Pep up your strawberry patch

Keep your crops fresh and replace older ones to prevent disease.

Autumn’s the time to revamp your strawberry patch, freshening up plants and making way for the new. Strawberries are best replanted every three years as infection from damaging viruses will gradually take hold, reducing vigour and yield. The viruses are spread from plant to plant, mainly by greenfly (aphids) and leafhoppers as they feed on the plant.

To ensure your schedule of fruiting is not interrupted, it makes sense to replace some plants on a yearly basis. In other words, you’ll have one patch containing plants that are one year old, another with plants two years old and one more with plants in their final year.

Providing they’re healthy you can also use your fruiting beds for propagation, letting runners root to create new plants. Planting rooted runners at this time of year should ensure that a small but welcome crop will be produced from these new plants next year.

As well as freshening up your plant stock, you can be trimming and tidying and generally ensuring there’s good air flow to your plants and no pests or disease are encouraged.