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when to prune plum tree

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Jan 03, 2014, 03:29 PM
corinne lashley
when to prune plum tree
I live in mild climate California. I have two plum trees in my front lawn. There are merely decorative, but (unfortunately) they do bear fruit.

They are both old, one was planted over 6 years ago, the other was there when we bought the house.

Last year one got aphids (I think it was last May) so I hired a tree company to spray both and in addition they pruned them, something I had never done or thought about.

I would like to prune them myself this year. They are not that big. Is it okay to prune them every year? And when should I prune them.

Keep in mind I am NOT pruning them to get more or bigger prunes. just to thin them out, remove low hanging branches, etc.
Jan 03, 2014, 06:07 PM
GardenSprite
Seems like your question is timely. For California, you're apparently approaching pruning time.

These might help:

http://homeorchard.ucdavis.edu.../Pruning_&_Training/

http://homeorchard.ucdavis.edu...Nuts/Plum_and_Prune/

You might also watch for diseases and pests besides aphids. I had a nice fruit bearing plum tree that I lost to a fungal disease, but that same disease may not be an issue in California.

These also may help in keeping your plums attractive and disease free:

http://homeorchard.ucdavis.edu...Nuts/Plum_and_Prune/

http://homeorchard.ucdavis.edu...re/Pests_&_Diseases/

Hope this helps.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
Jan 04, 2014, 06:04 AM
CommonwealthSparky
Not an arborist, but just how many times will you ever get to type that noun? So I had to post a reply.
On ASTOH Roger does trimming when the trees are dormant and bare of leaves, because you get a full picture of the outline you are working with. And what you will end up with.


Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
Jan 04, 2014, 05:58 PM
corinne lashley
Thanks to both of you....I did try looking up the info...googling it...but the sites seemed to focus on pruning in relation to getting more fruit.
Jan 04, 2014, 08:41 PM
GardenSprite
I imagine that typically pruning is done to enhance the harvest rather than the appearance, so unless you could find information on pruning ornamentals, the kind of references posted might be what you'll typically find. There are some ornamental trees which produce nonedible fruit, but offhand I can't remember which ones they are. I'll check my garden catalogues and see if I can find some (that'll give me an excuse to daydream about gardening anyway!)

However, if you're not interested in fruit, I think you could prune them however you want, just being careful not to take off too many branches but rather to keep the tree in an attractive shape.

If there are any dead shoots or branches, those would obviously be the first to go. I'm not that familiar with fruit tree cycles in California, so I don't know if the trees would be bare now. If so, you could study the tree from different angles before you prune.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.
Jan 05, 2014, 07:50 AM
CommonwealthSparky
We have a couple of crabapple trees that fit that description. The birds harvest those apples{?} and have hit up the trees with the recent snowfalls.


Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
Jan 05, 2014, 11:36 AM
GardenSprite
Crabapples - that's what I was trying to think of but just keep thinking of choke cherries.
Jan 05, 2014, 02:18 PM
nona
in central florida, which has about the same climate as in California, we prune any time we want, except for trees and bushes that flower on old growth. If you're not pruning for either fruit or flowers, then I believe pruning whenever it's convenient for you will work. As G.Sprite advises prune the dead wood and thos branches that detract from the trees appearance
Jan 06, 2014, 12:25 PM
GardenSprite
Corinne, I found general pruning info info that might be of help.

These articles on

Maintenance Pruning

Pruning a Mt. Fuji cherry tree

and

Where to Cut

might be of help in providing general information that you can adapt to your tree.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
Jan 06, 2014, 02:47 PM
CommonwealthSparky
quote:
Originally posted by GardenSprite:
Crabapples - that's what I was trying to think of but just keep thinking of choke cherries.


Actually they were gifts presented to us a ways back. Being treehuggers they were well received. But not sure if I would ever plant another. Mainly because just to many other types of natives well want to try as well.


Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...