Mowing Strawberry Plants

Why and how you can successfully mow your strawberry patch.

When it's time to prune your strawberry patch, there are several options to consider for cutting back your strawberry plants. Andrew at the Howard Homestead utilized a push mower and bagger to prune his strawberry patch of 400 plants in less than 30 minutes!

Why should you prune and renovate your strawberry plants?

In a nutshell, it's for the health of your plants and to improve next year's fruit production. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Regenerates new growth
  • Removes dead and diseased leaves
  • Opens up airflow for next year's plants
  • Takes the energy from this year's plants and puts it towards the development of next year's plant (and fruit!) growth

When should you NOT mow your strawberries?

It's important to note, that when we talk about mowing strawberry plants, we're referring to June-bearing varieties. What's a June-bearing strawberry? These are the varieties that bear one large crop in the summer, usually in June. Everbearing or day-neutral varieties will bear fruit throughout the summer, and should not be mowed.

Here are a few reasons you should NOT mow your strawberries:

  • Your strawberries are everbearing or day-neutral - these are not typically mowed
  • If it's several weeks past your June-bearers last harvest. You may run the risk of damaging next year's plants. For most places, it's suggested you don't mow past August 1st.
  • If your plants are thinly spaced. You can still mow, but be careful to raise the deck of your mower so you don't damage the runners, and they will be able to take root.

How to Properly Mow Your Strawberry Plants

Mowing your strawberries is quick and simple if done in a timely manner. Remember, the best time to mow them is within a week of your last harvest.

Follow these simple steps:

  • Set your mower to cut at least an inch above the crown of the strawberry plants.
  • Carefully mow over your plants with a push or riding mower.
  • After mowing, rake up the debris. This helps air circulate and removes a hospitable environment for fungi and other strawberry plant pathogens. In our case, we used a bag on the mower to collect the debris while mowing.
  • If you're experiencing a hot dry summer, it's a good idea to water your plants a few days before mowing to reduce stress.
  • Continue watering as needed throughout the rest of the summer, ensuring your plants get one inch of rain a week for optimal growth and development for next year's harvest.