Trimming Blueberry Bushes

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I have 2 blueberry bushes growing on a slight downslope. They are about 12 years old & have a great yield. They are growing above my reach & need to be trimmed back. I have seen you descriptions/pages on thinning/trimming blueberry bushes but just don't know. I know I need to keep the horizontal branches to get fruit.There is very good air flow thru the bushes.

The bushes are about 6ft across & going on over 6 ft tall (on a downslope). I am 5'. I know I need to trim sooner than later. What about branches that rub on other branches? Should they be cut back, like roses, to keep the bush healthier?

I live over in Kellytown.
Thank you,
Gail


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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Gail-Most blueberry bushes more than 7 or 8 years old need have needed some pruning which includes removing some of the older canes. By removing the older/taller canes you will be shortening the plants height. Pruning your blueberries back to 6 feet each year is no problem. High productivity and very little pruning can actually start to wear the blueberry bushes out. If your bushes are 12 years old and have never been pruned or renewed it is surprising they are still producing as abundantly as they are. Berry yield can start to slow down on older canes. Removing the older canes helps to renew the plant keeping it healthy and producing for many more years. If the bushes have never been pruned you don't want to prune to heavily the first time. It would be best to remove only two or three of the oldest canes the first year along with pruning back the horizontal limbs as shown in the article noted below. It is best not to remove more than 2 or 3 canes at one time when renewing your bush anyways. Removing too many will produce many new canes that will of course age at the same time requiring too many needing removal at the same time down the road. It is good that your plants have good circulation and light throughout. Removing older canes will help in keeping this needed air circulation and light throughout the plants. When pruning be sure to remove any diseased or broken wood. Any branches that are crossing and touching others should be removed. Also remove any growth that touches the ground with the weight of the fruit. If there are a lot of lateral fruiting branches making the bush extremely dense it is OK to prune out some of the lateral and small branches helping to open up the plant. The best time to prune your blueberries is in the late winter while they are still dormant. As your plants are now 6 foot tall and wide after 12 years I'm thinking they are a highbush variety which generally reach their peak production between 8 and 10 years. For this reason it is important that renewal of the plants each year be done to maintain your bushes health and continued high production of quality fruit.

http://www.gardenality.com/Articles/365/Plants/Fruit-Bushes/How-To-Prune-A-Blueberry-Bush/default.html

Hopefully this has helped. Please ask if you have any other questions.

John)



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