Cutting blueberries - detailed instructions

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Harvested blueberries

You definitely have to cut garden or cultivated blueberries at some point. Below you will find out how, the manual also deals with the special requests of the most important cultivars. But you also learn that you do not necessarily have to plant cultivated blueberries, but that there are "real, native blueberries" that also grow in the garden and in case of doubt do not have to be pruned.

Cultivated blueberries need cut care

In the garden centers and Internet shops for hobby gardeners in recent years, more and more blueberry bushes are offered, because the demand for the blue berries has been showing an upward trend for years (which is related to the fact that the health value of blueberries for recurring headlines is good, more you will still learn).
These cultivated blueberries do not have much to do with the blueberry plants, to which we at the edge of the forest, with painstaking stooping, pick up a few penetrating blue-colored berries with an intense aroma; even their ancestors do not belong in the local plant world, but come from a foreign continent.
The culture blueberries are based on a few of the current 265 blueberry species: The first breeding plant was the American blueberry Vaccinium corymbosum, a blueberry with strong growth and a maximum height of up to 2 m, the larger berries yield higher yields. Other cultivated varieties were produced by crossbreeding V. corymbosum with the North American-Canadian V. angustifolium or other Vaccinium species, which also reach altogether different heights than the native dwarf shrub, grow stronger and carry more.

Blueberry plant

By nature, these blueberry crops are by nature much more like the shrubs that we usually plant in our gardens; By breeding, from the original American blueberry and its relatives first perfect plantation blueberries were selected. As the increasing popularity of healthy berries led to more and more private home gardeners planting blueberries in their gardens, this demand could be met immediately by offering blueberry shrubs grown for commercial cultivation to retailers. These tall blueberry bushes are focussed on developing abundant fruit trees each year, and can do so best in the long run if they regularly get a care cut.
Not every year, definitely not every shoot every year, because blueberries carry on the two-year and older wood. On young, two- and three-year old wood, the quality of the fruit is best, the older wood does not wear any more at all - an annual trimming is recommended in that you have to try to cut out the oldest, woody shoots in a steady rhythm. Every year a few, so that the plant remains young and vital and is well renewed from the base.
The best time to cut is the summer, after the harvest; During the harvest, you can mark the shoots which are already decreasing in yield with colorful ribbons. A little bit of attention, and you have always filled the shrubs with young shoots that develop good fruit quality.
In late winter, you can once again improve something and remove old or too narrowly growing shoots. Not meant the new shoots, which grow up from the base as a substitute for an old shoot, which will bear the best fruit in the next three years.

Blueberry bush

- If read in a sales description is: "The blueberry plants in our shop should receive an annual pruning." That should not just be safe: "The blueberry plants from our shop" (the blueberries in his shop, the dealer will certainly cut itself) but it is dangerously inaccurately formulated in relation to the cut. As a result, some customers cut the bilberries by half or more; like the multi-flowered shrub rose or the physalis on the wall of the house... no broken leg, the blueberry will continue to grow; However, after this "premature rejuvenation", flowers and fruits will not be available until the next season.

All this applies to adult blueberries in full yield. But until then, the blueberries are the right time - if you are dealing with blueberry young plants, they will be treated differently from the beginning:

Cutting young plants

Blueberries are late bloomers and take 7-9 years to produce full yields. Therefore, the retailers usually sell preferred blueberry bushes at the age of three to four years, which may even bear the first fruits and be pruned after growing as just described.
However, blueberries are not only sold by specialist retailers, but also by all sorts of retailers as trendy plants - which makes it quite conceivable that you have planted a very young blueberry in your garden.If, according to the circumstances of the purchase and the fact that the blueberry in the season after rooting shows few flowers on the still low shrub, the suspicion suggests that you are dealing with a "baby blueberry", you can young Blueberry bushes "helping to grow up":
Knock the flowers away for the first four years as soon as you can grab the bud. Then, the plant does not have to spend some of its energy on making the few fruits (which will not make you very happy anyway), but can concentrate on getting big and strong. If you then bloom in the fifth year, it will be a lot of flowers that bring a lot of berries.
You also do the same thing with blueberry bushes that you have pulled out of sinkers, cuttings or sticks. If the "little ones" show branching lazy, they are additionally excited at the time of sprouting by slight all-round trimming for branching.

Breeds of the culture blueberry and their cut claims

Blueberry bush

The following are the 10 best-known cultivars of the culture blueberry, which have special cut requirements:
  • Vaccinium corymbosum 'Blue drop' only gets about 50 cm high and does not have to be cut first. If at some point she looks "old" (tattered, partly bald shoots, declining yield), she cuts back decisively after the harvest.
  • Vaccinium corymbosum 'Blue Autumn', 1 to 1.5 m, should be freed at regular intervals from old, visibly no longer vital shoots (individually distributed over the whole plant remove as described above).
  • Vaccinium corymbosum 'Bluecrop' becomes up to 2 m high, but tends to blush in the lower part, if it is not thinned thoroughly every year.
  • Vaccinium corymbosum 'Blue Dessert' ('Elizabeth') should be cropped just as described above, just a little more restrained.
  • Vaccinium corymbosum 'Blueroma' ('Darrow') grows vigorously and therefore has to be relieved every year by several shoots. If early frosts threaten, cut already set while the last fruits are ripening, so that the shrub can still close the cuts before the winter.
  • Vaccinium corymbosum 'Bluesbrothers' Every year it should be cleared of the oldest, visibly no longer so vital shoots (again individually distributed over the whole plant).
  • Vaccinium corymbosum 'Brigitta Blue' Every year, only one to two of the oldest shoots need to be freed.
  • Vaccinium corymbosum 'Buddy Blue' is cut like 'Blueroma' (works despite the late maturity without frost damage, because the half-evergreen wood can close in the winter cuts and is generally good frost-resistant).
  • Vaccinium corymbosum 'Duke' can be freed generously from waste wood, because it is known for good wood renewal from the base.
  • Vaccinium corymbosum 'Little Blue Wonder' for surface plantings, if at all completely cut back.

Problems of cultivated blueberries - often solved by cutting

The cultivars of the garden or cultivated blueberry have the same history of development as other fruit varieties grown for commercial cultivation. Since also the breeding-determining motives are the same - it is not about the best possible plants with highly aromatic fruits, but about plants that (their fruits) can be sold as well as possible to as many people as possible. Sales to as many people means sales through mass trade. With the reassuring certainty that even defective replacement products (an original whose properties they do not actually have) or new problem-causing products are implemented. There are enough uninformed and / or inexperienced consumers on the road...


Because the trade-optimized uniformity of the fruits from the cultivation of cultivation can be achieved only with a breed, which in return always produces the same typical problems:
  • Cultivated cultivars are more susceptible to disease than those produced in nature
  • In addition, imported species are exposed to indigenous diseases / pests with no defense strategy
  • "With a bit of luck," the foreign species will immediately import their diseases / pests
  • The North American culture blueberry brought z. For example, the Godronia instinct and a gallmidge called Prodiplosis vaccinii
  • When native diseases / pests meet new species or foreign polluters are imported, control is often difficult
  • If the plant shows abnormal growth, the first measure is always the removal of the damaged parts of the plant
  • With their separate disposal, the problem can be done, but the trimming can also serve identification purposes
  • The cultivars for the commercial cultivation often grow stronger than the nature-type, but do not reach their longevity (30-50 years)
  • They therefore age faster and need a radical rejuvenation cut faster
  • For this purpose, the z. B. shriveled down shrubbered down to about 30 cm in the spring
  • He is now building completely new and will bear fruit in the season after next
  • Consultancy-free sale via the mass trade causes hobby gardeners typical care mistakes
  • Sometimes these care mistakes are corrected by vigorous trimming of the plant
  • So in the flowering and fruitless sprawl that can cause inappropriate nitrogen fertilization
  • And in frost damage to a culture blueberry, which did not get enough potassium before the winter
  • Or planted in the wrong winter hardiness zone (among the breeding varieties are blueberries from the Azores)
  • Also, the blueberry in the wrong location is completely cut down before transplanting in the fall, so that they can re-root in peace
The blueberries of this world are good evidence that it makes sense to orient themselves to botanical plant names (which at first seem like bulky wordy tales, you get used to it quickly). If you get into the information about the blueberry cultivars, you will inevitably encounter American original sources - and then easily get confused, because the American blueberry in the US is just their blueberry = blueberry, while the colored European relatives Bilberry, Whortleberry or Whiniberry is called ("Huckleberry" are called the European and the American kinds).

The (also in the trim) problem-free blueberry

Surely there are people who have a lot of work to do, and there are people who are very young; Uninformed and / or inexperienced Consumers, however, may prove to be much smarter than subordinating exclusively profit-motivated companies (and resenting them if insufficient information and / or inexperience is exploited).

Blueberries 3043

The gardeners among the consumers are definitely not all fans of the culture blueberries, but many of them know that there are in addition to the blueberries from the garden center still very different blueberries: Our normal native blueberries, with the American culture blueberries not much more than the genus have in common; they do not share the influence of breeding, which is why they develop their ingredients just as nature once created them. These ingredients are when the health value of blueberries is invoked, leaves on low shrubs and throughout blue-colored berries, dried as "Myrtilli folium" and "Myrtilli fructus" in the European Pharmacopoeia.
If you are confused now because you have read that our native blueberries are not growing in the garden - you now get a vivid idea of ​​how incomplete sales information can be used. That is not true; why should it, every plant grows away from the place where the first of its kind was rooted - if it did not, it would not be in the garden center (v. myrtillus: nursery, nursery) to buy, but extinct. The articles that claim the opposite are usually "disguised sales descriptions" for horticultural or cultivated blueberries, which then quite naturally points to the health effects of blueberries, which in fact are only attributed to the drug obtained from V. myrtillus,
These healthy blueberries grow in the right location without much care in the garden; and their cut is similarly unproblematic: If after a few years, a rejuvenation of the ever self-expanding old stock is desired, smaller stocks are completely free of waste wood and larger stocks of a not too deep mowing subjected. But it does not have to be, if you have enough space, just let Vaccinium myrtillus grow.

Video Board: How to Prune a Blueberry Bush.

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