How to Prune Purple Plum Trees


The purple plum tree is also known as the purple-leaved plum and cherry plum. This flowering, deciduous tree is medium sized with a rounded crown. A mature purple plum tree can reach a height and spread of 15 to 30 feet. It has deep purple leaves and its dark pink flowers appear in early spring. The purple plum is hardy in zones 4 through 9. Prune your purple plum tree to remove any broken branches or limbs, control its size within your landscape, maintain safety (walkways, structures, roofs) and thin out any deadwood within the crown of the tree.

Step 1

Prune away any dead or damaged branches as soon as possible. Cut at the breaking point, or remove the entire branch. Make a clean cut so the tree will heal properly, as torn or ripped branches invite disease.

Step 2

Prune your tree in the spring immediately after it has blossomed to maintain its size. Locate the branch collar on the underside of the branch where it connects to the trunk, and the branch bark ridge on the topside of the branch where it connects to the trunk. Make a clean cut in front of the branch bark ridge and the branch collar. Do not leave a stub, and do not cut into the branch collar or the branch bark ridge.

Step 3

Cut out any dead twigs, branches and limbs in the crown of the tree. Prune any cross-over branches.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't try to tackle the removal of any large limbs or limbs that are out of your comfort zone. Call a professional pruning service.

Things You'll Need

  • Hand pruning shears
  • Lopping shears
  • Pole pruner
  • Tree saw


  • United States Department of Agriculture
  • Forest Service -- Department of Agriculture
  • Tree Help
Keywords: purple plum pruning, broken diseased damaged branches, remove cut thinning

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.