If possible, resist the urge to let the bush bear fruit. Fruit of the blueberry is borne on wood produced in the previous season (one-year-old wood). Heavy pruning causes thicker and more leafy shoots than light pruning. The best time of year to prune blueberries is in late winter or early spring. Prune too much, you'll have lots of growth and large, but few, fruit. Pruning is rarely needed in the first two years, just remove any crossing or misplaced branches. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/can-prune-blueberries-summer-90613.html Growing blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) Prune blueberry bushes to ensure healthy crops. Pruning controls the crop to increase fruit quality. With a little effort, these "wonder berries" can be produced by home gardeners throughout Georgia. Pruning helps to maintain a good shape and size so that the plant is productive. With a little preparation and some patience, these radiant plants can be garden showstoppers. It also encourages well-established blueberry plants to put out new canes from the base. The most common blueberry bushes are highbush and southern highbush, which can grow from 6 to 8 feet tall. The best time to prune your blueberry bushes is in the late winter or early spring. Highbush blueberry plants can live for many decades; but early in their life, they don’t need much pruning. Remove crossing stems and any crossing or particularly spindly-looking branches. Blueberries are becoming increasingly popular due to their delicious and healthy fruit. Leave only strong, vital branches from the base. Why Prune Blueberries. Blueberries are slow to establish taking 2-3 years to take hold and even longer to … Pruning and training. 'Alapaha' rabbiteye blueberry. Continue to remove the flowers and prevent fruit for the second year. For the first two years flower buds should be removed either by rubbing them off or by cutting off the tips of shoots. It's also best to prune on a dry day. If your bushes have never been trimmed, be careful not to go overboard the first year: Remove no more than two or three of the oldest canes (more than seven years old). This means flowers that bloom this spring were set last summer … Pruning mature blueberry plants: remove weak, low-growing shoots (1) thin the crown of the plant by cutting out about 20 percent of the canes each year (2) head new, vigorous canes to about 4 to 6 inches below the top of the bush (3) 1 2} Excessive fruit set results in smaller, poorer-quality Blueberries fruit on short sideshoots produced during spring or early summer of the previous year. Pruning young bushes. The amount of new growth that the plants put out after they’re pruned will depend to some extent on their vigor and the fertility of the soil, but as a general guideline, cut them to about one foot lower than the maximum height at which you want to pick berries next year. The best time to prune a mature gooseberry bush is in late winter or early spring when the plant is dormant, just before the vigorous growth of spring when healing will be quick. Jolene Hansen is a lifelong gardening enthusiast and former horticulture professional. From then on, pruning is needed to stimulate growth of the new shoots that will bear fruit the following season. Pruning Young Blueberry Plants . Knowing when and how to prune helps establish your blueberries to bear abundant, quality fruit for many years. After the third year, a mature cultivated blueberry plant has 15-18 canes which originate from the crown. From four years on, remove unproductive stems to stimulate new growth. Sterilize your blades with household disinfectant before and after each bush to prevent the spread of disease. Unlike some roses and hydrangeas, blueberry bushes don’t need to be pruned down to the ground. An outline of pruning methods with general care of blueberry plants is available in an OSU Extension Service's circular "Growing Blueberries in Your Home Garden," (EC 1304), available free of charge online, or you can purchase a copy for $1.50 plus shipping and handling. Remove any diseased or broken wood, plus crossing branches. in your garden can mean fresh breakfast berries -- if those bushes remain healthy and productive. For more information, see Bulletin #2253 Growing Highbush Blueberries. Young plants require little pruning for the first two to three years. Blueberry Burst and Blueberry Kisses pruning can begin at the end of the first 12 months if plants have established well, as soon as fruiting is finished for the season. Prune all branches back by about 30%–40% to encourage vigorous new growth. For the first 4 years or so after planting, there is no need to prune blueberry bushes. Know where blueberry bushes produce fruit. In fact learning how to prune blueberry bushes is a fairly simple process. Blueberries produce fruit on canes that are young, strong and upright, rather than on older branches on the bush. A similar approach can be taken with blueberries. As many of you are aware, it’s customary to prune azaleas, if needed, soon after flowering. With dormant pruning, canes are seen clearly and large flower buds stand out on one-year wood. In year two, continue to remove weak, twiggy base growth. When Do I Prune Gooseberries & Blueberries? Your first pruning comes at planting time. Upright blueberry shrubs tend to become dense in the center causing shading. If you’re fine with pulling shoots down to reach berries at seven feet from the ground, you can cut them back to six feet. Ideally, a balance of branches aged from one to five should compose each bush. In North Carolina, this translates to February or early March. Remove all weak, twiglike growth at the base of your bushes. Fruit is borne on one-year wood. Blueberries have a shallow, spreading root system and suckers can sprout up some distance from the bush. A site about a garden, a summer residence and house plants. Blueberry Summer Pruning Demo. This means that in years in which we have a late freeze – as we did this year – it’s less likely that flowers on these shoots will be injured by low temperatures. Prune plants in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.  X Research source Blueberries only grow on branches that are at least one year old. The tidy-up comes first. Baton Rouge, LA 70803, aha' rabbiteye blueberry. In the third year, remove low-lying branches near the ground. While it’s not absolutely necessary to prune blueberry plants every year, reducing their height can make them easier to pick. For trimming blueberry bushes, you should remove any lower growth to prevent fruits from settling on the ground. 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