Plum trees are a beautiful addition to any garden or yard, yet pruning them can be difficult. Plum trees need to be pruned for a variety of reasons, but especially because plum trees are at a high risk of developing silver leaf disease, which is a fungal disease that afflicts many plum trees. Additionally, properly pruning plum trees can help keep their shape clean and attractive.

Time of Year

The key to properly pruning plum trees is to prune them at the correct time of year. Plum trees should only be trimmed in June. This is when the tree is the strongest and the most capable of withstanding a thorough trimming. Plum trees should never be pruned in the winter.

Protect Against Diseases

It’s important to protect your plum tree against acquiring or spreading any diseases. Make sure not to crush or smash any branches during the trimming process, because it could increase the tree’s likelihood of contracting a virus. Try to make the cuts as straight and crisp as possible. It’s important that the pruning shears are extremely sharp. This will prevent crushing the branches or injuring the tree.

Additionally, it is important to take care of a plum tree that has had larger branches cut off of it. A protective sealer can be purchased at most gardening or home improvement stores. The sealer should be applied to any area of the tree that has had a large branch removed. This will help protect it from contracting a disease or slowly dying.

When finished with the trimming, make sure to properly burn any branches that may be infected with a disease. This well help prevent the disease from returning to the tree or spreading to another tree. It is a good idea to burn the branches a reasonable distance from your other trees.

Proper Pruning Shapes

It’s important to prune your plum tree with the desired shape in mind. This will help it grow in a way that is pleasing to you and compliments your garden or yard. It is best to shape a plum tree during it’s first year of growth. To create a bushy plum tree, you should begin pruning about two feet above the soil. To create a tall plum tree, begin pruning about four feet above the soil.

Leave A Bud

It’s important to leave at least one bud on each branch. This means you should make your cut right before a bud, but make sure that there are other buds on the branch. It is best to leave several buds on each branch of the plum tree whenever possible. After the first season of the plum tree, you should trim each branch to about ten inches long, but be sure to always cut right before a bud.

Remove Sick or Dead Branches

It’s important to remove all branches, leaves, and buds that appear damaged, sick, or dead. This will help promote good health in your plum tree. Do not hesitate to remove sick looking parts of the plum tree, even if it may decrease the attractiveness of the tree or interfere with your pruning plans.

References: eHow: Prune Plum TreeGarden Action: Prune Plum Tree

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