I have Seascape Strawberry plants. They are day-neutral. Some squirrels and I have eaten the strawberries. What should I do with the stems that have been eaten from? Should they be cut away or will they grow into something useful (more leaves or more strawberries)? The eaten fruiting stems I speak of are the finer claw-like stems in the center of the following photo.

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After fruiting, the fruit stems of a strawberry plant stop drawing energy from the plant, and eventually die. They do not benefit or harm the plant.

If you don't like the appearance, you can cut the fruit stems only, back to the base (or as close as you can get). The old stem will not produce new leaves, fruit, or stems. Cutting them back will not encourage new growth after the fruit has ripened.

Most growers do what @NiallC described, giving the plants no pruning until plant dieback at the end of the season, cutting all the dead out of the plant for winter.

  • Will some stems and leaves remain green over the winter? I live in zone 9. – JoJo Jun 13 '14 at 4:48
  • @JoJo yes, some of them will. Even where I am. in zone 6b, they are mostly evergreen. – J. Musser Jun 13 '14 at 4:52
  • Can I cut the plants back to the base also in spring? Mine have a lot of brown/dirty leaves, presumably because they were not pruned after the last growing season. – Drux Mar 28 '15 at 5:46
  • @Drux yes, you can. When I had a lot of 'em, I used a hedge trimmer to cut 'em back. – J. Musser Mar 28 '15 at 10:15

You can prune the flowering stems now, cutting them back close to the ground. Don't pull on them to try to break them off or you might pull the whole plant up.

Or you can leave them on the plant for a while. Some of the older leaves on strawberries will die in the fall, and it's a good idea to remove them for hygiene so that you don't have decomposing strawberry leaves lying around your plants attracting diseases or pests. You can cut back the flower stems at that point too.

  • I'm familiar with heading cuts on trees - they cause more branching right below the cut. So you're saying strawberries will not react in the same way? If I cut the entire stem at ground level, where do the new stems come from? I know new growth can come from runners, but can new growth also come from the base of the mother plant? – JoJo Jun 10 '14 at 18:17
  • 2
    No, cut just the flowering stem. Don't cut off the growing tip of the plant. – Niall C. Jun 10 '14 at 18:32
  • Strawberries have a different growing habit than trees do. They have a central point where the leaves and flowers come from. If you cut that off, you are basically decapitating the plant, and it probably will not survive. But in any case, fruit stems will not grow anything else useful, and can be cut back. – TeresaMcgH Jun 10 '14 at 22:09

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