At the same time, pruning in winter exposes the tree to fungal infections. Thanks! Excessive pruning can over stimulate tree growth at the expense of fruit. Knowing when, how and what to use to prune your plum tree will help you to properly maximize your pruning efforts. Foliage – deciduous Flowering – March-April Harvest – July to September. The commercially important plum trees are medium-sized, usually pruned to 5–6 metres (16–20 ft) height. Find out how to prune your plum tree, below. Pruning a plum tree can serve two purposes, depending on which time of year you do it. Remove vertical branching and water shoots’ regularly. Keep the central stem no more than 3 feet (91 cm.) Pruning fruit trees in containers is generally a breeze when compared with pruning fruit trees in the orchard. Not all fruiting plants require an annual prune, and some new dwarf cultivars of apples, peaches, apricots and nectarines have been bred to eliminate the need for annual pruning and maintenance. Plum trees are best pruned in a vase format to get a short trunk with three or four major branches to come off of the trunk at a 45-degree angle. To prune a plum tree, wait until the tree is dormant in the winter if you want to encourage more growth in the spring, or prune it during the summer if you want to slow its growth. Sign up for our newsletter. Be sure that there are at least three buds below. This is a fungal disease of the leaves and wood to which plum, apple, apricot and cherry trees are prone. If you want a big plum tree, then pruning should be done four feet above the soil. Once your tree is established, it’s important to prune only branches that have not produced fruit in that year. There are two basic types of pruning cuts: Heading cuts are made along a branch at the junction of a bud. Pruning Plums If you never pruned your Plum tree it would still crop well but it would just grow large and sprawling. These plums are much softer, juicier, and larger than their European counterparts, though the European plum trees can survive much colder … Japanese plums trees come in a variety of species, such as Satsuma, Santa Rosa, Burbank, Mariposa, and Red Ace. The Vase Training Method presented here produces a vase-shaped tree consisting of 3 or 4 scaffolds (main branches) of equal lengths and no central leader (vertical growing top central branch). When you prune a plum tree depends, in part, on the stage of development of the tree. The second is to avoid any infection with silver leaf disease. European plum trees require much lesser pruning when compared to the Japanese one which have an aggressive growth rate. Look for six to nine nice, strong branches that can form that framework. Before you tackle pruning your fruit trees, ensure you know why you are pruning and that you have the right tools for the job. The time for plum tree pruning depends on the maturity and type of plum tree. from the highest branch. This leader is the newest extension of a long, upright growing trunk from which all lateral branches arise. In this system, at planting the tree is headed at the point where the future main branches will be establish… Justin Calverley from Sensory Gardens shows his technique for winter pruning of plum trees. Plum trees grow fast while young, and require aggressive pruning while dormant through winter. Prune European Plum Trees to a Central Leader Shape. Dwarf plum trees require the same type of pruning as standard plum trees although they reach smaller mature sizes. No doubt about it, you have the holy grail in your back yard. Pruning a tree can improve its appearance, prevent pests and disease, and help the tree grow strong and healthy. Once shape has been established, they require little pruning. This type of tree has a pyramidal shape with a single upright leader limb as its highest point. You’ll need pruning shears to cut branches less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter and a hand saw to remove branches up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. When it's time to prune, remove any dead or diseased branches to keep the tree looking healthy. Prune to just above a leaf. Plum Trees Shapes. Established fruit tree plums are best pruned in mid-summer. Do this in early summer while fruits are still small and can be pinched out with your thumb and forefinger. Young plums are generally pruned in early spring, before bud break, in order to avoid infection by silver leaf disease. However, if you want to maximize the number of figs and their size, you should prune a young tree soon after transplanting and twice more during each of the subsequent dormant seasons. Height – 16 to 20 feet (5 to 6 m) Exposure – full sun Soil – rich enough. July and August is the best time to prune plums in most Northern Hemisphere locations. Plums trees are easy to grow, and with a little care and attention, produce bumper crops of juicy fruit. Otherwise, they get overwhelmed with fruit, and too tall to facilitate harvest. In fact, if you don’t thin them out, your plum tree may crop so heavily that the branches snap under their own weight! But that assumption could damage your precious trees or even kill them even mature trees. Pruning helps balance the top growth of your tree with the root system, giving the roots time to re-establish in your yard before spring growth. Trim the three or four branches immediately below to 10 inches (25 cm.). Pruning Mature Plum Trees. Plum trees can be prone to silver leaf disease if pruned in winter, so cut them back in summer to encourage the development of bushy growth, which stops them becoming too large and unmanageable. An American wild plum tree doesn't exactly look like a tree, but it doesn't exactly look like a shrub, so I'm guessing that pruning has a great deal to do with your tree's appearance. Prune three-year-old trees in a similar fashion by trimming the main stem to 18 inches (45.5 cm.) Training and pruning a fan plum tree. Learn how to trim one and the rest will be easy, as the base principles of pruning are the same. Pruning your plum tree helps to balance out the branch structure and give it a characteristic shape. General Pruning Tips for Plum Trees. A compact variety of this hardy perennial is ideal for smaller gardens. Not all fruiting plants require an annual prune, and some new dwarf cultivars of apples, peaches, apricots and nectarines have been bred to eliminate the need for annual pruning and maintenance. Silver leaf disease is a serious disease that enters the tissues of the tree through open cuts. The health of your plum tree depends upon pruning to keep it stimulated. Mix and match on over 20 varieties of dahlia and pay just £4 per plant. The time for plum tree pruning depends on the maturity and type of plum tree. European Plum trees do best when pruned and trained to a central leader tree. Make a New Year’s resolution to reduce your garden’s carbon footprint and become a better gardener at the same time in our latest Masterclass Online with host, David Hurrion. Plum trees are susceptible to silver leaf disease and should therefore be pruned in summer. Maintenance pruning is performed in winter but not during freezing weather. Anyone can trim plums, but timing is important, as is consistency. Many trees in home gardens are neglected and end up being an unproductive waste of time and space. Click on pests and disease in the left hand menu for a detailed description of silver leaf disease. Getting Started. Follow our guide below on why, when and how to prune. If your plum tree is fairly young, go for late spring pruning. While pruning plum trees, always remember to remove dead or damaged branches, and those parts that look sick or dying. above soil level on new trees. The training systemsmost used in pruning fruit trees are the Open Center,Central Leader, andTrellis (Espalier). A well pruned tree is easier to maintain and to harvest, and adds esthetic value to the home garden as well, but the primary reason for pruning is to ensure good access to sunlight. This means opening up the centre of the tree to let in the light. The manner of pruning must be based on your idea of growing plum trees. Flowering Plum Tree Pruning. When and how to trim plums shouldn’t be discouraging. Plum tree pruning is a task you only need to do once a year to ensure healthy growth and reduce the chance of any problems from developing. The best time to prune the plum tree is from the middle of June until August. When plum trees are not carefully pruned, they can easily become heavy and break under their fruit load. We give a few tips and hopefully this will help get you started in your own orchards. Peach, nectarine, apricot, cherry and plum are usually pruned as open center trees. How to prune plum trees. Prune plum trees before they bloom in late winter. Trimming flowering plum trees is not advised. In our area, as leftovers from earlier orchard methods, we also see many old trees pruned in the Umbrellamethod. Back. All young fruit trees need some pruning to get them off to a good start. Always use sterilized and sharp pruning shears when you trim. The best time to prune a tree is during the dormant season, or late winter through early spring. Leafy summer prunings can be added straight to the compost heap where they’ll rot down quickly. To prune a plum tree, wait until the tree is dormant in the winter if you want to encourage more growth in the spring, or prune it during the summer if you want to slow its growth. Free-standing fruit trees or bush trees, such as those grown in an orchard should be pruned when they're dormant, in winter. Once you have made the cut, you can rub off the bud directly below the cut. For some reason, many people believe tree pruning in the fall is the perfect time of year, especially where four seasons are present. This is a highly undesirable fungal disease that leads to silvering of the leaves and eventually death of the branch. Fig trees are hardy and can thrive without pruning. It is important to prune a one year plum tree as soon as possible to help it establish a good structure. Young plums are generally pruned in early spring, before bud break, in order to avoid infection by silver leaf disease. Come with us as we prune a mature plum tree in the orchard. The shape you want to achieve is an Open Centre, also known as the Vase Shape, as this method lets plenty of light and air into the centre of the tree. Fan plum trees are trained against walls or fences in a fan-shape. above a bud. Plums trees are easy to grow, and with a little care and attention, produce bumper crops of juicy fruit. Take a few minutes to watch this (three-part) YouTube video produced by the Alabama Cooperative Extension: Video1: Video2: Video3: As you can see, there are various times of the year where pruning your trees is more beneficial than others. Here’s how to do it properly to ensure optimal fruit production in summer. It is known that over 1000 cultivars of plum are grown for drying and some of the most popular varieties are the improved French prune, Tulare Giant, Sutter, Imperial, Moyer, Greengage and Italian prune. Helpful 3 Not Helpful 0 “The fall is not the time to learn how to prune. While pruning plum trees, always remember to remove dead or damaged branches, and those parts that look sick or dying. Pruning is the most important winter task for your plum trees. Younger trees are best pruned in spring and established trees in mid-summer. The earliest pruning done on a plum tree is typically already done at the nursery (to make sure, ask them) before you buy it there in spring; when you get home, all you have to do is plant it. Simply learning the basics of how to prune a plum tree will provide you with the necessary tools for growing a healthy, happy tree and plenty of fruit. It is best to avoid this by supporting laden branches, but this can be avoided maybe by thinning the fruit late June. Although plum tree pruning is not difficult, it’s important. Before you tackle pruning your fruit trees, ensure you know why you are pruning and that you have the right tools for the job. Established fruit tree plums are best pruned in mid-summer. Plums bear on one-year-old shoots and spurs that grow on older wood. All young fruit trees need some pruning to get them off to a good start. This is a fungal disease of the leaves and wood to which plum, apple, apricot and cherry trees are prone. Plum trees can be prone to silver leaf disease if pruned in winter, so cut them back in summer to encourage the development of bushy growth, which stops them becoming too large and unmanageable. Save to My scrapbook. 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Half standards are taller than bush shaped fruit trees, but not so tall that you need a crane to pick the crop: ladders will do. Without pruning, the trees can reach 12 metres in height and spread across 10 metres. So the ideal is to prune it to a good shape in the early years and then just maintain that shape as time goes on. Fan trained trees are attractive additions to any garden or outdoor space. THE PRINCIPLES BEHIND PRUNING ESTABLISHED PLUM TREES Established plum trees are all very different in shape, size and structure which means that one set of absolute rules can't be applied to them all. Plum trees are a lovely addition to any landscape, but without proper trimming and training, they can become a burden rather than an asset. Trimming flowering plum trees is not advised. Thinning fruits can be regarded as the first stage of pruning, as it reduces strain on the branches. 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