Friday, January 6, 2012

Pruning On The Farm

Every year in January, here on the farm, the crew takes on a big project, pruning our Blueberry bushes.  It is done at this time of year because the plants are dormant. Annual pruning is required to maintain blueberry plant strength and productivity. Proper pruning balances the production of strong, new wood while maintaining good fruit production. When pruning it’s important to take about 50% of the fruit buds out. This allows more energy to focus on the new bud growth to let them flourish. Removing all the smaller twiggy branches is an advantage to new growth because it’s gives bigger twigs that have more diameters more energy and room to grow. Weak twiggy wood generally has few buds and produces small berries.

Easy Steps to take when pruning:
1. Remove low growth that would touch the ground when loaded with fruit. Cut of short, soft, new shoots that developed from the base of the plant late in the season.
2. Cut out weak, twiggy wood from the top, middle and outer parts of the plant. Remove enough wood from the top to let light down into the plant center.
3. If your plants tend to overbear, thin the fruit buds by trimming back some of the small shoots carrying 
heavy load of flower buds. Blueberry flower buds are near the tips of the past season’s growth.

Location of fruit buds and vegetative buds (leaf buds) on dormant blueberry plants:
Fruit buds-
large, plump and located on the terminal 2
to 3 inches of shoots
Vegetative buds (leaf Buds) -small, pointed and located on the basal part of shoots

1 Pruning severity may need to be adjusted to balance the production of good, high quality crop adequate growth for ensuring year’s crop. Bob Wilt (owner) has been pruning for 35+ years, so its second nature for him. Experience is the best guide on how much to prune. Weak bushes require more pruning then vigorous bushes because pruning stimulates vegetative growth.
Crew Member Pruning Blueberry Bushes




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