How To Prune Blueberry Bushes In NC: A Step-By-Step Guide

Blueberries are a popular fruit to grow in North Carolina due to their sweet taste and health benefits. However, in order to ensure the best yield from your blueberry bushes, proper pruning is essential. Pruning helps to promote healthy growth and improve fruit production. In this article, we will discuss how to prune blueberry bushes in NC.

When To Prune Blueberry Bushes

The best time for pruning blueberry bushes is during late winter or early spring before new growth appears. This timing ensures that the plant has enough time to heal from any cuts before it begins its growing season. It’s important not to wait too long into spring as you may cut off potential fruit buds.

Tools You Will Need For Pruning

To properly prune your blueberry bushes in NC, you will need a few tools including:

– Clean sharp pruning shears
– Loppers
– Hand saw/Pruning saw
– Gloves
– Eye protection

How To Prune Blueberry Bushes

1) Remove Dead And Damaged Wood: Start by removing any dead or damaged wood on the plant; these include branches that are wilted or have turned brownish-gray.

2) Thin Out Old Growth: After removing all of the deadwood completely thin out old growth by cutting back up to 1/3rd of each stem aged six years or older (the thicker stems).

3) Shorten Younger Stems: Next shorten younger stems (one through five years old), so they remain about one foot shorter than older stems.

4) Clear Interior Of Plant: Finally clear out any interior crossing branches making sure all parts of the bush receive adequate sunlight and air circulation.

5) Shape If Needed: At this point step back and assess if there are areas that need shaping where there might be irregularities such as crowding or low hanging limbs which can sometimes interfere with tractors during harvests. Simply trim away those areas.

Tips For Pruning Blueberry Bushes

– As a general rule, do not remove more than 1/3 of the plant in a single pruning session.
– Keep an open center or vase shape which will allow for optimal light penetration and air circulation
– Wear gloves and eye protection when pruning to avoid any cuts or scratches.


Pruning blueberry bushes is essential for proper growth and fruit production. By removing deadwood, thinning out old growth, clearing the interior of the plant, shortening younger stems, and shaping if needed you can ensure that your blueberry bushes in NC produce healthy fruits year after year. Remember to prune during late winter or early spring before new growth appears using clean sharp tools while wearing gloves and eye protection.