How Much Space Should I Leave Between My Blueberry Bushes?

Q: I inherited an overgrown blueberry patch ten years ago. I managed to clear it and they have borne a reasonable quantity of fruit each year. However, I lose a lot of fruit because the rows between the bushes have narrowed over the years. 

A: If the blueberries have not been pruned regularly, thinning can be done to reduce their height and width. From each bush, remove one to three of the largest canes each winter at 0 to 24 inches from ground level for a total of about twenty percent of the leaf canopy. Over a period of five years each plant will be totally renewed. New, more productive canes will sprout from the old canes. Shoots that come up from below ground in the rows between bushes can be transplanted or removed completely. In addition, excessively tall canes can be pruned back to six feet each winter.