If you’re thinking about adding fruit trees or bushes to your landscape, then blueberry bushes are some of the easiest to start with. Blueberry bushes come in a multitude of varieties and can be grown both in the ground and in containers. Check out my article all about how to grow blueberries in containers. They are virtually maintenance free, and harvesting the fruit is fun for big and little gardeners alike! Pruning blueberry bushes is one of the easiest garden tasks you’ll have to take on this winter.
When to Start Pruning Blueberry Bushes
Once your blueberry bushes are at least three years old, they’ll need to be pruned annually. Before the three year mark, you can simply let your bushes grow and establish themselves. Unlike some roses and hydrangeas, blueberry bushes don’t need to be pruned down to the ground. In fact learning how to prune blueberry bushes is a fairly simple process.
The best time to prune your blueberry bushes is in the late winter or early spring. If you live further south, I recommend the earlier pruning time. I live in the southeast, and I never know when we’ll get an usually warm early spring, so you don’t want to wait too far into the spring and affect your harvest. For those who live further north, waiting until early spring will be the better option.
How to Prune Blueberry Bushes
- The first step to pruning your blueberry bushes is to go through your bush and find small branches that intersect or cross over one another. These small branches, especially when they touch, will eventually leaf out and a crowd one another. So when you find two branches that intersect choose to prune one of them. I know it can be hard to prune any limb that has buds on it, but you’re pruning for the greater good here.
- Next, you want to shape up your bush. Especially at the end of a season, a blueberry bush may send up tall limbs that extend 8 to 12 in above the rest of the bush. Go ahead and trim these back. Even if they have buds, you want to keep your bush shaped up, and these gangly limbs aren’t needed.
- Finally go through your bush and prune off any dying, dead, or unproductive limbs. I tend to find these closer to the bottom and at the very ends of branches. Getting rid of them will keep your bush healthy and keep it from wasting energy on growing unproductive limbs.
Here’s a video step-by-step of how to prune blueberry bushes. The sound is low for some reason, so be sure to turn up your volume.
Reap the Harvest!
The whole printing process should take you no longer then 20 minutes. if you have several bushes, this is obviously going to take a little longer, but pruning your blueberry bushes is well worth the time and effort. We had one of our best blueberry harvests this past year, and I fully believe it was all a result of pruning. So while you’re out there in the winter with your hand pruners, just think about all of the fresh berries, jam, and blueberry pies that can come as a result of your little bit of work now.
Have a great week and happy gardening!