By Ellen Brown
Becki from Seymour, Missouri
Yum! I can taste them already!
I'm going to guess that you're growing blueberries of the Highbush variety. These are the blueberries people are most familiar with-the kind most often sold in grocery stores. FYI: There are also Half-High, Lowbush, and Rabbiteye blueberries.
Highbush blueberries generally start producing around age three. They may produce small clusters of berries before this age, but if not pruned back or "trained" during the first few years of growth, overall productivity can be somewhat delayed. Producing fruit takes a lot of energy, so it is always better to let a plant expend energy on becoming established during its first few years of life, rather then split its energy between growing and producing fruit. This isn't required, of course, but if you have the patience to train them for a few years before allowing them to swing into full production, you will be glad you did. The payoff is better fruit production down the road.
Blueberries are pruned during "training" (1-4 years old), and as needed throughout their life to maintain their shape. They may also be pruned to "renew" their vigor once they reach 8-10 years of age.
The Missouri State Extension Agency has a nice publication on growing blueberries in Missouri.
They also advise removing the flower buds for the first two growing seasons in order to allow the plant to become established.
Here is an additional resource from the North Caroline State University Extension Agency on the principle of pruning Highbush blueberries.
By Ellen Brown
Any ideas on how to help our blueberries taste good for next year? Last year's crop was a great mix between tangy and sweet. This year, they are so bland and blah. We haven't done anything different but would like to ensure great tasting blueberries next year.
Hardiness Zone: 7a
By Icook_Ucleanup from AL
I didn't even get a chance to eat any of mine. I went to pick mine one afternoon and everyone of them were gone. The Birds got them.