We are still pruning the blueberry bushes, although now we have moved on to “Stage 2″. ”Stage 1″ was removing dead ends or diseased branches. Now we are thinning the buds (which will later become luscious clumps of blueberries) and shaping the bush.
The goal is to remove enough buds now so that the bush will not overbear this summer. Overbearing this year will tend to make the bush less productive next year.
Also, we want to shape the bush by cutting off any low-lying branches that may drag on the ground or be hard to pick when laden with ripe blues.
This is an example of a diseased branch, most of which we removed during “Stage 1″.
This is a nice, healthy bud.
For pruning, we use 3 simple tools. #1, a sturdy pair of pruners.
#2, a small spray-bottle of alcohol for sanitizing pruner blades. After cutting a diseased branch, it is best to spray with alcohol to prevent spreading the disease to another branch or bush.
#3, a 5-gallon bucket in which to place removed branches and twigs as you move down the row. Some people prefer to leave the cuttings on the ground and pick them up later, but for us, keeping them in a bucket as you go is more efficient.