What to do with blueberry trimmings and prunings?


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Hello! I have a small blueberry orchard (about 120 bushes) which I keep trimmed every year. However, I always have a ton of trimmings to deal with.

Using a chipper (not a chipper-shredder), I can compact the bulk of the trimmings... but there are still a ton of small sticks in the chips, making the result not ideal for use on a path or as mulch for other plants.

What can I do with the trimmings? What should I do with the trimmings? Any information or experience would be helpful.
 
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Hello, and welcome to the Forums.

How nice to grow so many blueberries. I imagine you have an abundance of fruit all season long. Are they Highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum), Lowbush (V. angustifolium), or something else?

If mulching is out of the question., why not try hot or cold composting. Leaves and twigs might give you a good ratio of green (high N) to brown (high C) for hot composting, but if not, you can either add additional organic matter to shift the balance, or just have a cold compost pile. Cold compost also works well and is easier to maintain, albeit a slower process.

Still, I would think that trimmings with small sticks could work well as a bed mulch, either under other plants or even under the blueberries, unless you feel there is a disease risk. The concepts of mulching and cold composting somewhat intergrade anyway.
 
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When I trim hedges or take out bushes I chuck them on the lawn and run over them with the rotary mower, not the real big branches obviously. When I am done there are always a handful of sticks that lay flat and don't pick up, I pick them up by hand, and a scattering of wood chips which quickly disappear into the grass. I find the combination of leaves, grass and small bits of damaged stick will compost well. I don't worry about the odd bit of stick that survives the process whole, there are a lot fewer of them than I find in most commercial compost.
 

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