Transplanting strawberry runners
You only have to buy strawberry plants once. Strawberry plants have a tendency to take over my garden if given a chance. The best thing about strawberry plants is that they give you even more plants! It is also a good idea to use the runners to plant another patch since the mother plant will stop producing much fruit after about 4 years.
Strawberry plants send out new baby plants which are called runners. The baby plant roots and if left alone will produce more fruit the next season. This is all great in theory but if left alone the plants will take over more and more space and get out of control. For this reason I transplant the runners to a new area each year.
I also like the strawberry rows to be no more than 18 inches wide. This width allows me to reach each side of the bed from either side and also allows for air and light to reach the soil.
This is very easy to do and saves money because you don't have to buy new plants!
First thing we do is we weed eat strawberry patch until most of the large leaves are gone (try not to cut them too low or they might not grow back). Once you have done this, it will be much easier to identify the runners from the mother plant.
Runners grow from the mother plant and have a long stem with a baby strawberry plant at the end. Once the baby plant touches soil, it will start to root.
Select runners that have rooted. Cut the connection of the runner to the mother plant. Using a shovel or trowel, carefully dig up the strawberry runner. I like to have a big clump of dirt with the roots. The less you disrupt the roots the higher the chances that the plant will survive the transplant.
Dig up as many as you need/have and place them on a cardboard box or a tray. You can add an inch or so layer of moist potting soil to the tray before you place the runners. This way you can wait a few days to transplant if you aren't able to do so the same day. Just keep the tray in a shady covered area.
Transplanting them to the new bed is just as easy.
Dig a hole twice the size as the root ball of the runner. Place the plant so all the leaves are above soil level and back fill the hole with soil and press down firmly on to the roots. Once you have all the runners planted, water the bed and mulch it thickly. Don't skimp on the mulch, it will save you hours of labor come spring. You don't need to fertilize until spring when they start to grow.
I have had great success using this method. I check the transplants regularly and see how they are doing. Strawberry plants continue to grow all winter in our zone 7a garden.
I hope you grow a strawberry patch this year! It is a very rewarding crop and my kids absolutely love harvesting strawberries!