How to Prune Blueberries

Want your blueberry bush to be strong and fruitful? Prune it according to these guidelines. The best time to prune your blueberry is in late winter, before it sets blossoms.

New plant

* Snip off any old, spindly growth. You want all the energy to go into the new growth. * Pick off blossoms the first spring, to conserve the plant's energy.

Two years in your garden

Institute good, regular pruning practices: * Cut off dead branches (as soon as you see them) * Cut off and discard diseased branches (as soon as you see them) * Cut off twiggy or weak growth

Third year in your garden

Continue your pruning practices and begin your long-term focus on regenerating the bush * Cut off suckers at the base of the bush * Cut off lower branches if the weight of fruit will push them to the ground * Take out 1 or 2 of the oldest canes at ground level or a healthy side branch * If the crown is producing new canes, cut off all but 2 * Cut off branches that cross others

Too much of a good thing?

*If your blueberry is fruiting like mad (overbearing) and sending up lots of new shoots, send the plant a message by cutting off some branch tips.

Is your blueberry in trouble?

* Once you have solved the problem (lack of fertilizer or adequate irrigation, overbearing, for instance) you can rejuvenate the bush by cutting off 1/3 of the canes each year for 3 years. See good pruning practices put into action in this drawing   Thank you to Growing Blueberries in the Sacramento Region by Chuck Ingels, Sacramento County Farm Advisor, our source for the diagram and much good information. For additional information on blueberry care see our video, blog posts on blueberries and our Growing Guide. University Illinois Extension offers sound blueberry insight as well.

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