How to Prune Ornamental Plum Trees

Views: 18826 | Last Update: 2009-02-04
Pruning an ornamental plum tree while it is dormant in the winter will encourage more fruit production for the spring and summer. Thin out the top of a plum tree to expose more sunlight to the inner branches with instructions from a sustainable gardener... View Video Transcript

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Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen and in this segment we're going to talk about how to prune ornamental plum trees. There are so many different types of plum trees and a lot of the ornamental plums have fruit on them that are not really edible but they're still beautiful and the birds love them. So they are really nice to grow but it is important that you follow some rules on pruning because by taking the time to prune them each year when they're dormant then next year they'll be even more full and they'll produce more fruit and they'll look really good for more years to come. So let's follow some rules. So when you're pruning any kind of fruit tree the goal is to cut out a lot of the random branches towards the top of the tree because those are usually the more fruity branches that is going to produce the more fruit and you want to thin it out about one third the size each year and that way it won't just get tall and lanky and it will fill up and you'll get a lot more fruit quicker and so just by cutting out the lighter colored branches you can get a lot more fruit and you just trim them out and even it out. So there is more sun that gets into the middle branches and the tree will do much better. If you have a fruit tree that has been established and it is really tall and not producing fruit and you have not pruned it very much then you can actually cut out some of the top branches and what you are making is called a vase cut. By doing that you are forcing most of the growth back down to the bottom part of the tree and you'll get a lot more fruit for the next year. So when you're pruning any type of a tree you want to be really careful to cut it at the right angle. For example if it's a large branch you want to cut first at one side and then the other side and then you're cutting that whole heavy branch off. Because if you just cut from one angle it might actually hurt some of the bark and get into the main trunk and you never want to hurt the main trunk because you will lose a tree if it gets too damaged and you don't want to cut it too far out either where the CD cut is because what happens is then it gets too much moisture and then it will rot and there is too much dead material. You want to cut it right at a little bit of an angle leaving one to two inches right at where the tree is reading with the main trunk. Same thing you never want to cut right up to the trunk line and make a solid cut because what happens is the tree gets very damaged and sometimes it will eventually kill the tree because it doesn't have bark to protect the main trunk and that is what is needed. So by just cutting it back one third and cutting any lanky branches out or bigger branches out you will find that your ornamental cherry trees will look so much better than if you just let them grow to be like a Medusa. They'll be much smoother and rounder and it will be a much more beautiful tree in your garden.