We present detailed studies of the onset of strain relaxation in InAsInGaAs quantum dots. We show that the ground-state photoluminescence (PL) emission redshifts with increasing the InAs coverage before relaxation and blueshifts when relaxation occurs. PL spectra of the relaxed samples show two predominant families of dots with very different temperature-dependent efficiency. By comparison we show that the dots emitting at long wavelength are degraded by relaxation while the dots emitting at short wavelength remain coherently strained. Consequently, the PL spectra are dominated by the dots emitting at short wavelength, leading to the observed blueshift. This result suggests that the relaxation does not occur uniformly. In addition, we show that the relaxation occurs in the dot bottom interface.