Newly Registered
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:15 pm
Location: Idaho

Pruning a Fruit Tree

The house we just bought has a lot of trees that have not been properly taken care of. One of them - I believe to be a plum tree - is awful looking. I know I need to do something with it, but I have no idea where to begin. I need help!!!!
This link should take you to a picture of it...

Green Thumb
Posts: 588
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 5:19 pm
Location: Pacific NW

Start by taking off the water shoots, the ones that go straight up from the other branches. That can be done this summer- called summer pruning. If the trees are very old you will have to prune slowly over a couple or years. General guidelines, if the branches cross, take out the weaker one, but be sure to cut all the way back to the shoulder (where it comes off the trunk or branch). If the cut if very large you may have to paint it over with a sealant to keep bugs out. If the branches rub or are very close together the same applies. It is wise to also take the shape of the tree into account. Plum trees especially seem to resent being prune back too severely. Apples for example are a little more forgiving. It is generally not advised to top a tree to bring it down. It weakens the tree. If you must shorten a limb alway cut just above and outside bud. Also you can start cleaning out the branches that are growing into the tree trunk rather than away from it. Except, for the water shoots it is best to prune in late winter/early spring before the buds swell.

Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:49 pm

The best time to prune a plum tree is in June. When pruning, be sure to make clean cuts so the wood won't split or fray. If a cut is bigger than two inches, it may need a protective sealant or trimmed with a slant down toward the tree. Water damage is prevented this way.

If anything is sick, dead, or dying get rid of it. Remove any damaged pieces from the tree.

You want to leave a bud following each cut. When the original first branch is eight feet high, snip it so that it hangs three feet over the rest of the tree. Cut anything that didn't produce fruit, so that it will next year.

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