Knowing when to prune your blueberries bushes will ensure healthier plants, larger and sweeter berries and longer-living bushes. Proper pruning will help keep your blueberry bushes looking attractive and producing healthy and tasty fruit.
Wait until the first winter after planting your blueberry bush. Then prune off at least one-third from the top of your bush, removing the flower buds. This degree of pruning during the first year reduces stress on your plant and promotes maximum root growth.
Look for and remove any diseased or dead branches and stems from your blueberry bush every winter. This prevents diseased branches from infecting the rest of your bush, and allows more sunlight to reach the interior area of the plant.
Cut away any weak branches, leaving only the stronger, more prominent canes to provide structure to your bush. As your blueberry bush matures, focus on opening up space to allow larger berries to grow.
Trim the top of your bush at least once every year. Blueberry bushes can grow out of control very quickly. Crossover branches (stems that have grown over other branches) should also be trimmed at this time. Repeated rubbing of one branch against another can lead to wounds, disease and damage.
Be careful not to cut away more than half of the newest growth, or you will reduce your berry production the following year. It is also important to leave some older branches intact. Determining the age of each branch is simple. Older wood is typically larger in diameter, lighter in colour and rougher to the touch.