Why Should You Transplant Strawberry Plants?
Most strawberry plants will produce many runners over the course of its life. For the home gardener, this is great! You get to buy (or otherwise obtain) a few strawberry plants and watch them multiply themselves exponentially. However, the little fellas don’t know when to stop producing runners when the maximum productive capacity of a confined strawberry bed is reached.
So, a gardener who desires lots of high-quality strawberries will have to remedy this overcrowding. It can be done either by thinning the plants or transplanting the plants to a new area. Also, if the soil isn’t particularly well-suited for growing strawberries, transplanting strawberry plants to a rich, sandy loam with good drainage can make all the difference in the world.
Transplanting the unneeded strawberry plants to new beds can also help develop new strawberry patches and initiate a strawberry bed rotation system that maximizes strawberry production. Additionally, thinning an existing bed by removing and transplanting strawberry plants elsewhere increases airflow which can help reduce many of the fungal diseases (see the Strawberry Plant page for more details).
Transplanting Strawberry Runners
In general, the established plants are going to produce the most and biggest strawberries. It takes some time for a strawberry plant to root well and produce maximally, so a gardener should count on year 2 and year 3 being the years where a strawberry plant is most productive. Some strawberry plants will still produce exceptionally well in year 4, but most will start to lose a bit of their youthful vitality after year 3.
To leave the roots of the most established strawberry plants intact (so that they will continue to produce strawberries at their highest possible level), it is usually best to transplant strawberry runners that were sent off and rooted that year. To make transplanting strawberry runners easier, see the post on Strawberry Plant Propagation. Whether you let the strawberry runners establish at will or guide them so that they establish into moveable pots or containers, the next section will deal with what to do next.
When Is the Best Time to Transplant Strawberry Plants?
So, when should you transplant strawberry plants? If you purchase strawberry plants on the internet (see our directory of companies who offer Strawberry Plants for Sale Online or Buy Strawberry Plants by variety if you know which ones you want), you will likely be mailed the plants in the spring according to the recommended planting time for your hardiness zone. If you get them in the spring, put them in the ground as soon as possible.
As it takes a while for the plants to establish themselves, foregoing the smaller crop during the subsequent growing season after planting will provide much larger harvests in the following years (see the Growing Strawberries page for more details on removing flowers and runners).
If you already have an established bed, you should generally transplant strawberry runners that have already established themselves. Carefully digging up the younger plants should be done in the fall. Typically, late August is the best time to transplant for most of the zones in the United States. However, in the warmer zones of the south, transplanting can be done later. In the much cooler climates, transplanting strawberry runner plants can be done earlier.
By transplanting strawberry runner plants at this time (in late August), the yields obtained during the following growing season will be maximized. Remember, however, that strawberry plant transplants can grow successfully at just about any time during the growing season as long as they are well-watered and have a hospitable growing location, but transplanting them during the hot summer months takes its toll on the plant.
How to Transplant Strawberry Plants
It is important to know how to transplant strawberry plants correctly so that they aren’t unnecessarily damaged and the stress to the transplant plants is minimized.
- Prepare your new location first. Make sure it is hospitable, sunny, rich, sandy loam, well-drained with slightly acidic soil, generally well-suited for strawberry plants, and historically acceptable (see the Growing Strawberries page linked above for more on the best growing conditions and soil-history concerns).
- Select the strawberry plants you will be transplanting. Generally, it is best to transplant established, young runner plants that are only a few months old. Choose only strawberry plants that look healthy, and remove any flower buds, damaged or discolored leaves, and runners prior to transplanting.
- Obtain a substance or material that will hold moisture. Sphagnum or peat moss is probably best, but something as simple as wet paper towels is usually sufficient. It is very important to keep the roots of your transplant strawberries moist during the transplanting process.
- Dig up your selected and prepared runner plants (or other strawberry plants). Take care to remove as much of the strawberry plant’s roots as possible from the ground (so that most of the roots are attached to the plant). Once free of the ground, cover or wrap the roots with your moistened peat moss (or other selected moistener).
- Transplant strawberries to your new, prepared strawberry bed. Do not dig up all the selected strawberry plants at one time and then try to plant them all at one time. Transplant one strawberry plant at a time. After each plant is in the ground at its new location, water it thoroughly before transplanting the next selected strawberry plant. This minimizes stress and increases the probability of success. Waiting until all the plants are transplanted before watering all the transplants simultaneously with a sprinkler or other apparatus may cause unnecessary plant loss.
Transplanting Strawberries: Systems
To maintain the vigor and production of your strawberry plants, you may want to utilize a strawberry transplanting system. By transplanting strawberry plants to new strawberry beds each year, you can maintain three (or more) vigorous, well-producing beds. The steps below can be modified to allow the strawberry plants to fruit for additional years or fewer years as desired. By not transplanting each year, you can maintain the cycle with fewer strawberry beds.
Year 1: Transplant Strawberry Plants from Established Bed
If you ordered strawberry plants online or bought them from a local nursery and planted them in the spring, the strawberry bed likely won’t be established and into “Fruiting Year 1” until the following spring. At the end of the first fruiting year (the first year of the strawberry transplanting cycle), transplant several of the healthy, well-established strawberry runner plants to a new bed (bed 2) in the fall. Take care of your beds and winterize them as described on the Growing Strawberries page (link above).
Year 2: Two Fruiting Strawberry Beds, Another Fall Transplant
In year two of the system, the transplant strawberries in bed 2 will produce runners during their first fruiting year. The strawberry plants in bed 1should produce a good crop as the strawberry plants will be in their second fruiting year. You may need to thin the runner strawberry plants in bed 1 if they become too thick. In the fall, transplant strawberry runner plants from bed 2 to a new bed (bed 3). Overwinter all beds again.
Year 3: Three Producing Beds, Another Transplanting Strawberries Session
Bed 1 is now in its third production year. It is likely that these old plants will begin losing their productive capability soon. Beds 2 and 3 should also provide ample harvests. In the fall, transplanting strawberries occurs again. Following the same pattern, runner plants from bed 3 are transplanted into bed 4 in the fall. Also in the fall of year 3 after the strawberry plants in bed 1 have completely finished producing strawberries, they should all be removed. After removing, the renewal process should begin and continue into year 4.
Year 4: Renew the Bed Before Transplanting Strawberry Plants Again
The strawberry plants in bed 1 should have been removed after they were completely done producing fruit in year 3. As soon as that occurred, bed renewal should begin. Rich organic compost, aged manure, or other soil enhancers should be generously added and tilled in. Either organic or non-organic fertilizers can be added as well. Add rich organic matter 2-3 more times over the course of the spring and summer months of year 4. In year 4, beds 2, 3, and 4 will produce a harvest while bed 1 is being renewed. In the fall of year 4, transplant healthy runner plants from bed 4 back to bed 1.
As long as your plants remain disease-free, this system should provide ample harvests from three beds from strawberry plants in their prime production years. By replanting in the same beds, you do have an increased risk of your strawberry plants succumbing to one of the various strawberry plant diseases (reference the Strawberry Plant page at the link above for more details).
Once the transplant runner plants are in bed 1 again, the cycle restarts. Barring disease and assuming sufficient nutrients are re-introduced and combined with the soil to properly nourish growing strawberry plants, this system should theoretically sustain a 3-bed berry harvest indefinitely. The size of the beds are limited only by the gardener’s ability to maintain them!
Transplanting Strawberry Plants: Conclusion
Hopefully this guide to strawberry plant transplanting has helped you. You should now know why you should transplant strawberry plants, when you should transplant strawberry plants, how you should transplant strawberry plants, and that it is usually best to transplant strawberry runner plants that are young and healthy. If you need extra help remembering which plants are old and which are runners within a bed, you can always use the cheap white plastic label stakes or Popsicle sticks to mark individual strawberry plants.
Hopefully, the strawberry transplanting system described will help accomplish your strawberry-producing goals as well. Good luck, and happy transplanting!
I have a second year raised strawberry bed but I don’t think it gets enough sun. I would like to move the entire bed early this spring by moving the frame and then scooping up the plants from the base of the bed, trying not to disturb the roots and runners as much as possible. Is it feasible to attempt this in the spring and still get a crop of berries? Thank you for your help. I am a novice strawberry grower, but quite an accomplished vegetable gardener.
Yes, it is possible if you are very careful. Using a large shovel to dig at the base of the bed once the sides are removed can help keep as many intact as possible (maybe a snow shovel?). It will be impossible to transplant them without traumatizing at least some of them, so your harvest will be smaller this year than next, but moving them to full sun will be better for them. If your ground isn’t frozen, it would actually be better to transplant them before they break dormancy. So, you may want to think about moving them in the next few weeks. Good luck!
Dear Mr. Strawberry,
Have so enjoyed reading your articles, thank you.
As a Welshman now living in the south of Italy this area is the fruit basket of this great country. In Wales I tried and battled against the weather to grow strawberries, short seasons and slugs meant poor results.
I have loads of ground and could give up to an acre much could be under olive trees to offer shade as there is no shortage of sun here. Last year we grew fruit for six months this year we have prepared additional beds.
Could you recommend a plant we could try and wold the supplier ship to Italy.
Thank you again.
Due to the (often legitimate) fear of shipping plant diseases from one country to another, it is often difficult to get strawberry plants shipped to you from other countries around the globe. However, if you’d like to check with individual companies who may be able to help you, there is a directory of available varieties here. Good luck!
Thank you for all of your wonderful strawberry knowlege! I have a fairly well established strawberry bed but would like to live it for better access. After reading about transplanting here I fear I should have done it last fall. I am in Pennsylvania- mid- winter- but with little snow to date. Is it still possible to teamsplant or should I wait until next fall?
It is better not to transplant in the dead of winter, but it is possible. If you can wait until next fall, that would be the better option. Good luck!
We have about 50 Sequoia and Seacape plants with runners that we planted last spring in our garden in Fillmore, California (Sunset zones 18 and 2B). We had a really nice first harvest. Unfortunately we have to move the plot or pull them altogether since they are in a location that will be run over by our tractor if left in their present spot. Considering the time of the year (and we have warm climate here), should we cut them back and replant them (including runners) or is it not worth it?
I hate to think of you losing all the plants, so I would at least attempt to transplant them. I would not worry about the runners, however. Snip all them off prior to transplanting as they place an additional strain on the plants, especially when transplanting. Good luck!
Thank you for your response! I’m off to transplant them.
Hello, Mr. Strawberry!
I recently had to move my entire strawberry bed to a friend’s house. A lot of the strawberries were put in the ground in wrong places. Should I move them now, a week or so after they were moved, or wait until Spring? I’m in Zone 6a in Massachusetts, and it is pretty cold! I would say the top 1/2 inch of ground is frozen, and I do have lots of the wonderful dirt they were growing in before they lost their happy home.
PS – where they were before, is now going to be a parking area. Not paved, but parked on by 10-12 cars every day. That’s why I had to move them – this way hopefully they will survive, instead of their certain loss.
Either option is a bit risky, but if the plants were just transplanted a week ago, I would go ahead and try moving them if it were my decision. You may lose some, but the ones that live will likely do a bit better being transplanted while dormant instead of waiting until spring to do it and, thus, stressing the plants during their normal period of vigorous growth. Good luck!
Hello. I live in Kentucky and just completed a raised garden bed for strawberry transplants that are about a year or two old. Can I transplant them to the new bed now or should I just wait till Spring? Thanks so much! I like your website.
You can probably still transplant them. But, you should do it as soon as possible! If to transplant the soil and roots as a unit, they will likely do better than if you separate the roots entirely and then replant them in their new home. Good luck!
Planted strawberries (plugs) for the first time last sunday (10/26).Being concerned that they will take root good enough before winter we,poured a mixture of “miracle grow” water while filling the hole. Now ,one week later the plants are acting & looking as if they were planted in june.I have never witnessed something like this before.Green & pert! I kind of thought that they would kind of lie somewhat dormant until the growing season however it appears that they will take root much more than I thought.Maybe its due to the higher nitrogen amount in the fertilizer ??? I do wish They were planted much more earlier but could not find anyone/place that would sell them before now.Sorry for being so long winded.
Glad to hear it! That is a good example of why not to snip the foliage! Good luck!
I have been growing strawberries in my garden for about 7 years now with great success. We would like to raise the area they are in for better weed control and easier weeding and picking access. It will take about 3 days to build the new raised planting area and get it filled with dirt and ready for the plants. What’s the best way to hold the plants until the raised bed is ready?
Thx – Steve
If it is just for a few days, I’d recommend just digging them up and leaving plenty of soil around the roots, wrapping them around the roots in moistened paper towels or moistened newspapers, and then placing them in a bin or tub (protected from the wind to prevent drying out) until you finish the bed. Then, re-plant them as soon as possible! Good luck!
Hello Mr. Strawberry,
We’re moving and want to take our strawberries with us. It’s late October and were in Wisconsin. We won’t have a garden set up in the new house until spring. Can we dig up the strawberries and keep them in pots through the winter (outside under straw) and then plant in the spring? Or should we just pick a temporary spot to plant them this fall and move them again next spring? Thanks!
Hello! You can take them with you, but you’ll have to overwinter them. Good luck!
Now here’s a question…
I’m in the UK – South West (usually wet and mild).
I have some very good local June/early July cropping strawberries in a fruit cage (local variety but no idea of the name) and have tried late fruiting varieties but they simply don’t taste as good.
I plan to refridgerate a number of suckers (potted up next month in horse manure – its what they like!) and keep them there until about March and then plant them out with the hope that they will develop later than the others and give me the same fruit – a month later!
I’d appreciate your thoughts on this and suggestions on timings and anything else to give the best chance of success. Thanks.
It sounds like you have an interesting plan. I’ve not heard of anyone trying exactly that before, so be sure to let us know if it works. Good luck!
it is October here in Saskatchewan and my garden is being moved to new location next year there is good moisture can I move my strawberries to save them
You can move them. See this link for more information on transplanting strawberries. Good luck!
First of all, thank you for the wonderful information I’ve read in previous posts. I moved to a new place last year and started a new garden. The first thing I planted were strawberries. They did not do well at all. So I am moving them to a sunnier location in a raised garden. I am using Ecoscraps natural and organic potting soil that Target started selling this year. It is really wonderful. It contains processed pine bark, perlite and compost(yard trimmings and food scraps). Do you think I need to add anything else to it? I am also glad that I read this article because my local extension said to transplant in early August. Now I will wait.
It sounds like you have a good plan in place! Different areas have different climates, so I would go ahead and transplant if that is what your local agricultural extension agent recommended. Good luck!
in year 2 you say transplant runners from bed 2.
what you don’t say is what to do with runners from bed 1.
same for subsequent years.
You can let some of them grow in to form a matted row, essentially filling up your whole bed. If you transplant enough to fill the bed, or if your strawberry bed is already optimally filled with plants, just snip off new runners. Good luck!
Dear Mr Strawberry, I have had a strawberry bed for 3 yrs. I need a raised bed because of health reasons now. Our summer temps have been very mild this yr. So I decided to transplant half of them during the first part of June. The weather here in Illinois has been very cool for June. I mixed top soil with sand and made sure they had plenty of water. The bed is about 4 to 6 inches deep with the soil. Unfortunately I have lost all the plants but maybe 8. Did I transplant at the wrong time or do something wrong? Please help. Very disappointed.
Strawberries do much better when transplanted in September. You might want to review the information on the Growing Strawberries page to see if there is anything else that can be remedied to help your strawberry plants do better. Good luck, and I’m sorry to hear about the lost plants!
I am transplanting strawberries and the roots look very woody – is this usual?
Yes. Oftentimes, the outer roots will appear a bit woody. Sometimes, runner remains and old stems can also appear that way and be mistaken for roots. Good luck!
WE live in the south of Italy have strawberries for three months each year. Italians love their coffee and we have lots of coffee grounds. Thanks for the tip.
Best wishes Roy
sir, i want straberry plants. tel me details of that.
You can order them from this page. Good luck!
Hello. I am really knew to all this planting business. As a child my parents planted all types of things (mainly my dad) – plants, gardens, etc. and I use to laugh and tell my dad I would help but I wont enjoy it lol. Well I’m either old or it’s just hit me to enjoy it lol. Anyway, I rent a house so I’m trying to be careful of where I plant so I’m not told something like “not that area.” I did ask about planting but we really didn’t talk too much about guidelines. So my question is I just planted some strawberry plants – I’m not sure if they are june-bearing or ever-bearing. I bought them at Walmart and yes, I forget that fast! Anyway, that is really not my question *yet* but it might be next year. First question is I’m not totally sure what “fruit year 1” means – is this actually a year after they were planted and have begun to produce strawberries or is this the actual first year they were planted and on their way to produce strawberries (hope this makes sense). Second, after seeing some plants tonight I decided I had made a mistake where I planted them and should in fact plant them somewhere else. I was glad to see this article said it’s actually good and beneficial to transplant strawberries but I’m afraid I don’t quite understand how soon is too soon and when they actually can be transplanted. For example, if I just planted them this year, can I transplant them next year? I don’t know how they all start but I can tell you (since I cannot remember which type they are) that it actually looked like a very small bulb with roots on both sides (*if* this helps).
I’m glad the gardening “bug” has bitten! If you bought potted strawberries and the label on the strawberry plants you purchased from Wal-Mart said “fruit year 1,” that means that they were initially potted last year sometime. New plants or bare-root plants need a full winter before they are ready to produce maximally. If yours were planted last year, they are good to go! Just let them produce fruit! If you have planted them already this year, you should wait until the fall to re-transplant them. Toward the end of September, carefully dig them up and move them to your desired location. Good luck!
I left out the fact that this is the 3rd year since we had the original 3 plants. The first year we had no berries. The second year, with sixteen plants, we had a about 2 cereal bowls full of strawberries. This year there are strawberries everywhere.
Great! Strawberries everywhere is a great problem to have! This should help you with the care of your strawberry plants: Growing Strawberries. Good luck!
I have an overcrowded raised garden bed that was left unattended last fall. We could not do anything with so we threw leaves and a net over it and left it alone until spring. We uncovered it about 3 weeks ago and 16 plants grew into about……alot. Because of rainy weather and illness, we could not get back to the bed until yesterday. It has flowered and green berries are everywhere. The leaves are tall and green. What do we do with it now? What should we be concerned about? Do we try to transplant? or Do we cut back leaves? and get more sun….we are clueless. Any help will be very appreciated.
I have a strawberry bed at least four years old with many layers of plants. Is there some easy way to differentiate the oldest from the youngest? I obviously need to transplant the youngest dispose of the oldest and give this bed a complete overhaul.I do get many early berries as is, but production ends fairly early in the year.
It isn’t foolproof as some plants grow more quickly than others, but looking at the crown can give a general idea of which plants are oldest. The plants with the largest crowns are generally older than plants with smaller crowns. Good luck getting everything sorted out with your strawberry patch!
I have a round bed about 4ft in diameter of strawberry plants that was started a couple of years ago. Can’t remember exactly when. I have done nothing with it and now it is a crazy crowded mess of plants. I have no idea which plants are new or which are old. I want to do a couple of things. One – I want to put some flowers in the bed because it is in the Center of my front yard and I want a little more color. The strawberries went there when I was being lazy and bc with south exposure it was the absolute sunniest spot in my yard. Second I want to expand my strawberry production into beds. I am not a lot less lazy but now have a helper and have many new beds which cld use strawberries as ground cover.
QN – can I just dig up big chunks and transplant them to my other beds?
QN – are there any flowers perennial or annual that you wld most recommend I put in the round bed?
QN – are there flowers which can’t go with the strawberries?
Yes, you can just dig up the plants and transplant them, if you’d like to do so. Just be careful that you keep as many of the roots intact as possible and water right after moving/replanting them. More of the details on what should be done can be found on the growing strawberries page. For companion planting, see here: companion planting strawberries. Good luck!
Hi! I have strawberry plants from last summer in a bed that may be plowed over by a local farmer and so I need to move them. I live in Lancaster, PA near Philly….it’s April 1st and has been super cold until today, spring is starting remarkably late this year….flowering trees are weeks behind. Is it safe to transplant the strawberries into a newly prepared bed and still get a yield this season?
If the plants are still dormant AND you are very careful, you can still get a good yield this year. And, strawberry plants are pretty resilient, so even if they are stressed during the move, they will still probably produce some fruit for you. You do need to move them as soon as possible, however! Good luck!
How do u you add acidity to your soil in a simple way and how much? I don’t know if this helps but I live in New Jersey and the average weather is in the forties.(For now) The plants are in pots and in pairs. I saw, saw dust, but I don’t know how I can get that.
Adding coffee grounds to your strawberry bed or around the plants in pots can increase acidity. That is a fairly easy way for most, as most people drink coffee. Also, you can see here for more. Good luck!
My first year strawberry plants cropped well here in Yorkshire, England but produced no runners at all. However, after they finished cropping at the end of August the did make good growth, many of them producing new crowns. I can’t leave them in the same place for next season as they have to fit in with my four year rotation – so I transplanted them at the beginning of October. Now, at the end of October they are doing well in their new position – I had split some of the stronger, multiple crowned plants to get the number I require. My question is this – with winter approaching, should I give them any frost protection? I could either leave them as they are, put some cloche hoops over the bed and cover it with horticultural fleece – or just loose lay the fleece over the plants and secure with pegs. Which would you think is best?
Congratulations on the successful season! Once the temperatures in your area drop into the upper 20s for a few straight nights, your plants should enter their dormancy. Once they are dormant, the easiest thing to do is remove all the wilted and dead vegetative matter and then mulch with clean straw. Good luck!
this is october…is it still a good time to transplant strawberries in East Tennessee.
Yes, but you need to do it quickly. Good luck!
Hi – What about transplanting strawberries I containers? How do you know when to do it? Should the plants be broken apart or can you just put them in a bigger container? Thanks!
As long as each strawberry plant has adequate soil and nutrients, either method can work. Some strawberry varieties will propagate via crown multiplication. These can be broken apart and planted individually if handled carefully. You can also transplant them to a larger container initially. However, at some point, you will need to give the new plants more space if they are to thrive optimally. Good luck!
I had just sent in a question (or two!) and wanted you to know that I have searched your awesomely informative website and found the answers to my questions! I should have read before asking!
Thanks for providing such detailed info!
Thanks for taking the time to search! Most answers to questions people have are already posted somewhere on this site. 🙂 And, you are very welcome! Thanks for stopping by!
Question: it is early September in Southern California and still very hot. I have strawberries growing in clay soil and want to transplant them into a home-made garden bed (made with a plastic kiddie pool with lots of holes drilled in it and lined with weed block). Is this okay? Should I wait until it cools down? I also noticed it said to wrap the roots in paper towels, do I keep the paper towels on in the new bed or is that only during transport? Thanks for your help
You can go ahead and transplant, but keep the newly transplanted strawberries in the shade for a day or two. Your pool should do fine as a strawberry bed as long as there is adequate drainage. If you transplant directly, you don’t have to wrap the roots. If you wait for a while between digging and transplanting, you should wrap them to keep the roots from drying out. Once you get the plants to their new location, take the paper towels off before replanting. Good luck!
Hi, I have to move an entire strawberry bed, consisting of plants that were planted early this spring and their runner offspring. Any advice on what I need to do when I transplant mature strawberries? I don’t have the option of leaving them where they are. Thanks,
Just try to keep as many of the roots intact as you can, re-plant them immediately, and give them a good watering once they are re-planted. Good luck!
Is growing them in barrels another great way to grow them or is it better to have beds for the strawberries? I am thinking of having 4 barrels like you have 4 beds and plant runners yearly.
Barrels will work, but you need to make sure you have a system built in to allow for efficient and even watering of the roots. A lot of designs employ a central pipe with holes in it to allow water diffusion at the roots all the way down the barrel.
Hi I have two strawberry plants one I bought in store and another grown indoors earlier this year from seed. The one from seed is a white alpine and it has a flower on it. Being that this is my first time growing it does that mean fruit this year?
It might bear fruit this year if the flower is pollinated. Good luck!
I’m about to transplant some of my June bearing strawberry runners to a new bed. It’s mid August and I’m in NJ. I didn’t cut back the leaves with a mower yet. My question is whether I should remove the leaves from the plants I’m going to transplant. And, also, whether it’s too late to mow off the tops of my old bed. (This was it’s 2nd year of producing.)
You should try to keep the plants you are going to transplant intact completely, from the root system to the leaves. The others are past the prime time to mow, but you can probably go ahead and do it without any adverse effects. Good luck!
Hi, I have a 4×10 ft rasied strawberry bed that was planted early spring.I have a ton of runners and am wanting to make a new bed.Do I clip the runners from the main strawberry plant and then dig them up? And how many plants should I leave in my bed of that size?
Yes, once the runner plants have established their roots, snip the runners that connect to the mother plants (if they haven’t already broken off themselves). Then, carefully dig them up while keeping their root system intact and plant them wherever you’d like! Leaving approximately 3 plants per square foot of bed space is a good ratio. Good luck!
Don @ Dark Star Organics
I’m a very small scale strawberry grower and I’m looking for some tips as to how to move established plants from one bed to another bed, i.e. the “whole nine yards” if you will. Winterizing tips especially would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks you all!
To transplant, dig up the plants while keeping as much of the root system intact as possible. Move them to where you want them to continue growing, and re-plant. For overwintering, see the information at the bottom of the Growing Strawberries page under the “More” heading. Good luck!
Great site! I have used it often this year as I started growing strawberries. I am wondering how best to transplant daughter plants to a new bed.
I planted 25 June bearing plants this year and grew many runners for creating another bed. The daughters are well established and have been growing for a few months. In the planned new bed, I currently have squash that won’t come out until early October. I’m in zone 6b/7a.
1) Can I wait until the squash come out in October to plant the daughters in the new bed, or should I wait until spring?
2) If I wait until spring, must I remove the flowers next year from the daughters that were transplanted to the new bed?
3) Should I clip the leaves off of the first year plants and/or the daughters this year before mulching?
Thank you for any information you can provide.
If it is early October, you can go ahead and transplant them. It is later than ideal, but there is a good chance they will still do ok in your zone. If you do have to wait until spring, you don’t have to snip the flowers IF you manage to transplant enough of the roots intact so as they experience minimal transplant stress. Otherwise, clipping the flowers is a good idea. And, you should remove any dead, wilted vegetative matter from the plants prior to mulching this winter. Good luck!
I have growed strawberries in flower pots for 2 yrs.have had a few strawberries on them.want to transplant to a ground bed.they have shoots on them and still budding.when can i transplant and should i trim them back before transplanting? I live in ky.
You can transplant them this fall. You might want to put some dirt-filled yogurt cups or other small cups underneath the runners at the nodes. Then, once rooted, you can transplant those younger plants this fall at the end of August or the beginning of September. That is a good time to transplant strawberries. Good luck!
can I dig up strawberry plants and hold them for a week or so somehow while I till the bed they were in several times to get rid of all the weeds that are taking over the strawberry bed? If I can, how do I care for the plants I want to replant in my strawberry bed while I work up the soil?
You can do that, but it will most likely put stress on the plants. If you are going to dig them up, try to keep as many of the roots intact as possible. Placing the intact root system with the soil into an individual pot is the best way to do what you are suggesting. However, it might be best to weed by hand and put down a weed control mat afterwards. You can use newspapers with mulch on top, or you can use landscaping fabric with mulch on top. Regardless, good luck with your strawberry endeavors!
I just transplanted some young strawberry plants, but it is going to be hot for a few days (in Massachusetts) and some of the leaves are very large. Should I trim back all of the leaves or cut the leaves in half to decrease moisture loss? Thanks!
I wouldn’t cut the leaves. I would make sure the roots were watered well when you transplanted, then I would put up a shade/covering over the plants for a few days to help them get established without bearing the brunt of the direct sunlight/heat. Good luck!
I’m writing you from Bermuda. My plants were set in January and are thriving, with lots of runners now present. I usually let my garden wind down for July / August as its quite hot, with cowpeas planted throughout to be ploughed in for September. Do you have any tips on saving the runners in our climate, especially during the hot summer months? Do people store them in chill rooms??
I’m not sure what people typically do in the tropics to save their plants. But, you could probably keep them inside if you air-condition, or you could force dormancy in the refrigerator. If you do that, though, make sure you don’t forget to water them. Good luck!
I live in North Carolina and have a strawberry bed. What and when should I fertilize? Also how do I control chickweed in my bed. Will straw help weeds?
Yes, straw does help with weed control. I’d recommend starting here for help: Growing Strawberries. Good luck!
My husband has created a new raised bed for my strawberries. I need to move them a few feet from their current place. They already have blooms and I’m afraid to move them now. Should I or leave them ’til the fall?
Anytime you transplant strawberries, it places stress on them. If they are already flowering, I would definitely recommend leaving them where they are until the fall if that is an option. Good luck!
I recently planted two rows of 50 bare root plants which looked healthy when I received them in the mail. I tilled the soil added 10-10-10. I left town for 3 days and when I returned all 50 plants looked dried out and dead. Is there anything I can do to save them? I didn’t have any trouble with the other plants I started in the fall. Also, is there a way to check and make sure they are dead before I toss them?
I would try watering them very well. If they don’t perk up, they are likely dead. Sorry!
I bought a strawberry plant from a nursery last year . This year in Jan , we had some flowers . But after they wilted ,nothing happened . Now there are three runners . What should I do now. I live in India. The weather is very hot now (36 degrees C). Should I bury the runners in the mud ? Please advise what should my next action be . Thank you in advance .
No, don’t bury them in mud. If you can cool the strawberry plant some, they might survive. Strawberry plants are temperate and prefer cooler weather than you are experiencing. Here are some of the causes of wilting strawberries. Good luck!
My uncle wants me to transplant the strawberries that have been in a hill out back to a bed on the side of the house. The side patch gets a lot more sun and is pretty clay-thick, grew peas and tomatoes the past couple of years fine. But Since I am going to be doing it, I was wondering should I try and transplant just a few to see if they will do well before working on the rest?
You should probably just plant a few to begin with. Clay soils can pose a problem for growing strawberries well, and planting in the same area that tomatoes have been planted might cause your plants to succumb to Verticillium wilt. Good luck, though!
I live in north east Georgia, have some small round raised beds. I planted four strawberry plants there in May of this year, they really didn’t produce many strawberries. I just covered all the raised beds with leaves for the winter. Should I have transplanted some of the strawberries? Thanks Ellen from Georgia
A new strawberry bed shouldn’t be expected (or allowed) to produce strawberries the first year. This next spring should produce a crop for you if everything goes as it should. You might want to consider removing the leaf mulch you used and replacing it with straw. Leaves tend to pack too tightly and can damage your plants or predispose them to fungal and other infections. Good luck!
I have 2 rows of wonderful strawberries, they produced very well this year. I am going to transplant the runners and make new rows as suggested above. I was wondering if it’s okay to transplant the runners this late in the fall, or if I should wait until early spring? I’m in Utah where it is already threatening snow.
That’s a tough question. It is best to transplant in the Fall, and if you were in a warmer climate, I’d say go ahead and give it a try now. But, if you are already facing cold temperatures and snows, it would probably be best to leave them in the ground where they are. You might want to try to carefully transplant a few without disturbing the roots (i.e. transplant a lot of surrounding soil with the plants as well) and see how they do. Either way, good luck!
I find strawberry plants to be very hardy. I am not very gentle when transplanting.
I also tend to plant 3 inches a part which promotes a berry in it’s first year. But you must thin every year (I do it in the fall), then mulch with sawdust, which keeps moisture in the slugs away, adds acid to the soil, and weeds on the run. I am self taught, but I can tell you, this works. I also plant in compost, and fertilize at the end of July.
I’m glad your system works for you! Thanks for sharing.
This is my first time to grow Strawberries. A friend gave me some “Crowns” that have been freezed since last season, to plant in ground directly or in Peatmoss in pots.
Some have decently rich roots, some have very few….some roots are really tall , and some are very short….
Unfortunately, MY friend has deceased 3 days ago, leaving me with an important note: you can trim the Roots, But NEVER bent them… and I was wondering if you can help answering few questions: 1-How short can you trim the roots -2- how many can you group adjacent for the thinner ones
Thank for your time, and Appreciate your prompt assistance.
All the best, Regards,
I’m sorry to hear about your friend. It is best to plant your plants with the roots spread apart (see the Growing Strawberries page for how to plant strawberries). However, the crowns are actually hardier than one might expect and can be planted with the roots touching. Not only that, but I wouldn’t worry too much about slightly bending the roots. You can, of course, snap them if you bend too much, but the most important thing is that they are below ground. I wouldn’t even worry about trimming the roots. They’ll do well enough as long as they are buried. Good luck!
please send me materials like photos and video clips to explain how i can produce a huge number of strawberry plants in trays.
thanks a lot
When is it too late in the fall to transplant established plants? I understand you recommend late August to bypass most of the fruiting season and still allow time for the roots to establish in a new location, right? I planted a raised bed in 2 varieties (Ozark Beauty and Loran) this spring and I need to move the Lorans to a space where they won’t be totally overrun by the Ozark Beauty runners. It’s mid September now and we have had some frosts strong enough to kill off the squash and tomatoes but the strawberries are still happily fruiting like crazy. We’re in between zones 4 and 5 here. Do you think they’d have enough time to recover before winter if I transplanted them now or should I wait until spring? I’d be sick to lose these prolific established 1st year plants. Thanks!
If you transplant enough roots intact, they should do fine if you go ahead and transplant. But, if you want to be safe, you can overwinter them where they are. Good luck!
I moved into a home a few years ago with a patch of “wild” strawberries. They have pink flowers, maybe a hybrid? anyway, I finally had time to get outside this year and plant and replant trees/shrubs. I am considering moving the strawberry plants because they are getting overrun with other groundcover that the previous owners planted and is taking over the garden.I noticed that the flowers dried on the plants and did not form a berry. Are these a type of ornamental that don’t produce fruit? or is there no pollinator? I did have a two week period last month when my sprinkler system did not work, and the area did not get watered, but the plants look great. Can you help? Thank you.
There are no wild-type strawberry varieties with pink flowers. The pink-flowered varieties (there are a few of them) are primarily ornamental, although they can produce a few strawberries. If you are looking for varieties that will produce more edible fruits, you can find a host of them in the Buy Strawberry Plants directory. Find out which varieties will grow best in your area here: Recommended Strawberry Varieties by State. Good luck!
The birds have attacked my strawberries this year. Any suggestions to keep them away?
BirdBlock should do the trick. Good luck!
Where do you cut the runners of of the main plant?
WHERE you cut the runners doesn’t matter nearly as much as WHEN you cut the runners. You can cut the runner tissue anywhere along the way from the mother plant to the cloned daughter plant. However, you must make sure that the root system of the new daughter plant has established prior to cutting the runner. If you cut it before the new plant can fully support itself, it will die. The best indicator of when to cut the runner is when it has started drying and becoming brittle. That is nature’s way of telling you the daughter plant no longer needs any support from the mother plant. Good luck!
grubs or caterpillars are eating my strawberry plants, is there a organic solar powered repeller to keep them away?
I’m not aware of an organic solar-powered caterpillar repeller, but you might want to try diatomaceous earth.
Hi, I live in Northern NY State. I bought this house 2 yrs agoa and last year I bought 15 strawberry plants and planted them. However, where I planted them(which was a former small garden spot) does not get a lot of sun.
Last week I rented a rototiller and a friend rototilled(my larger garden) and a new spot for the strawberries which will get more sun, if I transplant them there.
The problem is this.. IF it is a problem. The spot that was rototilled is very wet. The rototiller would not even do a good job because of how wet it is right now. Also, the solil is mostly clay.
Will the wet soil be a problem? Later in the summer it should dry out better, as long as it will just stop raining long enough! I do have a couple bags of sand I plan to put on the spot.. although I doubt it will be enough sand and plus, the spot will need rototilling again if I decide to use it for the strawberries. Otherwise, perhaps I will use it for an asparagus patch.
Both the clay and the excessive wetness could very well pose a problem for your strawberry plants. I would recommend selecting a spot according to the criteria discussed on the Growing Strawberries reference page. Good luck!
I have just planted 12 plants in a strawberry planter and was wondering what do I do with them after the summer. Will they keep for next year and if so how do I do it?
Start here: Overwintering Strawberries. Good luck!
I live in northern Indiana and I ve been given 40 to 50 well established plants from someone that is moving. Half or more have flowers already due to the early warm wheather we had here the first two weeks of April. I would like to move all of them but I dont know if I should at this time. They will be putting there house on the market soon and I dont want to miss out. How deep do I need to go when digging them up and how far apart should I be placing them when transplanting them?
Congratulations on the acquisition of free strawberry plants! Fortunately for you, strawberries have relatively shallow root systems. If you dig down 6 inches, you will get the majority of the roots. It will still cause some stress and root loss to the plants, but they should survive easily and do quite well for you. Good luck!
I have had a large raised strawberry box for the last 9 years. This last winter it became over run with buttercups and dandalions. I had to remove all the plants and start over. what do you suggest I do to the soil and can I add something to help keep the buttercups out. Last year was my best year for nice size berries.Is there anything I can do to make them sweeter?
I don’t know of any natural herbicide that will kill only the buttercups. They do make some herbicides that target the buttercups, but I wouldn’t recommend using them in your strawberry bed as strawberries tend to absorb chemicals (and you don’t want to eat the herbicides!). As for making them sweeter, sugar content generally parallels Vitamin C production. There are also some differences with sugar content depending on the variety you choose. Anyway, good luck!
dear Mr. Strawberry,
I have many strawberry plants in my garden, in two different locations, one of the locations has many runners, and i am planning on moving them into a new location, but the others in the other location have this disease (Mycosphaerella fragariae on strawberry, I have found the name on wikipedia). Can you please tell me how to treat them, so they will be healthy once again. I am afraid to mix the plants of two locations together because the healthy once might get infected too. Please help me solve my problem.
All the best,
To address Mycosphaerella fragariae infection (more commonly knows as strawberry leaf spot, which is a fungal infection), there are two things you can do. You can treat with a fungicide or control the environment to minimize inoculation. To minimize the likelihood of contamination, be sure to plant your strawberries in light, well-drained soil. Start with a strawberry variety that is resistant to infection, and ensure the plants have good air circulation all around and good exposure. Maintain good circulation by eliminating weeds and spacing the runners in a matted row system. Only use nitrogen fertilizers during Strawberry Renovation to minimize the more easily infected succulent tissue on new emerging leaves. Remove older leaves, any dead plant matter, and burn any debris after harvest when renovating. Additionally, since the fungus is spread by rain or splashing caused by water falling from above, avoiding chronic watering by sprinklers or other overhead methods can also reduce infection. Hopefully that helps! Good luck.
I moved into a rental house last summer with an abandoned garden. In the garden are tons of strawberries. I would like to transplant them to strawberry container planters I have for the deck. How/when is the best time to do this? And what type of soil should I use to fill them with? I lived in zone 6b in Washington state. Thanks if you can help!
You can move them. If you aren’t in a hurry, I would recommend transplanting them this fall. That will let them produce optimally this year without the added stress of moving them. For a discussion of soil types that strawberries prefer, see this page: Growing Strawberries. Good luck!
We have had an exceptionally warm winter in Alabama this year and I was out looking at my strawberries and noticed that they have spread into other planters. It is now the end of Feb and we are experiencing typical Alabama weather 70 one day 40 two days later. Is it impractical to move the new runners so my other beds can be used for my veggy garden?
It should be fine to transplant the runners. Good luck!
Brillant site on strawberries.
Planting some runners this spring and will remove all flowers this year to better establish for others years. Two questions, please.
1.Do i prune this runners in autumn/fall or leave them on plants over the winter?
2.Can I propagate runners from these in September or will that weaken them in their 1st year.
P.J. in Ireland
Thank you! Unless you are trying to fill in a matted row or multiply your strawberry beds, it is ok to prune the strawberry runners. The will do fine the following year. In fact, it is really better to do plantings of Fall Strawberry Plants than spring ones in order to maximize time and production.
I live in WV. I really need to thin out my strawberries, and didn’t get a chance to do this in the fall. Can I thin them now, in mid-December? They are in a high tunnel so it is not quite as cold. Thank you in advance.
Yes, you can thin them now. Just be careful not to damage the plants you wish to keep. The plants you thin out will probably not be able to establish themselves elsewhere at this juncture, so as long as you are ok with losing the plants you thin, it should be ok to do now.
Hi! I wish I had run across this site this past spring! I live in Colorado, and it’s getting ready to snow here… again. I live in a rented townhouse, and I have (well, had) a container garden on the patio. Most of my plants either died in the last snowstorm, or have been brought inside, but my strawberries are still outside, where they surprisingly lived through the last cold spell where they’re planted in the top of my topsy-turvy tomato planter. I can’t exactly bring the tomato planter inside like my other plants, but I’m afraid the strawberry plant won’t survive many more snowstorms, if any. I was going to transplant it into a different container that I can bring indoors, and continue to grow them in the house, but I don’t know whether that would goof up their annual growing cycle or damage the roots enough to kill the plant. Then I found this site where you recommend mulching the plants after they’ve gone dormant for the winter, but I’m not sure if that would still work with just a flimsy container, without the insulation of the earth to the sides and beneath the plant it would have in the ground?? What’s the best way for me to save my plant?
Most varieties of strawberries are surprisingly resilient to mild cold snaps. It is the prolonged or deeply cold temperatures that really do them in. See this post on Cold Injury for more on that. One option, if you don’t want to bring the strawberries inside is to put them in your garage near an internal wall. Usually, that will provide enough shelter and keep the most extreme and damaging cold temperatures at bay. Since the plants are probably dormant by now, you won’t mess up their life cycle. Be sure not to let the plants dry out completely, though, or they’ll die that way instead of from the temperatures. However, it is always best to leave the roots undisturbed, if possible. Mulching would be difficult in Colorado in a Topsy Turvy strawberry planter. For more information that might help in your situation, see this post on Storing Bare-Root Strawberry Plants. Good luck!
I have a strawberry plant in an 8 inch pot. It has many runners that arent in dirt. I would like to plant each runner in their own pot, but I am not sure where I need to cut them off. Also, when fertalizing my strawberry plants, will any time release mixture work? Or is there a special one for strawberries?
Put a small pot/cup with dirt in it under each node where a runner plant is forming. The root of the runner plant will grow down into the dirt once it is in contact with the soil. After the roots of the the runner plant have been established, you can cut the runner and transplant the newly liberated clone plant wherever you wish. See the Growing Strawberries page for more information on fertilizing strawberries.
i’m going to plant a 100′ row of berries. can you use white plastic for weed control?
You can. However, in order to use plasticulture effectively, more is involved. For more details, see this post: Plasticulture Strawberries
Is transplanting strawberries in July a good thing or a bad thing
It is best to transplant in August as mentioned above. But, if you take proper care and ensure appropriate water is provided, transplanted strawberry plant can survive even if moved in July.
Many thanks Bro.
I have an amazing gluttony of berries most are ripe and sweet (mainly Elsanta so they’re huge). They are all growing as they please so it’s a natural bed. My only problem now is the snails and slugs haha. Having said that, I do leave out some steawberries for the lil critters as I believe they need to eat too.
This is an amazing site!
Especial respects from sunny London (UK)
I have a good bed of strawberries, they are bearing a touting of fruit and are starting to ripe, however many berries are shaded by the plants’ leaves and are not catching the sun. Is it possible to trim out some of the foliage without causing damage,
You can trim some of the leaves if you want to (more will grow up from the crown). However, there is no need to do that, and I wouldn’t recommend it. Exposure to sunlight will cause strawberries to ripen more rapidly (the underside of strawberries are often white while the exposed part will be already red). However, the entire strawberries will ripen just fine if they are left alone. Cutting the leaves decreases the productive capacity of the plant, and exposed strawberries are more likely to be snarfed by hungry birds/critters.
Hi, I have 4 strawberry pots (I bought roots lat year and put them all in one big pot and I bought some plants and put about 3 in each pot), I’ve decided (even thought I rent) to make a corner raised garden bed for the strawberries. They didnt produce much last year but, right now they’ve been in the green house and have somewhere around 150+ strawberries/ flowers on them. I live in Lane county oregon (close to the coast) would it be alright to transplant them now? Or will I lose all my flowers/berries? I’m willing to leave them in pots until fall. Although I did buy this GREAT organic soil and by the time fall rolls around a lot of the nutrients will be gone because of the spring rain but, thats alright. As long as I will get to eat all these yummy berries.
Strawberry plants are resilient. You can likely transplant them successfully at any time as long as they are watered appropriately and the roots have an opportunity to establish themselves. If you want to maximize the berry haul, however, I’d wait. Transplanting strawberries causes stress to the plants, and the more stress a plant experiences, the fewer the strawberries/lower the quality of strawberries. If you are looking for a big harvest, it is best to wait until after the season.
I am weeding an thining my strawberries this week. My daughter recently moved to a new place and is in the process of readying a garden spot and wants some strawberry starts. She may not be ready to plant them for a week or two. How can I continue my work now but preserve some starts for her? Can they be kept in the refigerator?
No need to put them in the refrigerator. Simply take a trowel and dig up enough soil around the plants you wish to give her so that the roots remain intact. If you are digging up newly-rooted runner plants, you can probably just keep them in some plastic cups for a week or two (be gentle with the newly rooted runners, however). When she is ready to plant them, just give her the cups. She can then transplant them directly from the cups into the ground with ease. Be sure to keep the waiting strawberry plants appropriately watered also.
What is the optimum pH for a bountiful harvest? My bed is on the East side of the house, is 50% sunlight enough? Also, the CEC of the soil is around 25-30 (pretty heavy), should I dig it out and replace with a good sandy loam (CEC of 10)? I am not making very large berries. Weed control is an issue, but before that, still no berries larger than the average marble.
The answers to your questions can be found here: Growing Strawberries
I will be moving during the winter and want to take my strawberry plants with me. Can I dig them up before the first frost and store them for the winter?
Yes, you can take them with you. I’d recommend digging around the plants and putting them in those really cheap and flimsy plastic pots for the move, leaving as many roots intact as possible. Once you get where you are going, replant them (now is actually a great time to replant strawberries) in their new home and pick up their care for the winter months as discussed here: Growing Strawberries. I don’t recommend trying to store them in any dug-up condition over the winter. Most, if not all, will die. Hope that helps!