Blueberry Bush/Tree Repair

Asked January 24, 2017, 2:44 PM EST

Recently bought a home with a blueberry "tree" that hasn't been touched since planting. (2010) It is about 12' to 15' high. Still produces fruit but is difficult to maintain due to the size. I am learly about pruning hard for fear of loosing it. Any suggestions?

Carroll County Maryland

9 Responses

That is quite tall for a blueberry bush. Ideally, it should be about 5-7 feet tall. The Home & Garden Information Center has a great page on pruning blueberry bushes. Also, University of Maine Extension has an instructional video. Now, while the bushes are dormant, is a good time to prune.

Thanks, Luke. The two websites are helpful.

My concern is if I prune the larger stalks, some of which are about 2½" in diameter, would it shock and kill the plant? Also would it cause a problem to prune all foliage above 5' to 6' high? Some stalks are as high as 15 feet.

Do you have photos of the bush that you could share? This seems unusually large for blueberry.

I will take some pictures and send as soon as possible...probably next week.

That sounds good. Do you remember what the fruit looked like? Did you ever taste it? Many species of viburnum also have dark blue to purple fruit.

You may have come up with a possible answer. I'm sure this bush was put there by a landscaper when the house was constructed in 2010. I doubt a standard landscaper would plant a blueberry bush next to a house in a bed with other schrubs. Viburnum sounds more like it. No one has sampled the fruit to my knowledge. This is my son's residence so I will investigate further on what the fruit looked like. I'll send pictures as soon as possible.

If planted by a landscaper, there is a good chance it is some species of viburnum. In that case, you may simply prune based on your landscape needs (i.e. doesn't obstruct view, encroach on walkways, etc). As a general rule of thumb, it is best to remove no more than 1/3 of the shrub at a time. You should be able to get the job done with a basic folding saw and a hand pruners. See links below for more info.

Ok, thanks. We were interested in prunning if it's a blueberry. If not, we'll just let it grow.