Hello everyone! I am looking for some advice about pruning my blueberry bushes. I have some very leggy shoots (second and third picture) that have no branches on them and they don't look like the other branches (first picture) and I don't want to keep them if they will not produce any fruit. Should I cut out these shoots? These are "Lowbush" and "Top Hat" varieties.
I've only pruned highbush blueberries but you absolutely want to keep those tall shoots. Blueberries produce on second year shoots, those tall shoots are your first year shoots, which will branch next year and produce a lot more. You want them tall so they grow up into a bush and don't produce their berries low to the ground. You would be better served pruning out some of the older wood as it will eventually decline.
When I learned to prune older bushes, we generally pruned out one older branch, which will stimulate more crown growth for first year shoots and clear out the lower area of the bush to increase air circulation and reduce disease. You leave 2-3 first year shoots, the tallest and thickest and then prune all other new shoots.
It's also good to prune for larger plants because they're easier to pick if the fruit is higher up.
Yeah, i definitely agree with Natasha about keeping this shoot. This is actually my favorite type of branch to see on my blueberry plants because i know I'm going to get lots of fruit in the future!
These vigorous shoots should explode with side growth this coming year and produce lots of potential fruiting wood for next year and will look very similar to how the rest of your plant currently looks. There will also probably be some fruit buds this year near the tip of this shoot if it is not pruned.
I do very minimal if any pruning on my blueberry bushes and have had great success with it and had tons of fruit last year. I might take out a very old branch that is really weak and not producing a lot of fruit, but I try to leave it alone as much as possible.
If you wanted to, you could tie the current main branch towards the side and this branch towards the middle as a new main shoot. I've found that it's really unnecessary though, as the plant will eventually even itself out by itself.
Hope this helps!
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I think that you are worried about having water sprouts. If you have some new growth and the space between the nodes/leaves/joints is more than twice the other older branches, then I worry but other than that I just let them be esp if it doesn't affect my other branches.