How to Prune Thinleaf Huckleberry


The thin leaf huckleberry (vaccinium membranaceum) is also known as the black huckleberry and the square-twig blueberry (vaccinium is Latin for blueberry). This shrub can be found growing wild in the forests of the Pacific Northwest where the fruit is enjoyed by the birds and black bears. A mature plant can reach a height of about 4 1/2 feet. It blooms in late spring and the berries ripen in mid to late summer. This plant is hardy to Zone 5, is the state fruit of Idaho and is a slow grower, so it will not require a lot of pruning. Prune the huckleberry to maintain its health and shape.

Step 1

Cut off any dead or damaged branches immediately. Damaged or partially broken branches are an entry point for disease and should always be removed from the shrub.

Step 2

View the young huckleberry bush to determine what canes you will need to prune to maintain a close base on the base of the plant as well as an open center. This shape will allow sun to filter through and also allow for air movement.

Step 3

Remove the selected canes by cutting them back at ground level. Do not cut back or cut down any more than two to three canes a year.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruning shears
  • Lopping shears


  • Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet
  • Idaho Agricultural Education
  • State of Idaho
Keywords: thin leaf huckleberry pruning, selecting old wood canes, pacific northwest fruit and blueberry shrubs

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.