit development
  • Kindel finally become independent Fragaria
  • in the foreseeable future they too will sprout tendrils
  • the increasing number of plants forms a thicket
  • individual specimens compete for space, water and nutrients

The points listed above make it clear that order must be created in the strawberry bed so that the plants in it thrive optimally. Depending on what use the foothills have on strawberries, both the procedure and the time for cutting differ.

Trim unwanted spurs

When runners on strawberries are not desired, they can test the gardener’s patience. They come in large numbers throughout the growing season, so removing them from the bed becomes a strenuous job. Especially when the children are already firmly rooted in the ground. In addition, since each day of growth drains valuable energy from the mother plant, the timing of its removal cannot be chosen early enough.

  • be on the lookout for it as early as May
  • remove tendrils found immediately
  • as soon as they appear and before they take root
  • Cut at the leaf axils at the base of the shoots
  • dig up already formed and rooted children
  • repeat this maintenance work at regular intervals

Cut offshoots for propagation

Strawberries bear well only in the first three years, after which the yield decreases noticeably. That is why the bed is regularly rejuvenated with new plants. What could be more obvious than taking the offspring from your own garden. It is available completely free of charge. During the harvest season, you can also mark the best-bearing and tastiest plants and use their offspring for propagation. The optimal time for propagation is the period from the end of July to mid-August. Since the foothills on strawberries are already visible from May, proceed as follows in the meantime:

  • Choosing kindles for propagation
  • they should only come from healthy plants
  • mark with sticks or labels
  • Kindl close to the mother plant are the strongest and largest
  • their chances are the best of blooming next year
  • Cut off rooted specimens at planting time and transplant
  • In the meantime, plant non-rooted children in small pots
  • however, do not cut off the connection with the mother plant until mid-August
  • then plant them or overwinter in a pot in the basement
  • Always cut all unneeded runners early
  • remove from the bed immediately
  • stay tuned to this work, since new growth is to be expected all the time
Tip: Let the Kindel form their roots in the pot, the soil of which does not come from the strawberry bed. In this way you avoid spreading fungal diseases to the new bed.

Don’t tear, cut!

The strawberries do not form any woody parts of the plant. The thin tendrils are still surprisingly stable. At most, when they are just beginning to sprout, you can pinch them off with your fingers. Therefore, go through the bed with sharp, clean scissors or alternatively with a sharp knife. Don’t tear at the tendrils. The unclean lacerations cannot heal well and are also entry points for pathogens. If the children have already formed roots, they are sometimes surprisingly firmly attached to the ground and may have to be lifted out with a mini spade.

Idea: If the tendrils have already grown into fairly large strawberry plants, it’s far too good to throw them away. Maybe a garden neighbor will be happy about them.

Cultivate strawberries as ground cover

Lazy gardeners use the climbing strawberry varieties as ground cover. At the beginning, some strawberries are planted about 20-25 cm apart. Over time, they will close the gaps between them with their offspring. From time to time it will also be necessary to clear something here if the harvest is to be right. Older plants that are no longer well-bearing are removed from the bed. The best time to do this is immediately after harvest. Occasionally it will also be necessary to slow down their urge to spread so that there is also a piece of free soil for other vegetable and fruit plants.

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