How To…Prune Plum Trees

How to prune your plum trees

by Garden News |
Published on

There’s still time to trim down your plum trees so you keep them in check size-wise and health-wise - and get a good harvest. It’s good to tend to them at least once a year so that you can get the very best out of them, so they produce good quantities of fruit.

Pruning your plum now will give the tree’s wounds time to heal so that it doesn’t succumb to silver leaf disease during autumn and winter, a debilitating fungal disease whose spores are most active in those months. The disease leaves your tree trunks and branches with dark stains and a silvery sheen, and kills them eventually.

The idea of spring pruning is to create an open canopy of balanced branches, so that light, air and sun can get to the burgeoning fruit. Do this at bud burst, or when the tree is in its very early flowering stages. Remember to always use very sharp secateurs for a clean cut, just above a bud and sloping away from it. See our guide below for how to trim plums into a healthy bush – the overall look you are going for is a wine glass shape.

Four steps to a healthy plum tree

  1. Prune back any old and diseased stems to clear out the canopy.

  2. Trim two thirds of the remaining branches down to around 35cm (14in).

  3. Cleanly and sharply cut back any broken stems.

  4. Trim back any closely crossing stems that get in the way of fruit form.

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