Pruning Blueberry Bush

Asked June 20, 2019, 2:15 PM EDT

I have about 8 blueberry bushes. Some were planted a couple years ago and some were bought this year. I had to move all 8 today (mid-June) and transplant them to a different location (inside an enclosed fence because of animals). They are in raised beds (with peat moss, compost, etc). I also added some Holly Tone today (though wasn't sure if that was a bad thing since it's mid-June and read that late fertilizing is not good). I have never pruned them. The blueberry bushes range in different sizes (some are barely producing any fruit and are "small" and some are taller and producing a lot of fruit). I read that for the "first two years after planting," I should pick off the fruit and prune. Does that refer to the age of the bush (first two years of its life) or first two years since transplanting. If I have a bigger bush that is older (though I don't know how old, it's canes are thicker and woodier than my smaller bushes and producing lots of berries), should I pick the fruit off especially if I moved them today to a new location? For the smaller bushes, I have some berries growing on one long lanky stem on the left side and the bush seems a little lopsided. Should I be picking those berries off too, and pruning everything in Jan/Feb?

Howard County Maryland fruit plant care

1 Response

Hi- the most important thing to do is keep he plants well-watered throughout the growing season and into the fall. Drip irrigation or soaker hoses would make this easier. It was ok to fertilize. Yes, remove all blooms and fruits this year to direct energy to the root system. Next year, you could let some of the older plants flower and fruit if they seem well-established. The recommendation to wait two years after transplanting is based on planting a one year old bare root plant. Presumably, you could harvest fruit in year two if you plant a healthy 2 year old container grown plant.

Soil test sometime this summer and follow recommendations for reducing soil pH (if necessary). We recommend fertilizing with ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) in spring.
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/soil-testing
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/blueberries
Jon