Strawberries are one of the most widely grown garden fruits, yet maintaining proper care often confuses some garden novices. In order to receive maximum crop production from your strawberries, follow these simple steps on how to prune strawberry plants.

Pinch off new blossoms the first year after planting strawberries, and during subsequent seasons, until July 1. Although the crop won’t yield fruit during its first summer, pinching the blossoms from new strawberry growth will ensure that it bears fruit during the next growing season.

Tame out-of-control runners. June-bearing strawberries grow an abundance of runners, (shoots from the mother plant), which can be trained to form new rows and produce more fruit. Cutting back the runners of ever-bearing strawberries is essential, as they drain vital nutrients from the mother plant.

Turn undergrowth from older strawberry plants. If space is adequate, train runners into new rows and mulch the older strawberry plants when fruit production begins to decline, usually after a few years.

Mow strawberry plants, or cut them back once the season has ended. Trimming strawberry plants to 1 inch above soil level will keep plants healthy and productive for up to 5 years after planting.

When selecting strawberries, be sure to choose the correct cultivar, or type, that fits your gardening space. June-bearing strawberries require a large row for the number of runners they produce; day neutrals and ever-bearing strawberry plants can thrive in a smaller location.

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