Touted as an ornamental tree rather than a fruit tree, the flowering plum tree is popular for its show of springtime blossoms. After the petals of the blossoms have snowed down onto your lawn, you will be able to enjoy the show of the flowering plum's dark purple leaves followed by its colorful fall foliage. Pruning the flowering plum is a task that will keep the tree healthy and productive. Flowering plums produce a lot of sap in the spring as they grow their leaves. To minimize bleeding, prune the tree after the leaves have matured.
Start pruning the flowering plum tree the same year it is planted. Remove and cut back branches on 1-year-old saplings to help shape the tree and encourage new growth.
Remove branches from the flowering plum so that it has one trunk and five to eight lateral branches. Keep the lateral branches that are well-spaced around the trunk. Remove any branches that are growing low on the trunk.
Remove any branches with too narrow of an angle to the trunk, as well as those growing in the wrong direction. Remove branches growing too close to other branches, damaged branches and badly formed branches. Do this annually.
Prune for maintenance after the framework has been established. Thinning and cutting back of healthy growth as well as the removal of damaged branches and suckers should be done yearly.