Pruning trees is very important. Plum trees should be pruned once a year so that they can retain a healthy shape and produce fruits in abundance. Prune plum trees while they are dormant. Dormant pruning is pruning the trees during late winters.
In fact, things are much easier if you prune plum trees during the late winter when there is no new growth and trees do not have any leaves. Pruning plum trees during winters ensures a vibrant growth in the coming spring. The biggest advantage of pruning plum trees in winter is that the tree is less likely to get damaged than in summer pruning.
Here are three major steps involved in pruning plum trees in winter:
STEP 1 – Keep the three D’s of pruning in mind – dead, damaged and diseased. Start pruning them away. Sprouts which appear from the base of the trunk are called ‘suckers” which must be removed. Suckers actually originate from the rootstock. Then remove all the straight sprouts growing from the main branches.
STEP 2 – Once you are done with clean up, your next step is thinning which allows light and air into the canopy. It reduces problems such as pests and diseases and boosts fruit production. If you ever find two or more branches competing with each other, thin out all except one branch which has the healthiest appearance and best crotch angle. Keep thinning the trees until there is 6 to 12 inches of air space around every branch.
STEP 3 – The third or the last step is called “Head Back” which is like giving your tree a haircut. It is very easy. Heading back the tree implies cutting off previous year’s growth between 20 to 30 percent. You can find out the last year’s growth from two year old growth through the wrinkly ring of the bark which encircles each stem.
Follow these steps to prune plum trees in winter and ensure a vibrant growth during spring!