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How to prune a plum tree

Overview

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.

How to do it

Cutting back main shoots to just above a bud

1Use secateurs to cut back this season's growth of the main shoots or 'leaders' to half their length. Prune to just above a leaf.


Pinching out green shoot of plum between thumb nail and forefinger

2Prune or pinch side shoots back to two or three buds from the base of the current season's soft growth.


Adam's tip

Leafy summer prunings can be added straight to the compost heap where they'll rot down quickly.



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Talkback: How to prune a plum tree
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buzzman 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Everything I read says to prune June to July but that is when the tree is really heavy with fruit so I would be cutting off a lot of the plums. Can't I wait until after fruiting which would probably be end of August?

FlamingJune 24/11/2011 at 15:28

We've pruned our plum tree as late as September, with no damage so far, although we used Seal and Heal on the larger branches. You can cut off the thin leggy branches in summer, they don't usually have any fruit. I've also read that you should prune off any lower branches too.

sandra f 24/11/2011 at 15:28

I planted a young victoria plum tree in april and would like some advice about care and pruning. It is only about five feet in height and is losing its leaves although there are buds forming on the top branches. I would welcome input thanks

mdpowell 24/11/2011 at 15:29

my miniture plum tree has grown quite tall some fruit on the middle of tree but really needs pruning not sure where to start no plums on the long new branches

andrea61 24/11/2011 at 15:29

I planted a Plum tree last year but no plums. However, we have lots of plums this year but do we prune some of the new growth while the plums are still green or do we wait? Im a first time plum lady so any advice is appreciated. :)

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