Blueberry Pruning - Knowledgebase Question

Ccharleroi, PA
Avatar for jimbo5
Question by jimbo5
June 28, 1999
My blueberry plants are over 10 years old and have not been producing. I have cut them back to ground level and now they are growing back with numerous shoots. Will the shoots be fruit producing and should I thin or trim them out. Should I fertilize or what other action should I take.

Answer from NGA
June 28, 1999
From the information in your question I am not sure if your plants ever produced. Blueberries are not self pollinating and so require two paired varieties in order to set fruit. They also require adequate pollination by insects. Finally, they do require some age before they bear, but ten year old bushes should be well into production.

General care is to keep the soil at an acid pH between 5 and 5.6, maintain an organic and humusy, moist yet very well drained soil, mulch regularly and provide full sun. Unlike many berry producers (brambles for example), blueberry pruning is generally limited to thinning out individual branches to maintain an open habit so that light and air can penetrate the shrub.

To be honest I have never seen a blueberry bush cut to the ground as you described. You may find a large number of "suckers" sprout from the ground and may need to thin them at the base to try to re-establish a woody shrub-type framework. It may also take the plants some years to recover from the severe pruning.

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