Blueberry Pruning & Production Resources

— Written By
Farmers and gardeners learn proper blueberry pruning techniques at Howard's Farm outside Pittsboro. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Farmers and gardeners learn proper blueberry pruning techniques at Howard’s Farm outside Pittsboro. Photo by Debbie Roos.

The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension conducted blueberry pruning demonstrations in February 2016-2017. The demonstrations were held at Howard’s Farm a few miles west of Pittsboro on Hwy 64. The Howards grow peaches, apples, blueberries, and vegetables and sell them at their on-farm stand, called Mema’s Fruit Shack. Visit their facebook page for more information.

About 350 farmers and gardeners from 22 NC counties attended the demonstrations in 2016-2017. NCSU Blueberry Specialist Bill Cline talked about the importance of annual pruning to promote plant health and ensure large, high quality berries for many years to come. Pruning is done during the dormant season, usually between December-early March in the piedmont. Many people are reluctant to prune because it removes some of the flower buds and reduces berry production for the year, but if pruning is neglected berries get increasingly smaller and bush health declines. Consider pruning an investment in the long-term success of your plants!

Bill has put together some excellent guides full of helpful illustrations showing how to prune – these are linked at the bottom of this page, along with some other resources I think are useful. Make sure to check them out!

NCSU Blueberry Specialist Bill Cline prunes four year old rabbiteye blueberry plants at Howard's farm. Photo by Debbie Roos.

NCSU Blueberry Specialist Bill Cline prunes four year old rabbiteye blueberry plants at Howard’s farm. Photo by Debbie Roos.

NCSU Specialist Bill Cline talked about the importance of annual pruning for blueberries, starting with planting. Many people have a difficult time removing flower buds because they don't want to lose berries but pruning ensures plant health and good yields of quality berries for years to come. Photo by Debbie Roos.

NCSU Specialist Bill Cline talked about the importance of annual pruning for blueberries, starting with planting. Many people have a difficult time removing flower buds because they don’t want to lose berries but pruning ensures plant health and good yields of quality berries for years to come. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Flower buds are formed in late summer and early fall. If fully pollinated, each flower bud can produce 3-7 berries. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Flower buds are formed in late summer and early fall. If fully pollinated, each flower bud can produce 3-7 berries. Photo by Debbie Roos.

From left to right: Dwayne Howard, NCSU Blueberry Specialist Bill Cline, and Harold Howard. Harold manages the peach and apple trees and his son Dwayne manages the blueberries. Photo by Debbie Roos.

From left to right: Dwayne Howard, NCSU Blueberry Specialist Bill Cline, and Harold Howard. Dwayne manages the blueberries and his dad Harold manages the peach and apple trees. Photo by Debbie Roos.

Pruning Blueberries:

Blueberry Production and Pruning in North Carolina – North Carolina State University

Pruning Blueberries – North Carolina State University

General Blueberry Production:

Blueberry Production for Local Sales and Small Pick-your-Own Operators – North Carolina State University

Notes on Growing Blueberries – North Carolina State University

The NC Blueberry Journal (blog) – North Carolina State University

Blueberry Information Portal – North Carolina State University

Blueberry Pollinators – North Carolina State University

Organic Blueberry Production – ATTRA (fee for publication)

Blueberry Pest Management:

Spotted Wing Drosophila – North Carolina State University

Blueberry Pest Management: A Seasonal Overview – North Carolina State University

Blueberry Insect Pests – North Carolina State University

Blueberry Disease Fact Sheets – North Carolina State University

Cranberry Fruitworm in Blueberry – Growing Small Farms

Yellow-necked Caterpillars in Blueberry – Growing Small Farms

General Fruit Production:

Small Fruit Resources – Growing Small Farms

Tree Fruit Resources – Growing Small Farms

Freeze Damage to Local Fruit Crops

Scale Pests of Fruit Trees – Growing Small Farms

Grower Resource List for Fruits – Growing Small Farms

Written By

Photo of Debbie RoosDebbie RoosExtension Agent, Agriculture - Sustainable / Organic Production (919) 542-8244 debbie_roos@ncsu.eduChatham County, North Carolina
Updated on Feb 26, 2017
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