How To Prune A Blueberry Bush

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This article will teach you how to prune a blueberry bush.
by Brent Wilson · Zone 3A · -40° to -35° F to Zone 10B · 35° to 40° F · Fruit Bushes · 0 Comments · August 29, 2010 · 3,134 views

If and when you prune a blueberry bush will depend on it's age and how it was grown at the growing nursery.

During the first year in the life of a blueberry bush remove any flowers or fruit that are produced.This allows young plants to expend energy on establishing roots and branches rather than expending on producing fruit.

Pruning Bare Root Plants At Planting Time

Plant bare root blueberry bushes while the are dormant, before new growth begins to emerge in spring. At planting time, prune the bare root plant back 1/3 to 1/2. Remove low twiggy growth entirely and tip remaining shoots to remove all the flower buds (Figure 1).

Pruning Established Blueberry Bushes

After rabbiteye blueberries have established themselves they require little pruning until they reach about 4 to 6 feet in height. In general, it usually takes a blueberry plant 4 years to reach this height. At this point, a cane renewal pruning program should be started. Each winter, using a sharp pair of hand pruners, remove one to three of the largest canes, cutting them off at 0 to 24 inches from ground level, or a total of about 20 percent of the canopy (Figure 2). In areas where stem borers are a problem, make the pruning cuts at 24 inches. Do this over a period of five years and your blueberry bush will be totally renewed. New, more productive canes will sprout from the old canes and will sprout below ground level. In addition, excessively tall canes can be pruned back to 6 feet each winter.

In general, judge the amount of overall thinning needed by the size of the berries. If the berries have been small, prune more heavily the following dormant season. If large, limit pruning.

If you have arthritis or other joint issues, as I do, check out the Florian Ratchet Pruners, which cut up to 1/2 diameter branches and increase hand strength by a whopping 700%! The Florian Ratchet Lopper Pruners work great for larger branches up to 1.5 inches in diamter. Once you have a pair of these pruners it'll be the only one's you want to use. Even those without joint pains can benefit from these pruners - maybe it will keep you from having the pains in the first place!

Brent Wilson

Meet The Author

Brent Wilson - Brent Wilson is an avid gardener and one of the co-founders of Gardenality. He is also co-owner of Wilson Bros Nursery & Garden Center in McDonoguh


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Keywords

Blueberry, Blueberry Bush, Pruning, Prune, How To


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