Just as the buds are starting to break in the springtime, cut back the central stem of the tree to a bud at about two thirds of the height of the maiden tree. Eating food that has been produced from your own home can be a very satisfying experience. While winter pruning is recommended for many fruit trees, you will find that plum trees are best pruned in late summer/early fall. This will force the tree to grow branches at the top of the trunk. The next set of branches should be about 60-90cm/2-3ft above these, so anything that grows between should be snipped off before they grow too thick. But this easy guide will show you how to prune fruit trees in winter in your backyard orchard the easy way. Prune at the right time. The purpose of pruning and training is to encourage tree health and increase fruit yield. The first rule for pruning plums is this: Never prune plums in the winter! The starting height of branches can differ depending on your needs. Pruning a plum tree serves two purposes. Please read: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease. In the second year, choose 3-4 of these branches to continue to grow. The result is typically water sprouts, ugly, straight-up branches that a tree can grow quickly and hang a lot of leaves on and not grow fruit – not ideal. Not sure how many veggies to grow? Pruning the plum tree takes a few growing seasons. Promote high fruit quality by reducing or promoting leaf cover over fruit, depending on climate. Peach & Nectarine Trees: These trees flower on new wood made the previous summer, so prune hard to encourage new growth. Plum trees, like other fruiting trees, benefit from a regular maintenance program of pruning, fertilizing and preventive spraying to foster the healthiest most bountiful crops. Pruning Fruit Trees Advice and Help in New Zealand. ***************************************** These will become your scaffold branches. Plum Trees for sale in New Zealand New Zealander's love to grow plum trees, not only do they look good in the garden they are easy to grow as long as you have a sunny well drained position. Space semi-dwarf trees 12 to 15 feet apart. For further reading, I really recommend all of these books. Shape the tree with detail pruning during the dormant season (winter). Heavy pruning stimulates lots of new growth but less fruit production. European varieties (that’s Prunus domestica – including damsons, greengages and prune varieties) form fruit mainly on semi-permanent spurs, with a small amount on the previous season’s growth. Plums bear much of their fruit on lateral spurs that are two years old or older. This is because of the risk of a disease known as Silver Leaf which attacks the tree and can cause huge damage. Mid to late varieties do best in southland areas. The principle is to avoid damaging the collar of the branch and to make a clean cut which doesn't tear the bark. As simple as that. Piwakawaka Valley is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. And really, there’s no easier pruning. In spring, choose four or five branches that have formed wide angles with the stem. Fruit trees can be a great addition to any garden. Make sure you only prune in summer months to prevent fungal disease getting into your tree. Remove the remainder, including the lower laterals left the previous year to thicken the stem. Increase airflow and sunlight penetration into a tree for healthier trees less likely to be plagued by disease. Expect fruit once tree is 4-6 years old. Semi-dwarf plums will produce 75 to 100 pounds of fruit each year. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Plums and plumcots are generally pruned into a vase shape, but the variety of plum will influence where the fruit is mainly produced. In addition, keeping fruit trees well pruned protects against both disease and pest infestations. Pruning apple, pear, plum, peach, apricot or nectarines is actually easy once you understand a few basics. Branches that are pointing in to the middle, Over-crowded branches – choose one strong one and remove the rest, Trim back overly long growth by 1/3 to an outward, downward facing bud. And don’t worry, we hate spam too! For these the encouragement of many tips for more fruit-producing branches is the goal. You can unsubscribe at anytime. Trees such as maple and birch produce a heavy sap flower when pruned in Winter, although this may be unsightly it does not harm the tree. Apple and pear branches are most productive if trained to grow horizontally by tying or weighing the branches down while the branches are young and pliable if you can. This low centre of gravity means that with annual pruning you can keep your fully grown tree to 3m – 4m. Smaller branches can be cut with SHARP secateurs or loppers, you want a clean cut, not a crush injury. If pruning old plum trees this way doesn't kill them, it will assuredly produce unattractive and unproductive new growth. Otherwise, … Peaches and nectarines produce flowers on previous season’s growth, so don’t prune all the tips of the tree in winter as this is where the flowers and fruit will be borne in the coming season. Try not to remove your trees fruiting spurs on the main framework that you are planning on keeping, but don’t feel guilty for removing them on a poorly placed branch that you need to remove anyway. Remove any small secondary branches coming off a branch that are within a hands-span of the main trunk. No pressure. The shape you want to achieve is an Open Centre, also known as the Vase Shape, as this method lets plenty of light and air into the centre of the tree. Cut out dead, damaged and diseased wood. Save to My scrapbook It is best to always paint the cuts with a wound paint to protect the tree - and remember to sharpen your secateurs. Remove diseased wood and branches that invite wounds by rubbing against surfaces or each other. These spurs will be productive for two or three years so don’t remove them until they no longer produce fruit. These spurs produce fruit in the same area, year after year, so should not be pruned off. Instead, you will have to choose between three alternative pruning options. About Piwakawaka Valley Homestead Affiliate Disclosure We have put together a fantastic resource on growing your own food year round – The Homesteaders Guide to  Seasonal Eating shows you STEP BY STEP how to start and grow a garden at your place. Advertisement. From Spring through late Summer, a deciduous tree is actively growing both leaves and branches  and its underground root structure to match. Pruning fruit trees is one of the more intimidating parts of growing your own food for many. Pruning while the tree is dormant encourages vibrant growth come spring, and it's less likely to cause damage to the tree than summer pruning. Remove any small branches pointing in to the middle of the tree, imagine these as big branches, you don’t want these growing in to the crown that we are trying to keep open. Nectarines, peaches, almonds and plums - w e recommend to prune stone fruit trees in late summer after fruiting has finished, however it can be done in early-mid autumn if necessary. How to prune a plum tree – cutting back the leaders. Dormant pruning is pruning the tree during the late winter, when no new growth is happening and the tree doesn't have any leaves. Sometimes this means root dieback, sometimes this means canopy expansion. Pruning your plum tree step-by-step. This post contains affiliate links, this means at no extra cost to you, we make a commission from sales. The definition of a Spur is: a small lateral branch on a fruit tree which bears flower buds. 266 pages of self sufficiency right there! If you would like help getting the most out of your garden, I would love to help you, The Homesteaders Guide to  Seasonal Eating, Privacy Policy, Disclosure, Disclaimer & Copyrights. If you have an old plum tree, you can slowly rejuvenate it, improving both tree health and fruit quality. It is necessary to prune for renewal of some spurs each season, although most of the new growth is removed. Remove the ends of branches in winter to encourage forking of the branch for more tip-bearing shoots. From lemons and grapefruit, through to apple and feijoa, there is certainly no shortage of options to fill the fruit bowl.However, not every homeowner knows how to make sure their tree produces the best fruit – which is paramount if you’re an average Kiwi kid trying to sell homemade lemonade outside your house. Hello and welcome, I’m Dana. Depending on the variety, 20 - 40% of the fruitwood around the tree is renewed annually by leaving young shoots and removing old wood. In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. If you have the room you can grow several varieties that will provide delicious juicy fruit from December through to … I think one of the things that can make fruit tree pruning intimidating is the advice on how to prune, which always seems to come with a huge list of Dos and Don’ts that can leave the impression that pruning is the horticultural equivalent of defusing a bomb. I have put together a video of me teaching my sister and brother in law about fruit tree pruning that you will probably find quite useful. To cut a branch, cut as close to the main trunk as you can, and start by cutting upwards through the bark first, then move the saw to cut down towards the upward cut you made. Pruning in the summer, on the other hand, shapes the tree and keeps it healthy by removing dead, diseased and crossed branches. Sometimes (usually!) The little pointy spurs are fruit buds. Grab our PDF. 16/11/2016 by Rossy. Then by aggressively pruning a tree back during winter, in spring the tree “wakes up” and notices that it has a root system far larger than its pruned-down canopy needs so it sends out LOTS of growth. “Fuji”, “Granny Smith” and “Royal Gala” apples need to be pruned differently. Almost all methods of training fruit trees require dormant pruning. If you let a tree grow all summer without any pruning, the tree captures all that solar energy and converts this into a strong, expanded root structure. Each one of these will bear one or more fruits so you'll have far too many. A fruit tree that towers over your head is a waste (unless your passion is keeping the birds fed.) In hot summer areas, sunscald of fruit is minimized by allowing greater leaf-cover over fruit. Winter pruning is all about making the tree the right shape. Each year, prune the plum trees … Prune plum trees are mostly available from June to August, as the field-grown trees are lifted from nurseries during the deciduous dormancy period to … If you never pruned your Plum tree it would still crop well but it would just grow large and sprawling. Plum Trees: Plum trees produce fruit on the same spurs for several years. When you do it in the dormant season, it revitalizes and tree and focuses its energy. To avoid the bleeding, you can wait until the leaves have expanded in Summer and prune then. Step 2 Prune or pinch side shoots back to two or three buds from the base of the current season’s soft growth. Cut back each leader of those se1ected by a half to an outward facing bud. PRUNING TECHNIQUES FOR PLUM TREES This section explains how to prune a branch, the same rules apply to plum trees and other fruit trees. Spacing Plum Trees. You can choose to grow apples and pears as a vase/open crown/goblet shape if you prefer, but it is not the shape they naturally grow in, and you may find that they continually try to grow new leaders (straight upward branches). Pruning fruit trees are a must for anyone who loves to grow fruit in their backyard. Ultimately you choose how tall your tree eventually grows, once it is tall enough, you need to keep it topped. As your tree grows and develops, if something is too long, or too tall, or sticking out too far, you just cut it off. Once you have selected the branches you want to keep, chop the trunk immediately above the … Pinch out the growing tips of all the other branches at about four or five leaves, including those lower down on the stem. Plums: pruning Plum trees do not require as precise pruning as apples and pears, but still benefit from initial training and the thinning of old wood to ensure they produce as much fruit as possible. it is better to not argue with nature. This ensures a balanced crop that does not need thinning. Keep the tree small with vigor-reducing pruning in summer as required. Prune if you need to for either a desired shape, to remove any diseased stems, or to improve air circulation. A fruit tree that leaves you wounded or bald each time you engage with it is a tragedy. A compact stonefruit like this begins with the prune you do at planting. Stone fruit – peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots are usually pruned in to an open crown, vase or goblet shaped tree. Winter pruning has some real advantages. First and Second Year Pruning. Make big cuts first. Mariana (uncertain origin, possibly Prunus cerasifera x P. munsoniana) rootstock is often used in New Zealand for home garden trees as it helps reduce final tree size, (depending on culltivar) to 3 to 4 metres. Pruning is a way to increase your stonefruit crops. Once shape has been established, they require little pruning. Read more about 'Pruning a Central Leader Fruit Tree'... Fruit Tree Pruning - Videos In the summer remove any suckers that appear from the ground and remove shoots on the main stem below the head. Plums are pruned in early spring or mid-summer to avoid infection by silver leaf disease. This stops the bark from tearing and damaging the tree. Either thin the fruit, or you can thin the little spurs themselves before they set fruit. Increase fruit size and quality by thinning baby fruits so that fewer, larger, uncrowded fruit mature. When a tree has lost its leaves you can see the structure of the tree, you can make cuts to correct the shape more easily. This is especially true with pear trees. Without an open habit, dense branches will be shaded and will not crop prolifically. If you need to remove a branch that is too large for your loppers you will need to use a saw. Wait until new growth is 3 inches long. Find out more about us here. A few Japanese varieties are large trees on this stock, but virtually all European plums … Pruning apple, pear, plum, peach, apricot or nectarines is actually easy once you understand a few basics. If you would like help getting the most out of your garden, I would love to help you, find out more here, If you like tips on frugal living, self sufficiency and consuming less, sign up to our newsletter below, I would LOVE to have you. When the tree is pruned in the summer months, the growth is strong and the sap is flowing and this prevents the disease from entering the pruning wound. But this easy guide will show you how to prune fruit trees in winter in your backyard orchard the easy way. Avoid pruning in late Summer. our Disclosure Statement. If you do prune in autumn protect cut wounds with a water based paint or pruning paint to … If your trees are straight from the nursery, your first pruning will be a key element in deciding the future shape of your whole tree. Justin Calverley from Sensory Gardens shows his technique for winter pruning of plum trees. Developing a strong foundation is essential to the life of any fruit tree. Vase has only one layer of branches extending from the stem. Standard trees produce 100 to 150 pounds of fruit each year. In cool-summer areas, fruit ripening is encouraged by thinning leaf-cover over fruit clusters. It is necessary to prune for renewal of some spurs each season, although most of the new growth is removed. When you get your stone fruit from the nursery, you will need to do some drastic pruning. When you prune you get the very best out of your tree. Young trees will often be grown in the nursery to have a tier of four or five branches evenly spaced around the trunk at around 1m/3ft high, try and keep this as the start of the main structure of the tree. Apple, pear, plum, peach, apricot or nectarines is actually easy once understand! 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