By Samantha Belyeu

Strawberry plants produce runners that send nodes out from the mother plant to root another plant nearby. Set transplants close together if you plan to remove the runners. Separate them farther if you want the strawberry runners grow between plants.

The matted row system allows runners to grow freely between mother plants. Space transplants 18 inches apart on rows 3 to 4 feet apart.

The spaced row system allows runners to grow out from mother plants, but you should only keep those that land about 4 inches apart. The rest of the runners should be removed. Transplant spacing is the same for spaced rows as for matted systems.

Hill systems don’t allow any runners to form. Space transplants on rows 12 inches apart with 12 inches between plants. After every third plant in the rows, leave a 2-foot mulched walkway for maintenance and harvest. Mulch between rows and plants.

Matted row systems are less work during the growing season, while spaced row systems increase fruit production and reduce chances for disease problems. Hill systems allow more mulching around plants to suppress weeds, prevent water loss and prevent strawberry fruit from coming into contact with soil.