Saturday, February 16, 2013

Blueberries in winter

More pruning tidbits. It's only when I learned to cut the blueberry back after it had born fruit in July-ish, that I began to appreciate its winter interest - these winter-red branches that grow after the summer pruning. They are every bit as pretty as red twig dogwood (Cornus sericea) - a shrub that is sometimes planted in an institutional reflex, without much thought to its position in terms of background and light.

Blueberries are more interesting, too, because they have, well...blueberries, as well as stunning fall foliage.

I gave it a mulch of freshly ground coffee (yes, I did, and it smelled wonderful), and promised it some food, come early spring.


  1. One of the (newish) coffee shops in town has coffee grounds, packed in foil 1kg. bags, free for customers. The owner must be a gardener!
    My figs? Yes, the giant was one that the professionals cut. But birds are forever dropping seeds.These are wild, native figs.

    1. How progressive. Curious - are they fresh or used? I used to think that used were good, but apparently most their acidity has been leached from them and they are no good for increasing the acidity of the growing medium. But they must still be useful as a mulch.

  2. My blueberrie does not look nearly that good. Only a couple of red stems. Mostly hard, dare i say dead looking gray stems. Was planning to wait til it leafs out and then cut off what doesnt come out. Fearing 80%. Any other suggestions, wel, coffee grounds. I can do that. Thanks.

  3. Maybe it just needs real pruning back, if the older wood is alive, of course. Thing is, if you do it now you'll lose what berries you would get this summer. But the red twigs are all new ones, from last year.

  4. Hi Marie! I live in Sydney, Australia and so it's just coming up to the end of summer now...

    My blueberry bush fruited heavily about a month ago - and is now covered with glossy leaves and some new growth looks to be coming through.

    Is now the time to prune it back? I've never pruned it before and have had it for 2 summers now... It is also in a pot! : )

    Sounds like i need to get my hands on some coffee grounds as well!

    1. Hi Melissa - personally, I like to prune right after they have fruited, so there is more growing season ahead of them to put out new growth.

      Blueberries fruit on second year wood. Meaning this year's brand new branches will be next year's fruiting branches.

      But as they aren't going to freeze anywhere in Australia, I'd say you could still prune it now.

      You don't have to prune blueberries, either. If yours has new growth it may not need any. Mine had a lot of old gnarly branches so I wanted to stimulate new growth...


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