Drink Magazine

Pruning Blueberries

By Alip @alisonpikeGD


I have been growing 3 different varieties of blueberry in pots for a couple of years now.  During that time they haven’t been pruned because they haven’t needed it.  This year though I thought I would give them a little attention.

Blueberries mainly fruit on the previous year’s growth although some may produce a second smaller crop on the tips of the current year’s growth.  To get the best crop you are aiming for a vase shaped bush, this allows good light and air through the plant, minimising disease and maximises ripening.  The aim is also to maintain vigour by pruning out old less productive branches.  In many ways they are pruned in a similar way to blackcurrants.

When to do it: November – March

What to do:

  • Prune out the 3 D’s – dead, diseased and damaged.  This is the easy bit and doesn’t require any thought just good tidy cuts to a healthy bud.
  • If your plants are in the ground, prune back any stems that are dragging on the floor as fruits forming on these branches are like to go mouldy because of contact with the soil. This isn’t so vital for those grown in pots as you have a little extra height to play with.
  • Next you want to stand back and take a look at the bush, have in mind the vase shape you are trying to achieve.  Any crossing branches should be easy to spot and when deciding which branch to remove just think about the open vase shape you’re creating.
  • Mature bushes should have up to one-third of their oldest stems pruning back down to the ground.
  • Lastly prune back all the twiggy growth on the ends of the branches that fruited last year. Pruning back to a strong, outward/upward facing bud.
Blueberry Pruning


Blueberry Pruning


I’m repotting a few of my blueberries and after I’ve done this I will top the pots with a mulch of pine needles.  This helps to do all the usual things – reducing water loss, suppressing weeds but with the added benefit of being naturally acidic it help to maintain the low pH.

Mine are not the best shaped blueberries around but hopefully with a little pruning over the years they will look a good shape and more importantly provide me with lots of fruit!

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog