Gardening Editor Ruth Hayes looks at removing old foliage and leaf litter around strawberry plants

We had a relatively mild autumn here in the south and my strawberry plants have kept on growing and, amazingly, producing flowers and even fruit.

These need to be removed now, so the plants don’t expend all their energy on flowers and fruit that will never ripen in winter temperatures.

strawberry main Jan 6 2018

Remove flowers, leaves and fruit that won’t ripen in winter

Also, cut away old tatty foliage and remove leaf litter and debris that has accumulated around the base of the plants.

It is important to practise good garden hygiene around your plants because low-growing strawberries offer easy sanctuary for all sorts of pests and fungal diseases.

While clearing away dead foliage and tree leaves that had blown onto the strawberry patch, I also found some new plantlets growing off runners sent out by the mature plants.

These had rooted and were growing well, so I cut away the shrivelled runners attaching them to the parent plant and will grow them on.

The mature plants will be three years old next year, so it will be time to dispose of them and start a new strawberry bed elsewhere in the garden.

I will populate it with young strawberry plants potted up from runners and stored in the greenhouse over winter.

strawberry inset jan 6 2018

These young plants will be planted out next year