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  1. #1
    Strickers is offline Germinator
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Pruning blueberry bushes

    Hi all, I bought two blueberry bushes last year and sat them on my patio where we had moderate success in terms of yield. We're hoping for more success this year, however I am unsure what to do in terms of pruning.

    I am relatively new to fruit and veg growing and am having quite a job finding out how to maintain the bushes and keep their productivity high. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Geordie's Avatar
    Geordie is offline Tuber
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    Sep 2005
    Location
    Newcastle
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    Default

    Hi Strickers

    Here is a brief guide to pruning blueberry bushes:

    Pruning is carried out in mid winter while the plants are dormant.
    For the first two years after planting, your bushes will need very little pruning, except general tidying up and shortening of very long canes to encourage branching.

    Many growers remove all or most of the flower buds in the first year. (Bit late I know) This will encourage vegetative growth instead of fruit production, thus making a more substantial plant for the following year.
    The philosophy of pruning is
    *To stimulate new growth and keep the plant yielding large crops of big berries
    * To remove unproductive, diseased, dead or dying wood
    * To remove branches which are too high or too low
    * To thin out overcrowded canes

    Blueberries fruit on short lateral branches grown during the spring or early summer of the previous year. The strong canes that grow in late summer may produce fruit buds at their tips. If desired, these canes can be cut back by half in winter to encourage branching; this is at the expense of their fruiting tips.

    First, remove any whippy green narrow growth from the base. This will never produce anything and is worthless
    All wood that has born fruit the previous year can then be taken back to the next strong, young growth
    When this is complete, stand back, look at your bush and start detail pruning and tipping branches that have died back. This will help to reduce fungal infection in future years.
    Geordie

    Te audire non possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure



  3. #3
    Strickers is offline Germinator
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    Jan 2006
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    Geordie,

    I used to live in Newcastle and hold the Geordie population in high esteem. A great city with wonderful people.

    Many thanks for your help.

  4. #4
    Green Thumb Annie is offline Germinator
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    11

    Default Bits of trivia on blueberry plants

    Blueberry plants thrive in soils that are acidic (pH 4.5-5.0).
    The plants can live for 50 years. Amazing!

    Blueberries have a symbiotic relationship with fungi that live on their root systems. They have many surface roots. So if you go digging near the plant, you can damage the root system. (I had a garden guy who put down weed killer once, and he destroyed 2 bushes. I wanted to hit him upside the head with a 2 by 4.)

    Blueberry fruit will be larger if the plant is pollinated by a different cultivar (or type.)

    And there's more. I came across this information in a book at the local library:
    The Berry Grower's Companion by Bowling
    (ISBN 0-88192-489-X I always save the ISBN numbers so I can search for a book again. And I'm always searching through our library to find garden info.)

    It was an older book, and I do not know if it is still in print. It covers blueberries, currants, strawberries, grapes, etc.
    I found it to be a really good read.

  5. #5
    cotton54321 is offline Sprouter
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    Jan 2006
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    151

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    another good book is The Fruit Expert. I haven't checked in it for blueberries but if it does cover them, you get great pictures and step by step instructions - just what I needed!

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