Pruning blueberry bushes is a very important thing to learn, especially if you plan to grow them for their berries. Why? You’ll get larger and healthier fruit if you prune your blueberry bushes properly. Pruning blueberries is very different from pruning other plants. When pruning blueberry bushes, you want to focus on three areas – the wood cane area, the lateral area, and the top area.”
When to Prune Blueberries Bushes?
Blueberry bushes are considered to be perennial shrubs but actually are best thought of as woody perennials. As such, you can prune well into early winter or even early spring if time permits. Late winter pruning tends to encourage the growth of flowers the next year. Pruning should be done in early to mid-February in Florida where blueberries are native, and after the danger of hard frost has passed in other planting areas.
Tools needed to prune blueberries:
- Long-handled shears or scissors
- The right protective gloves
- The right pruning stand
- Plastic bags to store cuttings in
- A little experience and a few safety precautions
Some tips for Pruning Blueberries:
Blueberry bushes can produce a lot of fruit in a small space, but you need to prune them on a regular basis. Here are some tips for blueberry pruning so your bushes will become more productive.
Once blueberries are established, pruning is not a big burden, but if you don’t prune, the bushes will outgrow their space. Pruning is really only needed if you want to control the size of the bushes.
So, how to prune blueberries? You prune them a little at a time. Every year you prune anything you don’t have to eat regularly, but you only prune the branches that bear fruit.
Here are the things you should prune: the canes, the branches, the shoots bearing fruit, and the flowers.
First, remove all dead or dying canes all the way to the ground. Remove any canes that are growing into their neighbors. Remove any canes that are growing into the center of the bush.
Second, prune out the low-growing branches. Prune out all growth that is about 2.5 to 3 feet high.
Third, now is a good time to shape the bushes. Prune off all canes that are more than 3 feet from the base of the bush. Prune out one out of every 4 to 5 buds.
Fourth, prune out any canes that are growing at an angle of 45 degrees or more. Prune out any canes that have grown into their neighbors. Prune any canes that have grown into the center of the bush. Prune out any canes that you don’t think will grow big enough to fruit.
So, how many bushes do you need to get a big harvest? About 15.
And how long does it take to get a big harvest? About four years.
Important Note: Be Careful
You can prune blueberries, but be careful. If you do it wrong, they die. Most pruning injuries are caused by pruning at the wrong time of the year. If you prune too late, they die. If you prune too early, they die. If you prune incorrectly, they die.