It seems like the plant is putting all of its reproductive energy into making the runners and not setting fruit. You might try cutting back the runners early on to stimulate fruit set. Most living things have a strong desire to reproduce, especially if they get a little stress, so trimming them back some might be just the ticket!
In the beginning, I wondered that I did not have fruit because we had a dry winter and spring. I wondered if they had gotten enough rain. Since we only go on weekends to our lot, I was only hand watering a bit.
I did not notice that I did not have fruit until the runners took over. Now I figured I lost this season, so plant to profit from all the new runner plants by transplanting them.
How thick shall I keep my strawberrry patch? Should I thin them to a certain distance between each plant or will they set fruit if they are close to each other but remove the runners?
I live in Québec Canada borderline zone (3b/4a). The season begins at the beginning of July for 3 weeks depending on the year.
To make matters worse, the very few berries we did have got eaten by some animal, I am suspecting a hare, since it took the complete berry cluster to the stem. I will have also to think about netting for next year. If that does not work to keep the animals from eating them, then I will have to find a way to fence off an area, but I am trying to grow them as a ground cover to my sea buckthorn (sea Berry) plants which is out in the open.
Strawberries are not particularly tolerant of either drought or competition. The plants are generally cold hardy, but the flowers are susceptible to frost. So any one or any combination of those factors could be your problem. And certainly everything loves eating the berries! You will either need to grow far, far more than you need or you will need to protect them, which means excluding everything from bugs (particularly wasps) to birds to rodents to bears.
Jewel is a midseason June bearing variety and not a particularly cold hardy one either. It is only listed down to zone 4. Perhaps you would do better to try a later and hardier variety such as Sparkle? (I am currently growing 26 different varieties. This ensures that I have extended production in good years and some production in bad years. This has been a very good year. I picked my first berry on June 5th and I still have a few plants producing even now. But then I am in Zone 4b with a frost free season that runs at least 90 days, usually from early June to early September. You may not have that luxury in your climate.)
I have the same problem! Glad to know I'm not alone. I got a few miserable little berries in spring and then NOTHING. We are not a one-time-of-year strawberry family, thank you very much. Now, adjacent to these berries is my alpine berries. The alpines keep producing! I planted a few at a work garden, and under serious neglect, THEY KEEP PRODUCING! Small, sweetest and flavorfullest things ever! We also get to eat these berries. Unlike regular strawberries which have their fruit hanging out on display, alpine's keep them under the leaf canopy, so birds can't see them. Alpine also don't runner. They clump, which is more suitable for small spaces and northern environments where untethered runners die off in winter anyway. Alpine are also heirloom and do grow fairly readily from seed. Therefore, after two years of this strawberry endeavor, and reading this post, I'm going to be switching out my main strawberry crop area to alpine and then placing the June-supposedly-bearing-ground-cover in the "forest" or some other place I never expect to produce that much fruit anyway. Maybe I'll get an ever-bearing variety to replace some side areas, but I've heard those are not great producers. Anyway- seriously- strawberries once a year? Are you joking?
I must confess: I worked to grow strawberries in both Tennessee and Florida for a few years and then ditched them altogether. Once I discovered the productivity of improved mulberry varieties, I planted about a dozen of those and never looked back.
The advice in this thread is good, however. Runners will draw away the strength. You might also try fertilizing with fish emulsion. I have a Master Gardener friend who raises great strawberries with that as her main feed for them. My bet is the micronutrients do it.
It could be they also want more nutrients? They could be sending out runners in search of more nutrients? Maybe add some compost around them. Or, better yet, put coffee grounds! Bunnies don't like coffee grounds and they've done a pretty good job for me of keeping the bunnies away when applied thickly. And, the coffee grounds add nitrogen and other nutrients.
Have you checked your soil PH? I know strawberries like relatively acidic soil.
Here's hoping you get more strawberries next year!
Could they possibly have too much nitrogen? That makes some plants grow vigorously but produce poorly. They seem to have a healthy green color.
They don't seem to be crowded.
Could the blooms have gotten frosted? That's my best guess. I'd put a lot of straw on them as soon as it gets cold. They will come through the winter better. Take most of it off in the spring but not too early. It will delay the bloom and hopefully miss a frost.
Aromas is a good day neutral variety and it's fairly productive here in MO. Not sure about how much cold the plants can handle in the winter, but if the early blooms get frosted, they'll bloom again
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