Plum tree cultivation tips focus on the need to pay particular attention to growing stone fruit trees ("stones" are pits, occurring in fruits like plums, apricots and nectarines). Since these trees are susceptible to insect infestations like scale as well as other diseases, cultivating them into healthy, vigorous plants is key to fruit production and a stable plant life.
When cultivating prune trees, a surefire tip for a healthy plant and regular growth is making sure your tree is in an ideal environment. Plum trees thrive in a day of full sunlight, most importantly during the morning hours, to reduce moisture left on the tree from dew. Often times, the moisture from dew leaves plants more susceptible to infection from fungal diseases that thrive in moist environments. Additionally, plum trees need well-drained soil as standing water is detrimental to plant growth. If necessary, create a raised bed of soil for better drainage.
Since plum trees thrive in well-drained soil, keep in mind that your tree needs consistent irrigation for full growth and production of fruit. Any method is appropriate as long as your tree is maintained; water once every three weeks except for during periods of heat when plum trees need a "deep soaking" irrigation, according to the Texas AgriLife Cooperative Extension.
Pruning is essential for proper cultivation of a sturdy tree shape as a young tree becomes established. Also, plum fruits grow on shoots that are a year old, so they must be renewed and regrown on an annual basis. Though a gentle pruning during any season is fine, perform a heavier pruning late in the winter season. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service recommends an "open center" pruning in which the branches within the center of the tree are substantially thinned to provide evenly distributed light for greater, more uniform fruit production.
Fruit left on plum trees can be heavy and cause overcrowding, leading to damage of branches and stunted growth of newly forming fruit. A cultivation tip for successful fruit growth and tree maintenance is excess fruit removal. Four weeks after your tree has bloomed, remove any fully grown plums from the tree by hand to make room for new growth, as suggested by the Texas AgriLife Cooperative Extension.
Plum trees are susceptible to a variety of insect and disease problems such as brown rot and plum curculio. For prevention, always keep any damaged or diseased part of your tree pruned and removed. Keep pruning equipment clean, sanitizing between each cut to prevent possible spread of disease. Research your region and determine a proper spray treatment that you may apply on your own or with the help of a professional; fungicides and pesticides are essential for management of aggressive diseases and pests, according to the Texas AgriLife Cooperative Extension.