Simply growing a blueberry plant is not enough for you to be rewarded with the indigo-colored blueberries that have sweet-tart taste. You need to undertake proper care of the plant as well and one of the most important steps in this regard comprises of pruning it. In fact, the quality and quantity of fruit obtained from your blueberry plant will depend, to quite an extent, on the efficiency of the pruning. Regular pruning not only makes the plant much more productive, but also keep it free of insects and diseases. Want to know more about pruning blueberry plants? Read on.
How To Prune A Blueberry Plant
- The pruning of blueberry plants should be carried out in the winter season or early spring. This is because during this time, the plant is in hibernation In case of early spring pruning, you would also be able to identify the canes that were injured during the winter season and remove them.
- Making use of long-handle pruning loppers; cut away the damaged shoots of the blueberry plants. At the same time, make sure to get rid of anything that looks damaged or diseased. Apart from the dead shoots, you will have to remove the broken ones as well.
- While pruning the shoots of a blueberry plant, remember to go for the ones that are too low to the ground. Look out for shoots that are so low that they will end up touching the ground when they become weighed-down with fruit and cut them off.
- You will need to cut away old canes as well, especially the ones that are 7 years old or older. This is because by this time, they will start producing less fruit. As you remove them, the new and younger shoots will get a chance to become more productive. However, you will have to make sure not to cut off more than 2 or 3 old canes in a year.
- Pruning is also done to get a blueberry plant in proper shape. So, trim it in a way that the bush is tight at the base and spreads out at the top, with an open center. You can achieve this by getting rid of the older canes and cutting back some shoots in the center.
- If your blubbery plants are becoming too dense, the pruning will have to aim at reducing their size as well. This is because excessive growth can actually decrease the amount of fruit you get. You will have to cut off the shoots that are pushing against other shoots, especially if some of them are diseased or dead.
Frequency of Pruning
The pruning of blueberry plants should start as soon as they become one year old. You also need to undertake the process on an annual basis. If you neglect the pruning for even one year, the pruning of previous year will result in many young canes growing at the same time. As you get back to pruning, after skipping one year, you will find all canes to be similar and non-productive and have to remove them. In effect, this will mean removal of the entire bush.
Don't be under the impression that once you grow a blueberry plant, it will remain with you throughout your life. You will need to replace it after sometime. For the purpose, notice when your blueberry is in decline. Usually, the bushes reach the peak 8-10 years after planting and start declining thereafter, giving you less fruit every year. This is when you should consider getting a new blueberry.