Rules for pruning blueberries: when you need to, how to do it and why sometimes you need to prune “to zero”

Blueberries are a crop that tolerates pruning very well. Gardeners remove excess shoots even in summer. The bush, growing by itself, gives a lot of small berries, and as a result of formation and thinning it gives the same kilograms of fruits, but they are large, which means they have more juicy and tasty pulp.

Do you need pruning blueberries

Removing old, sick, broken, thickening shoots is a must for any fruit crop. Blueberries run wild without pruning: overgrown with many weak branches, juices are spent on their growth, as a result, the berries grow small and tasteless. In addition, pathogenic fungi accumulate in thickened windproof landings with dead wood that cause rotting of leaves, shoots and roots.

Blueberries without pruning: a lot of dry, bare branches, signs of a fungal disease are visible on the leaves

When to prune blueberries

Sanitary pruning is carried out all year round, forming - during the period of deep sleep of blueberries, that is, from late autumn to early spring, when there is no sap flow. As for the age of the bush, traditionally and erroneously, pruning is started in the third year after planting. There are frequent cases when 6–7-year-old bushes begin to thin out for the first time. Foreign experts recommend starting the formation of blueberries at the stage when the seedling is still in the container.

How to prune a seedling in a container

Pruning in the container is necessary if the volume of the aerial part clearly exceeds the volume of the lump of earth in the container, that is, the roots do not have time and cannot grow in proportion to the crown. If you bought such a bush, then before planting, remove all short branched growths that come out of the ground.

The seedling in the lower part has grown bushy growths that need to be removed

Only powerful vertically directed shoots should remain. They need to be shortened by a third or even half. In this way, you will achieve a balance between the aboveground and underground parts of the bush. After planting, the cropped crown will take a minimum of juice, the root system will begin to actively develop and give new strong branches.

Proper blueberry seedlings: 2 strong vertical shoots plus a small growth that does not have branching; the root and aerial parts are developed proportionally

Pruning blueberries in the first 2 years after planting

Before entering fruiting, blueberries are pruned in order to accelerate the formation of a powerful bush. If you leave seedlings unattended for 1–2 years, then many short and branched shoots will grow from the ground, and flower buds will be laid on the tops of tall and strong ones. All juices will be directed to the formation of the first fruits. But the bush, thickened with weak and short twigs, will yield a very modest harvest. In addition, he will not be able to withstand diseases, frosts, pests.

That is why in professional orchards where berries are grown for sale, that is, large and beautiful, formative pruning is carried out from the first year of planting. To do this, remove all bushy growths and twigs of the second order so that to the knee height (30–40 cm above the ground) there is no branching, but only straight vertical trunks. And also tops of strong shoots are cut to remove parts of the plant with flower buds.

On the branches of fruit crops, there are two types of buds: small, from which leaves grow, and larger ones, flower or fruit, usually they are located at the tops of shoots.

As a result of this pruning in young seedlings, the fruiting is moved away and a strong bush is formed, consisting exclusively of powerful and productive stems.

Video: summer pruning of young blueberries

Phytosanitary pruning of blueberries

The event is held regularly throughout the season and with blueberries of any age. In the spring, frozen tops are removed, in the summer - young still green growths damaged by insects and hail. Pruning is carried out, capturing 1-2 cm of a healthy area. Any wound on a plant is a gate for various diseases. Fungi germinate inside soft and juicy tissues and cannot fixate on smooth, undamaged branches. By trimming the problematic parts of the plant, you destroy the foci of infection and give the bush strength to form new and healthy stems and branches.

Gradoboin on the shoot of grapes: soft tissues are exposed, the leaf receives little nutrition, signs of illness are visible

Before and after trimming, disinfect the tools - wipe the blades with alcohol. Treat the whole plant with a fungicide, for example, Bordeaux liquid, Skor and others. During fruiting, you can spray Phytosporin.

Recent entries In April, I process roses so that no pests encroach on my beauties

5 Japanese plants that take root well in Central Russia

How do I protect seedlings from my curious cats

Adult bush pruning

3-4 years after planting, the following is removed from the formed and fruiting bush:

  • all horizontal branches until the first strong shoot, growing vertically upwards;
  • twigs of the second order, growing down and deep into the crown;
  • tops damaged by frost, diseases and pests;
  • all bushy low shoots and branches of the second order on the main fruit-bearing stems below the level of the knee.

So that the vertical shoots under the weight of the berries do not turn into horizontal, tie them to the stakes. This is especially true for tall varieties.

In addition to such thinning pruning, it is necessary to organize a fruit conveyor. To do this, cut out old lignified branches with cracked bark, they are left to replace as many strong and young, grown from the root. The fruiting bush of the blueberry consists of 10-15 skeletal branches, and in the neglected, growing without pruning, of 20 or more.

Video: pruning rules for fruiting blueberries

When blueberries need to be trimmed “to zero”

There are three situations where you need to trim the entire bush to ground level:

  1. It is necessary to save the drying bush. It was hot, you did not water blueberries, it dries up. Cut off all the shoots and ensure constant moisture to the remaining root. Not immediately, but within 2-3 years a new bush will grow from it.
  2. Blueberries are abandoned, run wild, they have not been pruned for 5-6 years or more.
  3. After a long period of fruiting, many stems formed, small berries are tied, they are few. Experienced gardeners recommend cutting the bushes “to zero” (rejuvenate), without waiting for the decline in yield, that is, after 2-3 years of abundant fruiting. In order not to be left completely without berries, grow several bushes of blueberries and rejuvenate them in turn.

Follow the rules of pruning blueberries, and it will delight you with an excellent crop

Gardeners Tips on Cutting Blueberries

Pruning is carried out in early spring before the swelling of the kidneys. Before fruiting begins, which begins 3-4 years after planting, only sanitary pruning is performed. Broken, sick, weak branches are cut. The strongest branches are cut to 1 / 4–1 / 5 of the length. This contributes to the formation of lateral shoots with a large number of flower buds. Prior to full fruiting, a rare bush with 7–9 main branches and a large number of annual growths 40–60 cm long should be formed.


Pruning is reduced mainly to thinning out thickened and weakened branches. Usually in the first three years after planting, the plant is almost not pruned. In subsequent years, in the spring, completely remove two to three fruit-bearing branches that are too branchy for a young, powerful growth, which can lead to shredding of berries. Remove broken branches that have sunk to the ground under the weight of berries and blind shoots.


I read a lot about pruning and for myself outlined a plan of action for the spring:

  1. Pruning will be done only in the spring for a number of reasons (I will reveal frozen, gnawed by furs, weak shoots).
  2. So far, I will only cut them on overgrown varieties (Bonus, Spartan, Bluejine, Patriot).
  3. Only bushes older than 5 years and which bear fruit for at least 3 years will undergo pruning.
  4. I will remove the thin branches growing in the lower part of the powerful branches.
  5. From the shoots growing from the root, I will remove the thin ones. From experience, strong shoots are immediately visible (at least 4 strong each year), I leave everything strong, as it happens that even thick branches (frost-holes) hit with frost.
  6. Flower buds will also look in the spring. I do not think that a 5-year-old bush can be overloaded - its finest hour has not yet arrived.
  7. I want, but so far I dare not cut off part of the ripened shoots of this year (from those that I do not like the direction of my growth for cuttings in the spring).
Oskol gardener

It all depends on the height of the bush of different varieties of blueberries, on the illumination of the plot, etc. Remember that the blueberry crop is formed on the shoots of the current year, that is, pruning is best done in the fall, and in the spring to remove dried, frozen parts of the shoots. It is important to cut the shoots growing deep into the bush, as they obscure each other. Supports can be placed on highly deflecting branches.


The purpose of pruning is to get a healthy and productive bush consisting only of vertical shoots with strong lateral growths in their upper part. In the lower part of the bush, any branching is excluded. The first two years after planting, we form a bush, and during the fruiting period we remove the old thick stems. Throughout the cultivation we carry out thinning and sanitary trimming.


Technical grape varieties: how to "grow" tasty wine
Pear Lada: all about a variety tested for decades
Wooden picket fence: the technology of erecting the most popular fence