In order for the plum tree to give high yields year after year, it needs a caring summer pruning. But when exactly is the right time for this and what should you consider when pruning your plum tree? We answer the most important questions about nursery and maintenance pruning and provide instructions.
Table of contents
- When to prune plum tree? After the harvest is the right time
- In August, you can thin out young woody plants and bring the crown into the appropriate shape
- Prune a young plum tree after harvest: Instructions
- When to prune an old plum tree? Useful tips for a rich harvest the following year
- Is it possible to rejuvenate the plum tree by radical pruning?
- What to consider when you want to eliminate water shoots
When to prune plum tree? After the harvest is the right time
The plum tree forms a compact but dense crown. This makes it susceptible to diseases: Fungi spread quickly if the leaves get wet after a rain and then cannot dry quickly.
In August, you can thin out young woody plants and bring the crown into the appropriate shape
Late summer, that is, August is the right time to thin out young trees a bit. The goal is to shape the crown so that next year the fruit will get enough sunlight and you will have access to all branches. The tree should develop a balanced, spherical crown after pruning.
Before pruning, you should thoroughly clean and disinfect the accessories to prevent the spread of fungi.
Pruning should ideally be done on a cloudy day. But it should also not rain, either while you are pruning the tree, or in the next 2-3 days. So always take into account the weather conditions.
Prune a young plum tree after harvesting: Instructions
- branches growing inward
- water shoots
- ailing or dead shoots
- shoots growing from the tree trunk
- shoots growing too densely in the inner part of the crown
- one third of side shoots, if the crown is too dense.
- Shorten too long leading branches as needed. When doing so, leave at least one outward-facing bud.
When to prune an old plum tree? Useful tips for a bountiful harvest the following year.
Unlike young trees, older woody plants do not need educational pruning after harvest. It is enough if you remove ailing and competing branches. Any side shoots that are growing inward or not getting enough sunlight should be pruned down to a flat-lying branch with flower buds pointing outward.
Can you rejuvenate the plum tree by radical pruning?
Unlike other woody plants, the plum tree can poorly tolerate radical pruning. So, in any case, it is better to prune the tree twice a year. This regular care is especially important for fruiting. If you have a tree that has not been pruned for several years, then you should gradually rejuvenate it, and in any case not radically cut back. Thin it out a bit more in the summer and cut back side shoots by half. You should also shorten leading branches that have grown too much upwards down to one flower bud.
In the spring, you can then reshape the tree to the desired shape. Next year, also make a nurturing pruning in the summer. Then the woody plant should slowly recover and bear more fruit.
What to consider when you want to get rid of water shoots
The plum tree forms many water shoots. These are thin branches that grow vertically upwards from a thickened bud. The water shoots are located next to the leading branches, right next to the trunk of the tree. They have soft bark and are much lighter in color than normal branches. If you notice many such shoots, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- Did you radically prune the tree back in the spring?
- Have you always pruned the tree in recent years so that it does not exceed a certain height?
- Have you over-fertilized the tree?
- Does it bear little fruit than usual?
The tree forms water shoots when it is under stress. Stress factors include: Radical pruning, over-fertilization or regular pruning so that the tree does not exceed a certain height. So, if you want to eliminate the formation of water shoots in the long run, then you should think and find the exact reason. Send a soil sample to the laboratory and have the soil condition tested . Thin out the crown, but do not shorten the tree. You can encourage fruiting by maintenance pruning (see above).
Water shoots grow vertically, obscure the other fruit-bearing branches, and are entry points for bacteria and fungi. So you should remove these shoots, but not all at once. This is because the tree will respond to such pruning by sprouting again.
For the cut you need a clean and, above all, sharp branch saw. The smoother the cut, the better. Fortunately, the tree can recover quickly and well from such a caring cut.