By Dane Castle, Fall Creek® Grower Support South Africa
This year has been a roller-coaster ride for many blueberry growers in South Africa – from new plantings to commercial expansions, it’s been non-stop. Not to mention the weather that served up its own set of challenges with record rainfall and abnormally cold winters. Right now, many of us are in the middle of harvesting, but with farming, we must always think ahead. So, let’s talk about prepping for the pruning of your plants.
Always follow best management practices before you undertake any kind of pruning action. Here are a few key factors to consider:
By following these steps, you will greatly reduce the risk of any plant loss or stress.
1. Remove the horizontal, low branches completely. This is also known as your skirt.
2. Cut out thin and differentiated branches from the lower part of the centre of the bush. This opens the structuring and allows light and airflow to reach the middle of the plant.
3. Beginning with the largest canes, locate a new shoot around 40 cm from the base. Cut back the rest of the cane.
4. Repeat this action with the other canes like this. They will be your larger, more lignified canes.
5. Tip the younger green shoots at 15 to 20 cm. These can be identified as this year’s growth.
6. Remove all the remaining thin, old, horizontal, and differentiated branches from the centre.
7. Keep 5 to 8 canes, depending on the strength of the plant, that will form an open wine glass frame.
8. Estimated time is approximately 3 minutes per bush.
Ensure your team is correctly trained to ensure homogeneity of the field. If you wish to receive training by a specialist, please contact your local Grower Support Representative.
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