How to Prune Purple Leaf Plum Trees

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The purple leaf plum is a flowering plum tree that produces small fruits not suitable for human consumption. This tree can be grown in hardiness zones 4 to 9 in a full sun environment. The purple leaf plum can reach a height of 25 feet and displays pink and white blossoms in the early spring. Prune your purple leaf plum annually to encourage the growth of new flowering wood. The best time to prune is after your purple leaf plum has finished blooming for the season, in late spring to early summer.

Things You'll Need

  • Lopping shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Disinfectant
  • Garden gloves (optional)

Examine your purple leaf plum tree for dead, diseased or damaged branches. These will need to be removed for the health of the tree. While diseased or damaged branches should have visual damage, dead wood will feel lighter than healthy wood but may look normal.

Cut off dead, diseased and damaged wood using your lopping shears. Cut wood off at its intersection with the main branch or trunk. Disinfect your pruning equipment afterward to avoid contaminating healthy parts of the tree.

Remove downward-growing branches. Trim away low-growing branches that impede movement around the tree.

Cut off branches that rub against other branches. Thin out the canopy to improve air circulation, helping to cut down on disease. Remove old wood that has not flowered; leave young, flowering branches. Aim to thin out or cut back one-third of the tree's limbs.

Pinch off the growing tips of new buds to encourage lateral branching and continued growth of your purple leaf plum.

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