Plum tree

How to prune a plum tree

How to prune a plum tree is a question I’ve been asking myself for the last few weeks or so. Toward the end of the plot I have a very young, but absolutely delicious golden plum tree. I’m not too sure on the exact variety, as the tree that I have came from an offshoot from a much bigger and more established tree on another plot.

Technically, the tree I have is no more than two years old now, and I’m looking to try and cultivate the tree in order to encourage it to grow fruit. I also want to try and shape the tree a bit better if I can, before I pruned the tree, the branches fanned out, whereas I would like this tree to grow taller and establish more strength and size in the trunk of the tree.

Toward the base of the tree I have planted some Elsenta Strawberries, and I have to say the two fruits seem to grow very well together.

I’d never properly pruned a tree before, so I was a little bit daunted by the task if I’m honest. All the usual questions popped up… Am I cutting in the right place? Have I cut too much off? What if I’ve killed my only plum tree?! Therefore, out came the books and I carried out some research about pruning a plum tree.

What I found when researching how to prune a plum tree was…

  • Avoid pruning plum trees in the winter as this can cause infection – an ideal time is early spring and mid to later summer
  • First cut off any dead wood that may be present on the tree in order to encourage new growth
  • Plums don’t necessarily require precise pruning, but do benefit from thinning out and some training


A while back on Gardener’s World I remember Monty Don explaining that when you’re pruning a tree – be sure to cut at an angle so that rain water doesn’t sit on the open cut and cause damp and mould. Also, be sure to leave a clean cut so that you don’t damage the tree.

I’ve read that one of the biggest or things to think about before you prune a plum tree is the season and weather conditions. It’s not advisable to prune in the winter as you may suffer from silver leaf disease – I’m hoping that I’ve managed to dodge any diseases as I’ve pruned the tree just after the summer.

Do you have any tips when it comes to pruning plum trees? How does it differ from Apple trees? I would love to know your thoughts. 

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