Pruning your plum tree is an important step in having healthy, fruit producing plum trees. It is done to train your plum tree to grow into the desired shape, to remove diseased or dead limbs and to increase fruit production. Several tips for pruning your fruit tree will be discussed in this article.
Plum Tree Pruning
Plumtree pruning is important in growing a bounty of fresh plums for eating, canning or freezing. Here are some important things to know before you prune your plum tree.
- Make sure you secure tree protection ordinance from your local government.
- Never prune in winter; spring is the best time to prune your plum tree.
- Never prune your plum tree on a damp day; wait for a dryer day to prevent silver leaf disease. Silver leaf disease is a serious disease that enters the tissues of the tree through open cuts.
- Make sure cuts from a saw or clippers are clean cuts.
- You really should use a pruning paint, or white latex paint, on the tips of limbs that have been pruned.
Plum Trees Shapes
A fan-trained plum tree is the most manageable plum tree for the home gardener. Fan trained plum trees can be trained to grow up to about seven feet in height. This type of tree training will make it easier to reach the fruit. Pyramid trained plum trees are pruned to grow into a pyramid shape and will be a few feet taller than fan-trained plum trees. Pyramid trained plum trees will generally have a straight trunk. Bush trained plum trees will grow taller than the pyramid-shaped the plum tree and you will need a ladder to reach the fruit. Half standard trained plum trees will grow to be a very tall plum tree, about 20 feet in height. Half standard trained plum trees should only be used in large gardens and will produce a lot of plums. Standard plum trees are meant only for very large gardens and will reach about 28 feet. Standard plum tree shapes will grow leaps and bounds of plums.
Because the fan-trained plum tree is the easiest shape in reaching the fruit and much more manageable for the home gardener, this is the type of training that will be discussed in this article. The best way to produce more fruit on your plum tree is to maintain an open center. In a perfect world, you should start training your plum tree into the desired shape when the tree is around a year old. If the plum tree is an older tree when you first begin pruning, the procedure is a bit different.
Pruning a First Year Plum Tree
The first year, or maiden, plum trees should be pruned in the spring. The importance of pruning a young tree is to encourage strong branches to hold heavy fruit. Begin pruning your first year plum tree by snipping the top of the plum tree about three feet above the ground, just above a bud. Pruning the top will help keep your plum tree low and more accessible.
Pruning an Older Plum Tree
Begin pruning by looking for limbs that are rubbing against another limb on the plum tree. Cut these limbs with a saw or lopper. Do not trim the central leader, which is the main trunk. Remove some of the upward growing thinner branches in the center of the plum tree to improve sunlight and air circulation. Cut these little branches close to the stem. Remove some of the tops of the tree with loppers, just above a bud, leaving three or four buds below the cut. A number of limbs removed from the plum tree should be no more than one-third of the tree. The main idea in pruning an older plum tree is to prune the new growth and maintain the size of the tree.