How Pruning Will Effect Your Blueberry Bush
For many bushes and shrubs, pruning is only preformed to remove damaged canes and for shaping purposes. When it comes to blueberries, pruning contributes to the overall health of the plant including berry production. Knowing how pruning will effect your bush can help you get a better crop from your plant.
When you plant is young, pruning can help the plant become more developed. You will want to make sure to prune damaged branches and spindly growth at the base of the shrub. This will cause the plant to focus growth on more vigorus branches and the growth to be more upright. Also, pruning flower buds (or picking them by hand) is recommended early on. This forces the plant to focus growth on its root system (which leads to a better fruit set when the plant becomes more mature).
Once the plant is more mature, pruning will help maintain consistent, healthy growth. Remember, berries are produced on one year old wood. Any branch that is pruned back will take 1 year before it is able to bear fruit. Not only will you want to remove damaged branches, you will also want to remove spindly branches, branches with low vigor, and one or 2 of the oldest canes. This should allow for consistent berry production year after year.
The amount of pruning can effect the length of the fruiting period and the size of the blueberries. The fewer the fruit buds there are, the larger the berries will be. So heavy pruning will often lead to larger fruit. However, this will generally cause the plant to bear early and the harvest period is shortened.