June- bearing strawberry plants are productive for several years if they are given the proper care. Plantings in a matted row system require renovation. Renovation is the process of removing the leaves of the plants and cultivating the aisle to reduce the width of the row of plants to 8” – 12”. There is no need to renovate June bearing plants that are in their establishment year (the year you plant them).
When do you renovate your plants?
In late June or early July after harvest had finished with your berries.
How to renovate
Mow or clip the leaves of your plants. Do this by setting a push mower or your garden tractor at the highest setting. The higher the setting the better. You do not want to injure or cut the crown of the plants.
In small planting situations you can use pruners to trim the leaves off the plant. Be sure to properly sanitize your pruners between each plant.
This picture is in the renovation process. The right side is what the beds looked like before mowing. The left side is mowed.
This is a picture of a mowed plant. Notice how the mower didn’t get all the runners? I go back through the rows with pruners and clip of the long stems.
After you have mowed or clipped your plants remove the clipped leaves from the bed by raking them up. Burn the leaves, do not compost these leaves. If the leaves have any disease and they are composted, you could put the disease back into the soil another time.
Rototill or cultivate the aisles to maintain the proper plant spacings. It is very easy for a runner to get away from you and become a plant in your aisle. Tilling the rows helps to eliminate an unwanted messy bed. However, if you do not mind the messy bed look then leave those run a ways!!
Side- dress the plants with phosphorus (bone meal is goof source of phosphorus) to promote new growth and aid in winter hardiness. Be sure to water the fertilizer in after applying.
Cover the plants with straw before the fall frost and remove in spring when the weather starts to get warmer.
Sabrina K. Schirtzinger
Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources
OSU Extension, Knox County