Pruning Blueberries can Improve Yield

Annual pruning of blueberry bushes can provide a noticeable improvement in the quality and yield of the berry crop. Pruning should occur during dormant season, ideally from January through early March.  Blueberries pruned at this time can develop larger berries and produce a heavier yield. Plants that receive little or no pruning tend to have denser, weaker growth that has smaller fruit and lighter production. Over time, the plant may become unproductive.

Prune blueberry bushes moderately each year. Remove older, unproductive canes that have minimal growth from one year old wood. These canes will have a dull color and fewer buds developing. When pruning, remember that a blueberry plant develops flower buds near the tips of the previous season’s growth. These buds are large and plump when compared to a leaf bud. A leaf bud is smaller and somewhat scale-like. Prune out low growth and any other small shoots that have developed from the plant’s base late in the past growing season. Also, remove all deadwood, damaged or broken canes, and any insect or disease affected branches. Finally, prune to open up the center of the plant to improve light penetration and air circulation throughout the plant.

Following these suggestions should provide a healthier, more productive blueberry bush. The fruit will be larger, and of a higher quality, plus the plant should provide a higher seasonal yield we desire.