A June-bearing strawberry planting can be productive for several years if the bed is given good care. One important task is to renovate June-bearing strawberries immediately after the last harvest. The renovation process involves leaf removal, creation of 8-inch-wide plant strips, and fertilization. After the initial renovation steps have been completed, irrigation and weed control are necessary throughout the remainder of the growing season.
The first step in the renovation of June-bearing strawberries is to mow off the leaves 1 inch above the crowns of the plants with a rotary lawnmower. This should be done within 1 week of the last harvest. (Do not mow the strawberry bed after this 1 week period as later mowing destroys new leaf growth.) To aid in disease control, rake up the leaf debris and remove it from the area.
June-bearing strawberries grown in 2-foot-wide matted rows should be narrowed to 8-inch-wide strips with a rototiller or hoe. When selecting the part of the row to keep, try to save the younger plants and remove the older plants. If the strawberry planting has been allowed to become a solid mat several feet wide, renovate the bed by creating 8-inch-wide plant strips. Space the plant strips about 3 feet apart.
Fertilization is the next step in renovation. Apply approximately 5 pounds of 10-10-10 or a similar analysis fertilizer per 100 feet of row to encourage plant growth and development.
Water the strawberry plants once a week during dry weather. Strawberries require approximately 1 inch of water per week (either from rain or irrigation) for adequate growth. Irrigate the planting during hot, dry summer weather to insure optimum production next season. Irrigation during the summer months encourages runner formation and flower bud development. (The flower buds on June-bearing strawberries develop in late summer and early fall.)
Control weeds in the strawberry planting by cultivating and hand pulling. Cultivate 1 to 2 inches deep to avoid damaging the roots of the strawberry plants.
Some June-bearing strawberry varieties are extremely vigorous, producing runners beyond the 2-foot-wide matted row. These runners should be placed back within the 2-foot row or removed to prevent the planting from becoming a solid mat of plants.
Annual renovation of June-bearing strawberries helps to control insect and disease pests, maximizes crop yields, and prolongs the life of the planting.
For information on strawberry pests, diseases and weed control in the home garden see the ISU Extension and Outreach news release for May 31.