How to Prune Blueberry Plants

Pruning blueberry plants will yield a better crop. image by Petr Kovar/


Blueberry plants need regular pruning to yield plentiful and quality fruit. Plants older than two years need to be pruned annually while young plants need to be pruned often for training. Training young blueberry plants to grow in certain shapes will result not only in better fruits, but also in a plant that grows blueberries for more years than plants that have not been trained.

Step 1

Select your tools. Use hand pruners for cutting smaller branches and canes. However, you may need a handsaw to remove the thicker, more mature canes and branches.

Step 2

Prune mature plants each year after the leaves fall and the plant is dormant. As mentioned above, prune plants that are less than two years old several times a year to train them.

Step 3

Prune unhealthy canes. Cut back weak, broken and diseased canes first. In addition, cut off any branches that have dead twigs on them. Prune away all weak, small, low-growing shoots as well. Do this anytime of year.

Step 4

Prune canes that are older than seven years, especially if you are deciding between which canes to cut. Prune away other canes as necessary to get the desired shape. In general, do not cut off more than three mature canes in any given year so that you still have enough fruit-bearing canes for your needs.

Step 5

Look at your final result. In general, blueberry plants should be narrow at the base and wider at the top. They should be spacious in the center; they should not be overcrowded so that sufficient light can penetrate all areas of your plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruners
  • Hand saw


  • Ohio State University Extension
Keywords: cutting blueberry plants, thinning blueberry, shaping blueberry

About this Author

Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

Photo by: Petr Kovar/