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They say that strawberry plants don't produce good fruit as they become a few years old. Let's say a 5 year old strawberry plant starts a new plant via a runner. Does this runner have its biological clock reset back to zero or is it considered the same age as its parent? That is, will the runner produce good fruit or will it produce bad fruit like its senile parent? What I'm trying to see is if I can infinitely extend my years of harvesting strawberries by constantly rejuvenating my strawberry patch by propagating via runners every year.

These spindly horizontal vines are runners. I have Quinalt strawberries, if that matters.

strawberry runner

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A healthy strawberry runner is considered to be a "new" plant. Many of the long-term strawberry beds I've read about use runners as a way of renewing the beds every year or every other year, and as a result, the bed itself produces for quite a long time.

To maintain the quality and productivity of the berry patch, the planting must be renovated each year. This allows new runner plants to replace old plants.

This quote is taken from Purdue University's publication titled "Growing Strawberries." It basically states that the typical method of renewal for strawberry beds is to let the new runners take over from the old.

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    Yes, the recommendations I often see are to cut off the runners, but then they recommend pulling out the plants every few years and starting over. It seems like such a waste! I always leave some of the runners, and then pull out the older plants that have stopped producing. I probably don't get as many/as large berries, but I don't have to keep spending on new plants, either. – michelle Apr 2 '14 at 18:54
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    Agreed - I don't pull off the runners, either. I usually leave them to fill in between the parent plants, or transplant them to a new bed. – TeresaMcgH Apr 2 '14 at 19:24

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