Flowering Plum Tree Pruning


Pruning is defined as removing part of a tree or shrub. If proper pruning is carried out when a tree is young, you can avoid problems with the tree as it becomes older. This is the case with flowering plum trees. The tree naturally develops in a shrub-like shape. For the tree to develop into a standard tree form, it must be pruned to remove additional branches. The best time to prune a flowering plum tree is in spring after the plant has finished blooming, but before the leaves sprout on the tree.

Step 1

Remove forking branches to train the tree into one with a dominant leader while it is small.

Step 2

Remove branches that are weak and spindly, spaced too closely together, rub one another or cross the center of the tree's canopy.

Step 3

Prune away broken, dead, diseased or dying branches.

Step 4

Cut out any shoots or new baby trees near the base of the plant. These tiny trees are called suckers and can steal energy from the parent plant.

Step 5

Lop off smaller branches with pruning shears or branch loppers by making a 45-degree cut just outside of the ridge-shaped branch caller where the branch forks away from the tree's trunk.

Step 6

Saw off larger branches by making three separate cuts. The first cut should start at the bottom of the tree and extend 1/4 of the way through the branch. Make this cut 1 inch further up the branch than the final cut that will remove the wood of the branch. Make your second cut 1 inch further down the branch than the first cut. This second cut should start at the top of the branch and extend all of the way through the tree branch to remove the entire limb. Finally, remove the stub that remains by sawing through it for your final cut at a 45-degree angle from a point just outside of the ridge-shaped branch caller where the branch forks away from the tree's trunk.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning saw
  • Branch loppers


  • University of Minnesota Extension: Pruning Trees and Shrubs
  • North Dakota State University Extension: Questions on Plum
  • Clemson State University Extension: Ornamental Cherry, Plum, Apricot and Almond

Who Can Help

  • University of Missouri Extension: Selecting Landscape Plants -- Flowering Trees
Keywords: flowering plum care, pruning trees, removing branches

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."