Friday, February 8, 2013

Mid February is Blueberry bush pruning time. Blueberry bushes that have not been pruned on an annual basis (after 3 years of growth) may become overgrown and less fruitful . Proper pruning of blueberries is essential to maintain plant size, shape, and productivity . In the first three years only prune out dead, diseased and broken wood and any crossing or contorted branches. Every year after 3 years, prune  to maintain  an open center to allow sunlight to pass through and allow air movement.Pruning steps are:
  1. Disinfect pruners in 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 quart water.
  2. Visually observe the blueberry bush.
  3. Imagine what the plant should look like when pruning is completed.
  4. All diseased and broken canes should be removed first.
  5. Canes that are seven years old or older should be considered for removal.
  6. No more than two to three mature canes should be removed each year to avoid pruning out too many fruit buds.
  7. Selective pruning will help to stimulate new cane growth each year.
  8. Remove branches that are touching and any dead twigs.
  9. The bush should be narrow at base, open in the center and  free of vegetative clutter.

After pruning fertilize with a 10-5-4 acid loving rhody/azalea fertilizer at the rate of one hand full (2/3 cup) spread over the soil in a ring at the drip line under each plant. Lightly rake into the soil without disturbing roots. No other fertilization for the rest of the year. Keep PH between 4.5 and 5.1.Note that buds are forming on my branches...spring is coming!

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