How to Trim a Plum Tree


Plum trees are an ideal addition to any garden or landscape, for their easy maintenance, delicious fruit harvest and provided shade. It is necessary to prune and trim them each early summer so the plum tree can grow healthy and strong and produce a lot of fruit. Plum trees bloom earlier than most fruit trees and should be planted in areas that rarely freeze.

Step 1

Locate any dead, broken or diseased branches on the plum tree first (diseased branches can be identified by rotting or fungus spots on the bark). If you find any diseased branches, first rub a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol over the blades, then use the pruning shears to cut off the branch.

Step 2

Sanitize the shears with the rubbing alcohol after trimming the diseased branches. Take care of all the diseased branches before any broken or dead ones.

Step 3

Trim off any branches that are criss-crossing each other, overcrowding or growing straight up or downwards. Make clean cuts slanted toward the tree.

Step 4

Apply sealer to all of the cuts if the branches are larger than 3 inches thick. This helps prevent bacteria or insects damaging the wounds even more.

Step 5

Prune about one foot off all the new shoots with the pruning scissors during the third year of growth. Prune about 1/3 of the main shoots every year after this, thinning out the center of the plum tree to promote air circulation and to make sure sunlight gets to all parts of the tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Pruning scissors
  • Sealer
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Old cloth


  • Trimming Plum Trees
  • Fruit Tree Pruning
Keywords: caring for plum trees, pruning fruit trees, plum tree care

About this Author

Lauren Wise is a journalism major from Arizona State University with over forty published magazine and media articles and over 400 Web site articles. Wise owns Midnight Publishing with over eight years experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food and wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in magazines including Runway, A2Z, Scottsdale Luxury Living and True West.