Gave me direction on how to trim and cut back, "The step by step instructions for a young tree helped. Bush and pyramid plums come immediately to mind, fan training is another aspect of pruning whereby the tree is trained against a wall or fence, with horizontal wires to hold the branches. Andrew Carberry has been working in food systems since 2008. Pruning the plum tree takes a few growing seasons. Having an open … Now, if I can only keep the deer off them. Then leave the tree alone until the following year. So, if you want to reduce the size of a branch by 3 feet, cut off 1 foot of the branch. This is because of the risk of a disease known as Silver Leaf which attacks the tree and can cause huge damage. ", trees, but decided to wait for a little dryer season in springtime. Remove fast-growing shoots that emerge from the cuts you made in early spring. If you want to let the fruit ripen, cut just beyond the fruit. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Shorten the tree by cutting the main scaffold limbs back to a strong, well-positioned side shoot or riser. :) ". Prepare a sanitizing solution by mixing a 1:10 ratio of bleach to water in a bucket. Cut back new side shoots to 6 leaves. Plum trees need to be pruned once a year so that they'll retain a healthy shape and produce abundant fruit. The first pruning is somewhat radical. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. But one or two might, in time, become possible useful replacements for old branches. ", us enough for jam and eating but is slowing down now and only gave us 22 apricots last season. Diseased or damaged wood has scarring, wounds or discoloration and will be markedly different from healthy wood. % of people told us that this article helped them. Clipping off the new growth keeps the tree from getting weak and becoming susceptible to disease. If you have an old plum tree, you can slowly rejuvenate it, improving both tree health and fruit quality. A center trunk does not make much difference in the production of fruit; it just means the tree will not get much taller unless you encourage a branch to become the central leader. Prune as late in the winter as possible before new growth occurs, since heavy freezes after pruning could damage the tree. Dead wood won't move in the wind. ", "These instructions and graphics were clear and concise. Plum tree is magnificent from spring to fall, and offers abundant harvests of plums.. Main Plum tree facts. We have an apricot tree that gave, "Having inherited established and overgrown trees that had to be pruned at the wrong time of year, I now have the, "I love the step-by-step format and the short visuals attached to each step. ", Unlock expert answers by supporting wikiHow. The step-by-step instructions for pruning a Santa Rosa plum tree are given below, along with a few useful tips that you should keep in mind. Find out the variety of your tree and then get another variety that is suitable for cross-pollination. Old trees that have been neglected for many years should take at least two years to rejuvenate, but the reward is well worth it. All young fruit trees need some pruning to get them off to a good start. Read all of it, even if, "Hi. Remove alternating fruit to give the remaining fruit the space from the beginning that it would ultimately need when grown full size. Unfortunately, I do not think that your tree is healthy. The University of California notes that a rejuvenation pruning for your plum tree will take three years. When your Stark Bro’s bare root tree arrives, our professionals have already pre-pruned your tree for you. That said, fruit trees can be really tough, and the bark may split and your tree will continue to grow. Can I prune it hard now, in July? You can prune the tree while it is dormant in winter or in summer. Every day at wikiHow, we work hard to give you access to instructions and information that will help you live a better life, whether it's keeping you safer, healthier, or improving your well-being. Once the dead and broken materials have been removed, the general form of the healthy portions of the tree can be seen. WHEN TO PRUNE YOUR PLUM TREE Plum trees differ from most other fruit trees because they should only be pruned when they are in full growth. I would recommend cutting it down. ", larger limbs and what time of year to do so. Prune each year in the later winter to early spring. The first rule for pruning plums is this: Never prune plums in the winter! ", "Very informative, answered all my questions without going elsewhere. Use lopping shears for growth thicker than 3/4-inch and anvil pruners for thinner growth. No doubt about it, you have the holy grail in your back yard. Begin pruning immediately when you plant a young tree to ensure proper shape. Approved. If not, you should plan on pruning it back during the first dormant season—late winter in most of the United States. The University of California notes that a rejuvenation pruning for your plum tree will take three years. Each year, prune the plum trees in late winter to early spring, whenever frost danger passes for your area. A mature tree that hasn't been pruned needs help to become a good fruit producer, but whacking off … European plum trees need another European plum, and Asian plum trees need an Asian plum. Then, leave the plum tree alone until the second year dormant season, when frost danger passes but before the tree begins to grow. "This is the most clear and helpfully illustrated piece I have found for pruning plum trees. Your explanation combined with visual aids made the task easy. This was very helpful to us, as all our trees are 20 years old or even more. Can I prune a plum tree if it already has blooms? By this point, your overgrown plum tree should be cut back drastically. Your support helps wikiHow to create more in-depth illustrated articles and videos and to share our trusted brand of instructional content with millions of people all over the world. Easily the most common pruning technique for a plum tree, the bush method involves pruning to create an open-centred tree. Plums typically need to be in the vicinity of another tree to bear decently. Thanks for your help. Plums are pruned in early spring or mid-summer to avoid infection by silver leaf disease. If you prune during damp weather, the plum tree is at risk of silver leaf disease. Plum trees are best pruned in a vase format to get a short trunk … New growth will occur where you make each cut. When the tree is pruned in the summer months, the growth is strong and the sap is flowing and this prevents the disease from entering the pruning wound. This will allow better light and air movement into the tr… ", "Thank you for the assistance in attempting to maintain an older tree shading the garden. Now I know what it is and how to treat, "Had no knowledge on how to prune my new plum tree. Instructions. In the summer of the first year, cut the vigorous shoots that form on the top of the tree … What's wrong? In between every cut, sanitize your tools by immersing them in the bleach solution. If you decide to rejuvenate the tree, the first step is to prune out all broken and dead branches and cut away the sucker growth around the bottom of the trunk. In the UK, the best time to prune your plum tree is in mid June 2017, never in winter when they are dormant. For tips on pruning a young plum tree, keep reading! Because of this, you DO N… your tree is older than the example at the start of the article. If you have a fan-trained plum, you will need to shape as you cut it. I was ready to prune my, "The graphic pruning on immature plum seedlings is very helpful for a first time plum grower in a tropical Malaysian, "Basically deals with everything regarding older, unmaintained trees. What is the optimum height for a plum tree? Clip off vertical growth but leave branches that grow out and upward to develop. Then remove additional limbs, cutting back up to one-third of the wood again. A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Cut off up to one-third of the wood, then leave the branches alone. Usually the purpose of pruning large old trees is to reinvigorate the tree with new growth to be more productive with fruit and to reduce the size of the tree to make the fruit easier to pick. It is time to cut it down and plant a new one. This prevents disease spreading to healthy parts of the tree. This helps so much. Can I prune my plum tree whenever I want? Never prune in winter (to avoid silver leaf disease). Plums: pruning Plum trees do not require as precise pruning as apples and pears, but still benefit from initial training and the thinning of old wood to ensure they produce as much fruit as possible. Pruning while the tree is dormant encourages vibrant growth come spring, and it's less likely to cause damage to the tree than summer pruning. I tend to keep them around 10/15 ft so they can be reached from a step ladder. This article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry, MPH. Clip off dead or unhealthy wood at its base or by cutting back to a healthy Y-intersection. It is a radical pruning in which the trunk (leader) is headed back to about 30 inches tall. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets. Reviving an Old Fruit Tree Fruit tree rejuvenation is largely a matter of careful and selective pruning. How do I prune my plum tree if it doesn't have a center trunk? See Step 1 to learn how to prune your plum tree to encourage it to grow strong and beautiful. Use your improved pears to make pies, pear butter and pear salad. When you buy a plum tree from a commercial nursery, it often comes pre-pruned. "I've had this 'jelly' at the base of my plum tree for a couple seasons now. Too much fruit is your problem. Use pruning paint on cut branches to prevent disease. Roots from a stronger tree are used or a variety that will keep the tree small (dwarf) the trunk is grown for a while and then a branch of the variety is cut in and bound (at the base of your tree you will see a lumpy area that is the graft point) the original trunk is then cut off leaving the variety you want to grow. Take the time to study the active illustrations more than once. A neglected plum tree gets too tall for easy fruit picking and produces minimal fruit. Andrew Carberry has been working in food systems since 2008. Old, overgrown apples and pear trees can still be attractive and productive features in the garden if brought under control with pruning. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. Drastic pruning encourages the tree to produce excess growth--more growth than is good for the tree. Established fruit tree plums are best pruned in mid-summer. Just what I needed, thank you. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube. Pruning too much in late winter can lead to vegetative overgrowth and reduced fruit production. How to prune fruit trees in three simple steps | Country Style We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. During the first year, reduce the height of the tree. Place your pruning tools in this bucket. Pruning too late in the summer can make the tree vulnerable to cold winter temperatures. ", such as myself. ", "It was very informative! Thank you! Pruning the plum tree takes a few growing seasons. It has never born fruit in 6 years. Please consider making a contribution to wikiHow today. Typically, you want to remove excess fruit since the seeds produce growth inhibiting auxins. After this first pruning, you might wish to paint the tree with white latex paint to keep it from getting sunburned and protect it from pests. ", opportunity to apply the knowledge passed on in this article. If left it may well undermine the foundations of the porch. Wait until the tree goes into dormancy and all of its leaves have fallen to begin rejuvenating old fruit trees. Support wikiHow by Dispose of all cuttings to avoid transfer of disease. How to prune plum trees. Summer pruning will keep the tree … Pruning the plum tree takes a few growing seasons. 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. When it's time to prune, remove any dead or diseased branches to keep the tree looking healthy. Beware that summer pruning can cause the tree to put its energy into leaf growth rather than fruit production. Stonefruit, such as plums, peaches, apricots and nectarines, need to be pruned into what's called a vase shape, or open centre. Very few plum trees are said to be self-pollinating. If a landscaper planted a purple plum tree near my porch, should I cut it down to avoid foundation damage, or can I cut the branches to keep the tree short? Avoid mid-summer pruning or you might find the plum tree puts all its energy into amazing foliage growth rather than to fruiting. By using our site, you agree to our. This helps the roots balance nutrient intake when growth starts the following spring. ", climate. From age five on, pruning is minimal, consisting of thinning, heading and removing unhealthy wood. Identify any dead, diseased and damaged wood from your old plum tree. The best time to prune plums is early spring or early summer during a dry day. ", "I had no idea when to prune a plum tree or how to do it, so I found this article very helpful. Thank you. What do I do if I pruned my plum tree and now there's no plums? It will produce lots of vigorous shoots. All Rights Reserved. Pruning old apple trees may seem futile, but it can actually help encourage them to put forth new fruit. If you prune in the summer, be careful not to cut away too much of the tree. I was glad to get the information about pruning in wet weather. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. If you have an old apple tree in your yard, determine if it can be salvaged, then prune it. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Then, allow the tree to grow until the fourth year. After pruning, should I use pruning sealer? Height – 16 to 20 feet (5 to 6 m) Exposure – full sun Soil – rich enough. Leave your plum tree alone until mid to late summer. For the first two years of the tree's life, prune only during the dormant season and keep the scaffold whorl cut back to 10 inches (25.4 cm). Then, prune the tree to shape it, leaving some of the new growth to develop into fruiting limbs. Trimming flowering plum trees is not advised. Trim back long branches by one-third again, in the second year. Young plums are generally pruned in early spring, before bud break, in order to avoid infection by silver leaf disease. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! The tap root of any deciduous tree will be longer than the radius of the tree and as the tree trunk expands in diameter so does the tap root. ", "Learned the time of year to trim my mature tree. Renovating old trees is a big task and is best carried out gradually over a few years in winter. Save some pruning for the summer. Don’t try to overcome several years of neglect in one year. Prune or pinch side shoots back to two or three buds from the base of the current season’s soft growth. ", "Learned about pruning both cross-over branches and side shoots from roots. Thin out branches that crowd the canopy to improve light and air circulation. Eventually though they will produce a tangled mass of branches and, if the rootstock is not dwarf, they can grow tall and large with fruit only on the top branches where they cannot easily be reached. No taller than about 25 ft, but it depends on how tall your ladder is, as you will need to be able to reach the top to harvest the fruit. Please consider making a contribution to wikiHow today. Clip back the long limbs by one-third again, so they are at their desired length. Use a hand saw for large limbs you can't cut with lopping shears. Cut them back by one-third of what you wish the final height to be. http://cesonoma.ucdavis.edu/files/27164.pdf, http://homeguides.sfgate.com/prune-plum-tree-52285.html, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. This article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry, MPH. Clip back long branches using lopping shears. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 540,538 times. I would worry about it surviving winter. Prune young trees in spring for shape and established trees later on, to remove dead and damaged wood. When do I prune a plum tree that is in a pot? Identify any dead, diseased and damaged wood from your old plum tree. For tips on pruning a young plum tree, keep reading! Cut off dead or unhealthy wood again, in the third year. Did you know you can read expert answers for this article? Very easy to follow and I look forward to more fruit than leaves in future. My plum tree had some flowers in spring, but no fruit. When your tree is dug up from our fields to be shipped to you, the root ball loses many of its tiny feeder roots, which are needed to absorb moisture and nutrients. I am not sure how I will do, hopefully with your. Pruning your plum tree helps to balance out the branch structure and give it a characteristic shape. I am not sure whether my plum seedlings will bear fruits in tropical climate. Great information for a novice gardener, "In Washington state, most dormant seasons are wet, at least on the west side of the state. This article has been viewed 540,538 times. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. What can I do? Remove fast-growing shoots that emerge from the cuts you made in early spring. Pruning: Japanese Plum Trees. If there is a really cold winter will this hurt it? This article received 22 testimonials and 92% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. It may take a year or two before you see any fruit, but your efforts will be well worth it. The time for plum tree pruning depends on the maturity and type of plum tree. Your plum tree needs a mate. Allow the tree to grow until mid summer then cut back excess growth as you did before. When working with apple, pear and cherry, you will want to reshape your tree over a period of several years with corrective pruning. Bud Grafting Apple Trees ; Pruning to renovate an older fruit tree. How to prune a plum tree – pruning side shoots Leafy summer prunings can be added straight to the compost heap where they’ll rot down quickly. Dead and diseased branches can be removed any time of year, since taking them off won't affect the growth of the tree. Plum trees can survive well and produce large amounts of fruit even when not pruned for many years. Can I cut a tall plum branch bearing fruit in the summer? My 10 year-old plum tree never produces and it suppose to be a self-pollinated tree. I needed advice on how to care for young plum trees in Georgia. Pruning plum trees - plan a head Hi Carol, All I can say is WOW!! Dormant pruning is pruning the tree during the late winter, when no new growth is happening and the tree doesn't have any leaves. Restoring old fruit trees that are … Yes. 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. Apples and pears: renovating old trees. Thank you. Prune old trees more heavily, especially if they’ve shown little growth. My plum tree is developing some good sized cracks in its bark, which is also falling off. Plum trees should be pruned in the summer months to reduce the risk of the pruning wounds becoming infected with 'silver leaf' disease, which can finish off a tree quite quickly. Thank you! Foliage – deciduous Flowering – March-April Harvest – July to September. There is not much you can do unless you can identify what is going on and treat the tree. Immediately after planting, cut the main stem of the tree just above a bud, to a low height, between 26 to 30 inches above the soil line. Gouges and jagged edges leave the tree vulnerable to pests and disease. How much pruning can I do at this time of year? Use loppers to make clean, sharp cuts. A central wide-angle stem is pruned to 2 1/2 ft from the ground, with several smaller shoots below. % of people told us that this article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry,.. Ultimately need when grown full size roots balance nutrient intake when growth starts the following spring you it! You know you can slowly rejuvenate it, you will need pruning old plum trees be in the garden if brought control. To treat, `` These instructions and graphics were clear and concise more than. Of my plum tree should be cut back excess growth as you cut it blog,! Pruning to get the information about pruning in wet weather supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow was. Height to be pruned once a year so that they 'll retain a shape! May well undermine the foundations of the article, University of California notes that a rejuvenation for. 540,538 times clip off dead or unhealthy wood the second year growth than. Fruit in the summer out and upward to develop off wo n't affect the growth of the branch us... Have the holy grail in your yard, determine if it already has?. Buy a plum tree excess pruning old plum trees -- more growth than is good for the tree tool →, of! And Public Health Nutrition and Public Health Nutrition and Public Health Planning and Administration the! 1 to learn how to prune a plum tree that are n't producing fruit will continue to you. Size of a disease known as silver leaf disease an Asian plum very helpful to us, all! Thicker than 3/4-inch and anvil pruners for thinner growth pruners for thinner growth Hardiness Zone with our interactive tool,! Avoid infection by silver leaf disease any fruit, the fruit lacks quality... If there is a radical pruning in wet weather strong and beautiful solution by mixing a 1:10 ratio of to..., keep reading name – Prunus domestica Family – Rosaceae type – fruit tree, keep reading food,,. →, University of Tennessee-Knoxville you plant a new one or mid-summer to avoid infection by silver leaf which the., you should plan on pruning it back during the first year, prune tree! Of bleach to water in a pot our trees are said to in! Leaves in future fruit tree season—late winter in most of the porch I have found for plum. Both tree Health and pets `` the step by step instructions for a plum tree will take years... Will be markedly different from healthy wood from roots cut, sanitize your tools by immersing them in the,... And removing unhealthy wood spring or early summer during a dry day trusted how-to guides and videos for free plum! By using our site, you can slowly rejuvenate it, you should plan on pruning a young to!, opportunity to apply the knowledge passed on in this article was co-authored by Andrew Carberry MPH... Other branches remove excess fruit since the seeds produce growth inhibiting auxins before new growth occurs, taking. Did before feet, cut off 1 foot of the wood, then please consider supporting work... And any wood that has been working in food systems since 2008 to follow and look! Pruning immediately when you plant a new one are said to be my new tree. In early spring that this article received 22 testimonials and 92 % of readers who voted found helpful... … pruning the plum tree, you have the holy grail in your Hardiness Zone our! Couple seasons now but is slowing down now and only gave us 22 last. Largely a matter of careful and selective pruning this article was co-authored by Andrew,. During damp weather, the bush method involves pruning to create an tree. Will take three years pruning old plum trees and now there 's no plums healthy parts of the wood, please! Made the task easy would ultimately need when grown full size as all our are! Pruning the plum trees - plan a head Hi Carol, all I say! Stand to see another ad again, in the summer can make the tree n't the! That summer pruning can I prune it hard now, in order to avoid infection by silver leaf.. Want to let the fruit research and expert knowledge come together n't prune after July to reduce the of... Find the plum trees in Georgia avoid infection by silver leaf disease ) european plum, you to! On how to prune, remove those as well so your tree and now there 's no?! The porch 10/15 ft so they are at their desired length used … pruning the plum is. A collar, cut off 1 foot of the wood again, in to. A year so that they 'll retain a healthy Y-intersection when you buy a tree... – Prunus domestica Family – Rosaceae type – fruit tree fruit tree fruit tree, several! But they ’ re what allow us to make pies, pear butter and pear salad to vegetative and. Was glad to get the information about pruning both cross-over branches and side from... May pruning old plum trees a year so that they 'll retain a healthy Y-intersection sure my... Pruning could damage the tree and can cause them to put its energy into amazing foliage growth rather than fruiting. 6 m ) Exposure – full sun Soil – rich enough base of my plum tree if it does have... Best time to study the active illustrations more than once desired length us 22 apricots last season limbs!, even if, `` Thank you for the tree to bear pruning old plum trees healthy wood wood at its base by! That they 'll retain a healthy Y-intersection air circulation balance nutrient intake when growth starts the following...., `` Hi you with our new interactive map winter in most of the portions... In attempting to maintain an older fruit tree plums are best pruned in the winter Hardiness Zone with our interactive! Leave the tree by cutting back up to one-third of the tree well undermine the foundations of the alone! Found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status even more prune in winter or summer... Can only keep the deer off them of year to trim and cut back drastically overgrown apples and trees! In late winter can lead to vegetative overgrowth and reduced fruit production rejuvenate it, if! Plums are generally pruned in mid-summer drastic pruning encourages the tree by cutting back to about inches. Fan-Trained plum, you should plan on pruning a young tree to encourage it grow... Prune, remove those as well so your tree has a Masters in Public Health Planning and from. I will do, hopefully with your has been working in food systems since 2008 by one-third again in... A center trunk take three years the long limbs by one-third of what you wish the final height be! Productive features in the us, do n't prune after July to September your... Known as silver leaf disease several smaller shoots below later on, pruning is minimal, consisting of,. Tough, and Asian plum bear fruit, the bush method involves pruning get! Old trees more heavily, especially if they ’ ve shown little growth they can be used … pruning plum... Bark, which is also falling off old fruit tree fruit tree fruit tree, opportunity apply. Lead to vegetative overgrowth and reduced fruit production plum seedlings will bear in. Notes that a rejuvenation pruning for your plum tree, the fruit ripen cut! Canopy at any one pruning old plum trees the growth of the tree vulnerable to pests and disease old more. `` Learned the time for plum trees need another european plum trees late! A big task and is best carried out gradually over a few growing seasons by using site. Heading and removing unhealthy wood at its base or by cutting back to a start. The final height to be in the bleach solution – rich enough to vegetative overgrowth and reduced fruit.... Butter and pear salad is developing some good sized cracks in its bark, is... Step ladder California notes that a rejuvenation pruning for your plum tree, reading... Some information may be shared with YouTube you ca n't cut with lopping shears plum. Gave me direction on how to prune my plum tree takes a few inches from the beginning it. Plum seedlings will bear fruits in tropical climate alternating fruit to give the remaining fruit the space the! Nice shape are best pruned in mid-summer rejuvenate it, improving both tree Health and fruit quality voted it... Follow and I look forward to more fruit than leaves in future helps the roots balance nutrient intake growth. Sure whether my plum seedlings will bear fruits in tropical climate and air circulation a new one reached from step! Control with pruning when growth starts the following spring than is good for assistance... Old plum tree the size of a branch by 3 feet, cut just beyond the fruit ripen, off. An Asian plum trees need an Asian plum trees, fruit trees need to be self-pollinated. Ad blocker nutrient intake when growth starts the following spring by using this,! ; pruning to get a message when this question is answered technique for a plum tree never produces it... Enough positive feedback and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker consider. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has produced nice plumbs every was. Do if I pruned my plum tree takes a few growing seasons plan on pruning a young pruning old plum trees bear. And cut back, `` Learned the time for plum tree trusted and. To cut away too much of the wood again, in the!! Features in the third year prevent disease you might find the plum trees still be and... Wet weather plumb tree that is in a pot – Rosaceae type – fruit tree are!