How to Prune Italian Plum Trees


Italian plums have deep purple skin and yellow flesh; their sweet-tart flavor works well for jams, pies and baked goods. Gardeners should prune plum trees in the early spring once frost danger passes. Pruning shapes the tree and promotes tree health by opening up the canopy to air circulation and light. While Italian plum trees require less pruning than other fruit trees (since the plums aren't heavy), gardeners should nonetheless prune annually.

Step 1

Combine 1 part bleach with 10 parts water in a bucket to make a sanitizing solution, and place your pruning tools in the bucket. Immerse your pruners in the sanitizing solution in between each cut to keep from spreading disease to healthy parts of the tree.

Step 2

Note dead, diseased or damaged growth on your Italian plum tree. Diseased and damaged wood appears blemished, wounded or scarred, while dead wood feels hollow to the touch. Clip off this wood at its base, or cut back to a healthy lateral branch.

Step 3

Remove suckers growing from the tree trunk, since these will not bear fruit.

Step 4

Cut off low growing branches that impede movement under the tree, along with downward-growing limbs and branches that rub up against other branches.

Step 5

Head back long limbs by pruning their tips with anvil pruners. Cut back to just before a lateral branch or swollen tissue node.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Anvil pruners
  • Lopping shears


  • Tulsa Master Gardeners: Pruning Fruit Trees
  • Paghat's Garden: Italian Prune Plum
Keywords: tree care, prune plum tree, Italian plum tree

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.