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How to Prune Georgia Blueberry Bushes

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How to Prune Georgia Blueberry Bushes

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Overview

The most common type of blueberry bush grown in Georgia is the rabbiteye, which can grow 8 to 10 feet high and be productive for decades if cared for properly. Although the rabbiteye blueberry bush requires relatively little in the way of annual pruning, taking care of dead and diseased branches and culling out branches that grow inward will improve blueberry yields and the overall health of the bushes.

Step 1

Prune rabbiteye blueberry bushes beginning in their second spring. Rabbiteyes need little pruning compared to other families of blueberries, but some judicious culling every spring will keep them healthy and productive.

Step 2

Prune lower branches back to the main trunk to keep the fruiting branches off the soil. This keeps the blueberries from rotting and also discourages some garden pests such as squirrels and possums. Using sharp pruning shears, cut the branch at a 45-degree angle within an inch of the main trunk.

Step 3

Prune any weak or spindly branches, including those that are facing in toward the middle of the blueberry bush rather than outward. Look for branches that are twisted or thin compared to the rest of the bush. Branches growing inward will shade the bush from sunlight that is necessary to ripen the fruit.

Step 4

Cut back vigorous top growth if you wish to keep your rabbiteye blueberry bush at a height that can be harvested by hand. Although the yield will be slightly less, the accessibility of the fruit will compensate for it.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never prune rabbiteye blueberry bushes severely or risk damaging the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Rabbiteye blueberry bush
  • Sharp pruning shears

References

  • "SmallFruits.org: Blueberry Cultivars for Georgia"
  • "Texas A&M University: Rabbiteye Blueberries"
  • "ISHS Acta Horticulturae: Effects of Pruning on 'Climax' Rabbiteye Blueberries"
Keywords: growing blueberries, Georgia gardening, fruit vines