How to prune a plum tree in the fall

How to prune a plum tree in the fall

Most gardeners are sure: autumn is a great time to prune plum trees. In autumn, the plant prepares for a period of dormancy, so it is least vulnerable to the removal of excess branches. Proper pruning helps improve tree health, form a beautiful crown and increase yield next season. But how to prune a plum tree in the fallnot everyone knows.

Pruning plum trees in the fall requires following certain instructions. From the right tools to the treatment of wounds, everything must go perfectly. Otherwise, you risk losing not only next year’s harvest, but also the plant itself. Follow all the recommendations and you will get excellent results!

How to properly prune a plum tree in the fall: common mistakes

Perhaps it’s worth starting with what an inexperienced gardener can easily make a mistake. We have prepared the most common mistakes in pruning plums in the fall:

  • Pruning in late autumn. You should get rid of excess branches at least a month before the onset of cold weather. This is how long it will take for the plant to heal its wounds. This is usually done from mid-September to mid-October. If you prune the plum later, you risk destroying the plant.
  • Traumatic pruning. When pruning a plum, do not allow bevels. This way you will injure the tree less. And if you need to get rid of a thick branch, make a cut from the bottom first.
  • Raw sections. The saw cuts must be processed to avoid infection and further death of the crop.
  • Removing a large number of branches at once. Experienced gardeners recommend stretching out the procedure for pruning a fruit tree over several seasons, since this process is traumatic for the plant.
  • Unsystematic pruning. You cannot saw off all the shoots in a row. Be sure to make a plan first and stick to it as you go.

Step-by-step instructions for pruning plum trees

Step 1: Prepare your tools

You will need pruning shears with sharp blades and a saw for cutting larger branches. Also, before starting work, make sure you have a tool cleaning product.

Step 2: Choose the right time

It is best to prune plum trees after the leaves have fallen and before the onset of frost. At this time, the plant is at rest, and its wounds heal better.

Step 3: Remove Dead and Diseased Branches

Start by removing any dead, diseased or damaged branches. Not only are they not beneficial, but they are also a potential source of disease. An already pruned tree should grow so that the skeletal branches are in tiers. There should be 2 or 3 strong branches left in each of the tiers. Leave a distance of 35 to 40 cm between tiers. Leave a distance of 10 to 15 cm between branches.

Step 4. Clear the crown of thick branches

Remove some of the branches that grow inside the crown and create thickening. This will allow light and air to penetrate better into the tree, which promotes healthy growth.

Step 4. Form the crown

Select the crown shape that best suits the size of the plum and your needs. Trim branches to achieve the desired shape: column, ball, bowl, etc.

Step 6: Finish with sanitary pruning

Check the tree for any other problems. For example, weeds, long shoots. Remove anything that could harm the plant.

Step 7: Treat Wounds

After pruning, treat any large wounds with garden varnish or a special garden varnish to prevent infection. All this can be purchased at a specialty store or online.

Proper pruning of plum trees in the fall promotes healthy growth, yield, and improves the appearance of the tree. The process can be stressful for the plant, so try to be careful not to remove too many branches at once. Plan your pruning ahead of time and monitor the health of your plum tree throughout the season.

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