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I have some blueberry bushes of different varieties that were planted this year, and was wondering if I could effectively/safely spread branches of blueberry bushes so they naturally puff out more in future years.

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    Pictures, please? Why do you want to tamper with the natural growth? Young blueberries need hardly any pruning. I don't really get what you want to acchieve.... – Stephie Aug 4 '16 at 16:43
  • I want to achieve using branches from the new growth to spread out similar to how people will space out branches with trees. – black thumb Aug 4 '16 at 18:08
  • Pruning horizontal branches and old branches, wimpy branches does help promote more fruit. One wants the vertical branches as they can hold the weight of berries better. I spent a month pruning 1000 + blueberry shrubs commercially grown. To force spacing would not be smart for blueberries, now Japanese Maples for instance spacers work well. – stormy Aug 4 '16 at 21:46
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There is a significant difference between fruit trees like apples and bushes like blueberries

Tree branches of young trees get trained in a certain shape and sometimes position, because the main branches will form the base structure of the tree for as long as it lives, pruning of adult trees mostly maintains that structure and keeps the tree productive.

Bushes send up new branches from (near) the base every year and for continuous productivity, older branches that bear only little fruit get thinned out to make space for younger, more productive branches. For your blueberries, that means that after a few seasons you will start selectively removing the oldest ones. (Pro tip if you are unsure: mark non-bearing old ones during summer with a ribbon or similar.) The rule of thumb which canes should be cut and when differ between types of berries, so do your homework. Further training isn't necessary, except removing the occasional dead branch after a hard winter or perhaps if a branch really gets in the way. The bushes will spread out a cording to their natural growth habit1.


1 Note that the natural shape can differ between cultivars, I have blueberries that are "tall and lean" and others with a more "short and stocky stature".

  • Won't new chutes come out of the old ones ever? – black thumb Aug 5 '16 at 4:34
  • @blackthumb when you've had your bushes for two seasons (before, no pruning is necessary), you'll have had enough time to observe the growth pattern firsthand. Yes, sometimes new branches grow from the lower parts of old ones, so cut back to the new growth. But that's standard procedure. – Stephie Aug 5 '16 at 6:27

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