Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We get calls over and over on our Making It Grow show from people who’ve bought an old piece of property that has huge blueberry bushes growing there; and that’s not surprising as blueberry bushes can be very, very long lived. But one-year old canes are the most productive so older stands must be thinned and rejuvenated.
A truly neglected blueberry thicket could be completely cut back to the ground and then as it matures, take out one third of the oldest canes each year. Blueberries naturally grow in soils high in organic matter and an old orchard will repay you many times over if you give it frequent topdressing of compost. Don’t treat blueberries like your vegetable garden; they prefer a lower pH than most other crops. It’s so critical that we have a separate category on our soil test form just for blueberries.