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Plum Pruning Techniques (continued - page 6)

Plum Pruning Techniques
(continued - page 6)

Pruning Standard and Bush Plum Trees
To avoid the risk of Silver Leaf Disease, always prune plum trees when they are growing strongly, mid-June is a good time.

plum pruning picture number 1   

plum pruning picture 2

plum pruning picture 3
Standard The pruning of standard, half-standard and bush plum trees is the same with the exception of the height at which the main stem is pruned to encourage the formation of branches. The maiden tree main stem should be pruned in June to 1m (3ft) above soil level for a bush tree, to 1.2m (4ft) for a half-standard and to 1.9m (6ft) for a full standard tree. Thereafter, the pruning of all three forms is the same.

In the second year, the plum tree should again be pruned in June . All growth should be cut back (just above a healthy bud) to about 25cm (10in) from the main trunk. This may sound severe, but it will encourage new healthy growth next year. The new growth will come from the pruned branches.

In the diagram to the right, last year's growth is shown as pink, the current year's growth as grey and the pruning points shown as black lines.  

plum tree prune second year

. .

plum tree third year In the third year, the plum tree should again be pruned in June. Prune the leading shoots back to 30cm (12in) from their main stem (see points marked 1). Other shoots should be cut back to 15cm (6in) from their main stem (see points marked 2). All shoots should be pruned just above a healthy shoot.

In the diagram to the left, last year's growth is shown as pink, the current year's growth as grey and the pruning points shown as black lines.  

In the fourth and later years, prune in June. Cut all leading shoots back by about a third and all other shoots to 15cm (6in) from their main stem. Cut out all diseased or dead wood (and burn) and trim up any shoots which cross others. The aim is to go for a wine goblet shape. The centre of the tree should be kept un-crowded to allow air to circulate freely and let in light.



Name: andy
Date posted: September 18, 2011 - 05:26 am
Message: does anyone answer these questions ?,or do we ask each other ?

Name: Beth
Date posted: September 14, 2011 - 02:10 pm
Message: Last yr. I purchased what was labeled as a red dwarf plum. It was tall, narrow, with a few branches. It looked like a new tree. By fall all the leaves had fallen off and in spring of this yr. there were no buds and it appeared dead. The branches were all brittle and snapped right off, without a hint of life in them. Now, at the end of the 2nd summer, it looks more like a bush. There are dozens of branches that shoot from the very bottom of the main trunk. It has bright green, very narrow oblong leaves that look nothing like the neighbor's plum tree which I've been picking from. I'm wondering if I have a plum tree or if this new growth is something else. If I indeed have a plum tree, I know I need to cut off all of the tall dead branches that were the original tree when I bought it, but is it too late, being Sept. in Wisconsin, to do that? And then, what do I do with this large bush that grows from the ground? It's about 6' tall and about 5' around with all the branches stemming out from within a foot of the ground. Thank you so much for any help you can give me.

Name: C Harris
Date posted: September 14, 2011 - 02:10 am
Message: I have purchased a Victoria plum in August. I need to prune it into shape. When and how do I do this as I see you should only prune plum trees in May?
C Harris

Name: Dave Shuster
Date posted: August 28, 2011 - 03:26 pm
Message: I have a Plum tree that produces lots of fruit however the amount of fruit it produces breaks the branches and i want to avoid this next year. It is after June it is already late September can I still trim it? In June it already has lots of fruit on it and not ripe yet but still lots of fruit.

Date posted: August 18, 2011 - 07:45 am
Message: Hi is it to late to prune my plum tree in august,its 5 years old and i have never pruned it thanks

Name: bill
Date posted: August 16, 2011 - 08:58 am
Message: my plum tree is two years old and we had loads of fruit,i always thought you pruned it after the fruit as finished as in june mine is well in flower.

Name: stiv
Date posted: July 17, 2011 - 03:54 pm
Message: five years ago i pruned my 8 year plumb tree well back in june but cut some branches bearing fruit. all the fruit that year fell off shortly after and the tree did not fruit the next year. we have had excellent crops thereafter so, as long as you do not prune with branches bearing fruit in june you should be ok.

Name: yukie
Date posted: July 17, 2011 - 11:09 am
Message: My tree is 3 years old and never been pruned. I got 2 plums this year,but fell off in early stage. Tree is bushy and healthy looking, do I wait til next June to prune it?

Name: babs
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 11, 2011 - 12:42 pm
Message: I have only just come across your site.Am I too late in mid July to prune my plum tree which I've had for two years but which was grafted with a dwarf tree? There are no signs of fruit as yet.

Name: dee staten
Date posted: June 30, 2011 - 07:53 pm
Message: Trees r 3 yrs old. never been pruned. ON closer examination of one of the trees, there r 2 trunks coming out of grnd, what now? Both seem healthy.
THe guy at the nursery told me to wind them to gether, and then prune all the old, stragly limbs and other limbs back to abt 8-10 inches from trunk or limb... sounds strange to me..
I am sorry abt not pruning, but ask at nursery and they said nothing. Other tree won't be a problem, could figure that out from your grat diagrams.
ANY advice is humbly encouraged. THank you so much..

Name: ray in northern arizona
Date posted: December 10, 2010 - 08:33 am
Message: I was always led to believe that fruit trees should be pruned in the dead of winter when all the sap is down. my plun tree is about 30 years old and has always been pruned in winter and here I am reading to prune in June? Ray in Northern Arizona

Name: e doyle (betty)
Date posted: October 10, 2010 - 09:40 am
Message: my plum tree which is only 1year old looks like the bark has a split in it, will it be ok. my son-in-law bought it for me the same time he bought his and he has had fruit off his.

Name: Colin
Date posted: September 26, 2010 - 10:17 am
Message: Planted a Victoria plum tree last autumn. Have left the branches which are now long and blowing around in the wind. Will they be ok over winter or should I prine now and apply Arbrex?

Name: Robin Cavan
Date posted: August 30, 2010 - 05:53 am
Message: I have a bush plum andit is growing well and produces excellent fruit, but the leaders grog very tall. Is there any way I can prune the tree to curtail the height that the leaders extend to?

Name: Allen Kaye
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 17, 2010 - 05:04 am
Message: Our 5yr old plum tree has never produced a good crop of Plums. It has never been pruned in June, is it too late to prune it in August as it has grown massively this year and produced no fruit whatsoever

Name: Kenneth affolder
Date posted: August 09, 2010 - 11:46 pm
Message: I was not aware of the important issue regarding timing for pruning plum trees. This is August and my 3 yr. old plum tree has grown massively this years. I would like to prune this year's growth now. Is this advisable?