It’s Time to Prune!

by Gisella Weissbach-Licht, CANP, AOLCP, UCONN MG

9 Garden Care 9 It’s Time to Prune!

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Berries in your Garden? The time to prune them is when they are dormant, the latest by the middle of March. Yearly pruning increases your harvest and keeps the plants happy and healthy.

Pruning Guidelines for small fruit-bearing shrubs

Start with the dead and diseased branches and then move on to the branches that rub against each other.  Rubbing injures the branches and the resulting lesions will provide an opening for bacteria, fungi and pests. Then cut out all branches that grow towards the center of the bush to avoid rubbing branches develop.  This technique also allows for more airflow and light to enter the center.  In the case of blueberries remove all branches thicker than an inch as they will not produce only a limited amount for fruit and discourage the plant from growing new branches from the bottom up.

Pruning Blackberries


Because negative results from a lack of pruning do not show up immediately, sometimes bushes will go unpruned for years.  So, if you are just now inspired to prune your bushes, keep in mind that the past “neglect” cannot be fixed in just one season.

Thus, be careful not to get carried away … the rule is don’t remove more than one-third of the shrub in one season (unless dead, diseased, damaged or weak).


There are lots of plant-specific pruning and growing instructions (including videos) on the internet.  Look for the ones that end with “edu” as they are created by University Departments and are typically based on solid evidence.  Here is some reading material (note that we have included one article from the UK, as currants and gooseberries are from Europe and Asia): › files › 2014/02 › Blueberry-Pruning-Rejuv…

Call in the professionals

If all of this sounds a bit to complicated for you, or you would like to get your fruiting shrubs and canes off to a healthy start this season, we would be happy to come in and do the pruning for you. Call or email us here and we can set up a no obligation consultation.