I know, of course, how strawberries spread. I’ve grown them in one of my tall raised beds for a few years now, and anyway I grew up around a strawberry patch. I knew that each time my parents’ strawberry patch was rejuvenated, it was done with runners from the old patch. I even remember seeing the occasional plant trying to take root outside of the bed.
But somehow I never considered strawberries to be capable of truly invasive behavior. So last fall, when I was thinning the strawberries in our front tree beds (having learned my lesson about letting the plants get too crowded), I didn’t worry about the runners that had made their way into our yard. Sure, there were an awful lot of them — the tree beds are essentially level with the ground, with only a token cedar edge to jump over. But surely the lawn mower would take care of them when the time came.
I don’t know how many plants have colonized our yard. The Shuksan variety seems the most prone to invasion. I do know that the lawn mower has only spurred them to grow lower to the ground. While their pampered colleagues in the beds have grown tall and lush, the ones in the lawn have huddled tenaciously down to the earth, and put out white flowers in defiance of all mechanized trimming equipment. Even when Dave went after them with the weed whacker, taking them right down to the earth, they sent out stubborn new leaves on shorter stems still. I imagine them gritting their metaphorical teeth and thinking grimly I will produce sweet delicious berries if it kills me.
I don’t really want to kill them, of course. I am greedy for every strawberry I can get. I tried digging some out of the yard and transplanting them somewhere a little more hospitable, but discovered that pulling their roots free of the matted sod was… um, challenging. I stopped after about six plants.
So for the moment we are ceding part of the yard to them, and resolving two things: first, to be vigilant about nipping off this year’s runners before they root; and second, to be careful where we step come June.