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Blueberries

In general, blueberries are left to grow
in their natural state with little pruning
when they will provide clusters of
delicious berries.

Blueberries are becoming ever more popular, and several varieties are now available. They form multi-stemmed bushes which, once established, will provide masses of fruit. The type that is most commonly grown is known as the highbush blueberry. Blueberries must have acid soil, but can be grown in containers filled with ericaceous compost if your garden soil is alkaline.

Supports

No supports are necessary but some means of netting plants is essential if you hope to get to the fruit before the birds do. The ideal is to grow them in a fruit cage, but it is possible to drape a net over individual bushes while they are in fruit.

Initial training

Blueberry bushes are sold as one- or two-year-old plants that have been grown from cuttings. There is little to do after planting and for the first few years. Let them develop naturally, restricting pruning and taking out any weak growth or stems that cross or create congestion. Also remove any shoots that develop horizontally. Aim to produce an upright plant.

Established pruning

Remove a few of the oldest stems to rejuvenate the plant. Also cut out any spreading branches, or those that cross and create congestion.

Training blueberries

Blueberries are very easy to look after and need little pruning, even during their formative stage. They are usually bought as one- or two-year-olds and planted in the winter or early spring. Blueberries need an acid soil. If they are grown in chalky or limestone areas, then they should be grown in containers rather than in the open ground. 

Year one, winter: Plant the new blueberry bush in the winter and remove any weak, damaged or obviously wayward shoots. Otherwise allow to develop naturally.

Picture of Patio Planting

Established pruning, winter: Once established take out one or two of the oldest stems to rejuvenate the plant and perhaps cut back any crossing or misplaced stems. Do not let the bush become too dense.

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