How to Prune a Plum Tree

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A plum tree is pruned in a vase-type format, creating a relatively short trunk, encouraging a few strong branches at 45-degree angles and allowing plenty of room for the sun to reach the interior of the tree. Prune a plum tree in late winter, making sure not to leave a stump when trimming back branches, with gardening information from a Florida plant enthusiast in this free video on fruit trees.

Part of the Video Series: Growing Plum Trees
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Hi. I'm Charles Boning and I want to talk briefly about pruning plum trees. I'm here today at Jene's Tropicals and here we have a plum tree that's about a year old, a little over a year old. Plum trees generally are pruned in a vase type format. That means what you want to do is encourage the growth of a fairly short trunk and then encourage three or four major branches to splay off the top of that trunk at about a forty-five degree angle. Now this is generally accomplished in the winter. In fact the very best time to prune plums is in the very late winter right before bud break. Because at that time, the wounds that you create have less time in which they have to heal before the tree starts to resume growth. Now a vase type arrangement is ideal for plums because it allows a great deal of sunlight to get to the interior of the tree and to get to the fruiting wood. And remember whenever you're pruning, whether it's a plum or any other deciduous tree, never ever leave a stump on the tree. You want to prune it right back to the next major, either to the trunk or to major branches. A stump is a way that insects, disease and fungus can find their way into the tree. In addition to basic winter pruning, which I've just spoken of, you can also do some light summer pruning. For instance if you get over vigorous shoots, water sprouts or crossing or damaged branches, by all means take those out. However the major pruning, the major shaping of the tree should take place in late winter. So that's how to prune a plum. I'm Charles Boning.

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