“My strawberries were awesome until the neighbor’s chickens got into my bed and scratched them up. Since then the berries are really small and hardly worth picking. Do I need to buy new plants or will pumping up the soil be enough to bring them back to their formal glory? I am including a picture of the crop I used to get and now I can barely fill up a cereal bowl when I pick.” Question from Sylvia of Belle Plaine, Minnesota
Answer: It sounds like the chickens caused your strawberries a lot of stress, but plant age may also be an issue. Many gardeners don’t know that strawberries are a three-year crop. The parent plants only produce well for three years before declining. In the second year, it is often good to nurture one good runner from each parent plant as a replacement. Then in the third year, the parent plants should be removed. It is the cycle for keeping strawberry patches producing at no additional cost.
Nurturing the soil will certainly boost growth as will fertilization, but old strawberry plants are not revivable. To learn everything that you need to know about making the most of strawberry plants, please reach the articles below and watch the video. Oh, and some chicken wire will help keep feathered beasts from scratching them up!
Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.
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