How to Prune Fruit Bushes


Fruit bushes need frequent pruning for plant health and shape. Pruning opens up the canopy to air circulation, which keeps fruit bushes and developing fruit healthy. Since bushes fruit on mature wood but not old wood, gardeners need to carefully remove old non-productive wood and trim or shape new growth. Prune in the dormant season, late winter to early spring. Since the bush has no foliage at this time you can easily identify good and poor growth while pruning.

Step 1

Look for dead, diseased or damaged branches on your fruit bush. Damaged growth may have wounds or appear broken, while dead growth is brittle and does not sway in the wind. Removing this growth keeps the fruit bush healthy.

Step 2

Prune away dead, diseased or damaged growth at its base with your anvil pruners. After each cut, spray the pruners with disinfectant to avoid accidental contamination of healthy growth.

Step 3

Remove old growth that no longer bears fruit. Old growth will have thicker stems that tend to be gray or tan in color rather than green. Removing the old wood spurs the growth of new fruiting wood. Clip off all old growth.

Step 4

Identify the strongest and healthiest-looking new growth. Weak or spindly growth, or growth that crisscrosses other branches, is not healthy or strong. Good growth is thick and sturdy. Remove all but two to four of the strongest-looking new growth canes, advises the University of Massachusetts.

Things You'll Need

  • Anvil pruners
  • Disinfectant spray


  • University of Massachusetts: Pruning Blueberries in the Home Garden
Keywords: blueberry care, pruning fruit bushes, trim fruit bush

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.