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How to Trim Blueberry Bushes

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How to Trim Blueberry Bushes

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Overview

Blueberries provide delicious summer treats, and with a little care and maintenance, they can easily be grown by home gardeners in many parts of the United States. It takes a few years for blueberry bushes to become established and begin bearing fruit, but once they do, you should get a good crop of berries each summer. Without regular pruning, however, blueberry bushes can become unwieldy and may not produce as much fruit as they once did. Pruning blueberries is a relatively quick and simple process that will keep your plant healthy and fruitful.

Step 1

Look over your blueberry bush, moving aside the branches and canes to get a good overall view of the plant. Try to identify broken branches or those that show signs of disease that should be removed.

Step 2

Remove broken branches with a handsaw or hand loppers, cutting them off at the base of the larger branch. Work through the entire plant, pushing aside branches to get to broken branches on the inside of the bush.

Step 3

Cut diseased branches branch off with your pruning tools as close to the originating branch as possible. Signs of diseased branches include discoloration or blight. Leaves may be withered or discolored when fungi or other diseases are present.

Step 4

Remove branches that are 7 years old or older, but do not remove more than three mature branches each year, so your bush can continue to produce a good crop of berries.

Step 5

Cut off fruit-bearing branches that are less than 1 foot off the ground, because it is more difficult to pick the berries from low-lying branches.

Step 6

Look over the plant a final time, and remove branches that are touching and any damaged or broken branches you missed.

Step 7

Gather the branches you have pruned from your blueberry bush and dispose of them outside your yard, so pests and diseases cannot infect plants or compost piles.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning tools

References

  • Ohio State University Extension: Pruning Blueberries in the Home Garden
  • Michigan State University Extension: Hints of Growing Blueberries
  • Oregon State University Extension: Growing Blueberries in Your Home Garden
Keywords: pruning blueberry bushes, blueberry bush maintanence, blueberry pruning

About this Author

Meghan McMahon lives in the Chicago suburbs, where she spent six years as a newspaper journalist before becoming a part-time freelance writer and editor and full-time mother. She received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University in 2000 and has written for "The Daily Southtown" and "The Naperville Sun" in suburban Chicago.