Allowing blueberries to fruit #651805 - Ask Extension

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Allowing blueberries to fruit #651805

Asked June 16, 2020, 3:07 PM EDT

We bought three blueberry bushes in April and planted them. They were probably twelves inches tall but that’s a guess based on a vague memory. Now they have flowered and are putting on fruit. I’ve read in my master gardener book that I shouldn’t let the plants fruit and flower for the first one to two years, so that the energy is spent instead on growing a healthy plant. Of course I am read8bg this now. First off, how can I tell whether the plants are one or two or more years old? Or is the relevant factor the time I’ve had them planted in my garden? I’d it seems it is wise to to let them fruit now, should I prune back the existing fruit? Or is it “too late” and I should let the fruit mature. Thanks.

Multnomah County Oregon

Expert Response

Thank you for choosing Ask an Expert for help with your new blueberries. Good question—if the plant was in a one-gallon pot, you would expect to take off the flowers the first year you plant it and the next year. That’s so hard to do when the plants look good. But it is best.

So, what happens when you don’t do that. Well, you would have to be extra careful with that plant for then next few years, to ensure that it continues to get what it needs. Such as the right watering, the right fertilizer, the right pruning when that time comes. The plants will likely not grow quite as fast to their expected size.

It's certainly not too late to take off the fruit and re-direct the energy to strong establishment. But, with attentive care, the plants will do just fine over their long lifetime.

If you want to supplement your Master Gardener binder with more detailed information on blueberries, check out ,”Growing Blueberries in Your Home Garden, ” here: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/ec1304

Have a good gardening year,

 

Claudia Groth Replied June 22, 2020, 12:58 AM EDT

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