By Kate Carpenter
One of the best things about having your own strawberry patch, besides harvesting the sweet berries, is that the plants are prolific in sending out runners of new strawberry plants. When your strawberry garden gets too crowded from the runners, or maybe you simply wish to relocate your patch, moving or transplanting your plants at the correct time will mean the difference between thriving plants that produce fruit sooner.
Whether you are planning to move the runners from your strawberry plants or your original strawberry plants, it should be after the plant has finished, or stopped producing strawberries for that season and is dormant, with no new flowers forming. Moving a strawberry plant while it is growing and still in production will only add additional stress to the transplanting of the plant and may cause it to die, take longer for it to re-establish its root system, or to stop producing berries.
Most gardeners prefer to move their strawberry plants in the fall, between September and early November. This is best if you live in a region that does not experience an early frost or harsh winters. By moving your strawberries in the fall you allow them to establish a strong root system in their new location before the cold weather begins. If you are moving your original plants, be sure to remove any runners from the plant when you transplant it so the plant is not using its energy to support the runners, but to establish its roots. Although you can move any variety of strawberry plants in the fall, the fall transplanting method is especially advantageous to strawberry varieties that are early-spring fruit bearing. You will have a more successful crop the next spring if you move these varieties in the fall.
If you are growing late-season fruit-bearing strawberries (those that ripen in mid to late summer) you can wait and move the plants in early spring. Do this as soon as you can work the soil and when the threat of hard frost or freeze has passed. After you move them, should a frost be predicted, cover the newly transplanted strawberries with several inches of straw mulch to protect them. It is better to do this than to wait until all frost risk is gone, such as in April. Moving your strawberry plants too late in the spring may result in your plants not producing any fruit for the current growing season.