Can I dig up strawberry plants?

I planted bare roots this spring. They have grown quite well. Unfortunately, GA is the bug capital of the world, and slugs are eating all my strawberries and leaving no stones unturned.

I will now abort growing strawberries in a raised bed. I want to grow them in containers and sit those container on a table. Hopefully this will keep the slugs from going up and reaching the pots.

  1. Can I dig up the plants and put them in pots successfully, or should I get some runners started and then hack down the in-ground plants once I root all the runners I need?

  2. Do strawberries overwinter well in pots?

  3. Are 3 gallon pots good enough for each plant?

When I was caring for my father in California where slugs are a major problem, I learned that slugs think nothing of climbing onto a table to eat plants. You would need something around the legs to deter them.

Actually, you are right. I was going to create a barrier of salt at the legs of the table,and then provide some rain cover for the salt, so that it’s essentially permanently there. I’ll get creative.

I’ve overwintered strawberries quite successfully in pots and I’m also in 7b. I didn’t provide any protection though I know you should.

I think 3 gallon is more than enough. You could probably do 1-2 as well if it’s just one plant.

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Usually for unstunted plants, if you can retain the root ball as undisturbed as possible through a move, it will be ahead as compared to starting with a newer and smaller plant (like a runner). In some plants (unsure about strawberries in particular), If you disturb the root ball (or if it’s rootbound in the first place), it could stunt for quite some time. Perhaps you can try to move the original plant and also plant a runner and let us know which one wins.

Also as another data point, I’ve overwintered strawberries in a raised beds, I’m in between Zone 7a/6b. I would think a raised bed would offer more protection vs pots, but still less than in ground.

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This past spring I overwintered two pomegranate trees in a 2 gallon and a 5 gallon container outside with no protection.

Do you think that’s worth anything in terms of translating over to strawberries?

I’d let them grow in the ground until Oct. Wait for some cooler weather in the forecast then dig the babies and pot them. They are extremely tough. I dig them at the time each year to move them. I’m in AL. Cut back the top to a few leaves and keep them watered good for a week and they will be fine. You don’t have to be super careful about saving tons of roots when you dig them. I have not tried to grow them in a pot in winter, but I have in summer. They are not happy in a pot in summer with the level of care I am willing to provide. Unless it gets super cold, they should be fine int he pot. And you can move them to a protected location if you need to.

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Get them some beer. If you wanted to kill me I would appreciate it if you got me a beer first so it feels right to do that to the slugs.

I kid you not they love beer. Given the right container they will crawl and drown in beer. Better yet it gives you a solid reason to crack open a beer to ‘refil’ the slug traps. Google it up.

I don’t think salt is “the right tool for the job” here.

Most people have seen or heard what sprinkling salt on a slug does. Does not mean it’s a good or the best permanent solution. If you burn a slug with a flame it will also die, luckily no one is mounting flame trowers to a table to deter slugs :slight_smile:

You have plenty of better alternatives. Like copper tape around the legs of the table.
Or certain slug “poison” we in the EU even have biological ones based on iron and phosphate. (both fertilizers) and some added “taste” for the slugs.
There are even products around based on nematodes. (sort of microscopic worms that live in the soil and feast on slugs and or there eggs)
And also special “slug net barriers” Basically nets with side flaps suspended at an angle downwards that slugs find impossible to crawl over.

All in my opinion better options than “salting the earth”

in another topic here, some one mentioned “sluggo” i don’t know what it is, but you could google.

Or follow don1357 his beer advice. If seen beer work. It’s not my favorite method. But it certainly works.

Strawberry’s are quite strong. So you can dig them up and pot them. The 2e year is my favorite year harvest wise. So assuming your plants are 1 year (harvest) old. I would dig them up. If you dig them up now, try to get the soil/whole rootball. If you dig them up in dormant season (best practice) you can even “bare root” them. And use a potting medium instead of soil in the plant pots.

Most June bearers form the flowers for next years harvest from around august till dormant season. So it’s best to not pot them up in that time period. Ad to allow the plants to form enough flowers for next years harvest. i would either move them now. (or the next weeks) or wait till dormant season (around oktober likely)
When you move them it’s a good idea to trim a few leaves. Usually the ones with spots or signs of disease/ old leaves.

If your plants are already older (2+ harvests). id recommend taking cuttings from the runners. Rooting the runners in (smal) pots. Is also an excellent way to not spread/perpetuate soil diseases.

I prefer 1gal + of soil per plant when growing in pots. And you likely want to fertilize a little extra potassium (Kalium). The main factor to consider when growing in pots is water supply. Strawberry’s need a lot of water for how small the plants are.


I don’t understand why you wouldn’t kill the slugs instead of digging up the strawberries?

I have almost completely eradicated the snails and slugs from my front yard using Sluggo. The active ingredient is iron phosphate, which occurs naturally in the soil, so it is safe around pets, wildlife and children. The snails/slugs eat the pellets and it screws up their digestive systems so they stop eating. They die over the course of a few days.


DE and oyster shell or cocoa shells as a mulch works against slugs for my mom


You have a good point about using Sluggo.

However, as I found out today, it looks like earwigs are also eating them too along with the slugs.

Hey…everybody has to eat. Slugs, crows, snakes, squirrels, deer, bears, moles …so if there are some left be happy. :slight_smile:

They’re not leaving me anything. Maybe 1 or 2 strawberries a day. They’re eating 10 a day. That’s unacceptable.

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Lucky for you, there’s also a product called “Sluggo Plus” that kills earwigs and other crawlies as well as snails/slugs. It is still totally safe and organic. The additional active ingredient is spinosad, which comes from a bacteria occurring naturally in the soil.