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How to Prune a Damson Plum Tree

Of all the varieties of plums, the Damson plum requires the least amount of pruning. Before getting out your loppers, set your mind to the fact that unless your tree hasn't been pruned before and has grown wildly for several seasons, you will be cutting very little. When it comes to pruning your Damson plum, this is one time when less is definitely more.

Prune your Damson plum in the winter or very early spring before new growth has begun. This will encourage your tree to put on a healthy crop of plums.

Remove any dead branches or any branches which appear diseased. Cut back to the trunk or at least 4 inches into good (living) wood.

Remove all branches that cross each other or that touch.

Remove branches that grow across the center of the tree and any branches that grow downward.

Remove any suckers which grow from the roots of which grow out of the trunk of the tree. Suckers do not have bark and can usually be pulled off the tree easily by hand.

Rake up and remove all rotting fruit that is on the ground and any dead or diseased wood you have removed from the tree.

Damson Plum Tree Care

Damson plums grow best when trained to a modified central leader system. This system includes a main trunk with several well-spaced lateral branches. Prune your Damson plum during the dormant stage in late winter or early spring. Shape the tree and remove dead and diseased branches. Also break off any suckers that grow from the roots or trunk of the tree. In early March apply 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer for each year of tree age, up to a maximum of 12 cups. While some Damson plums are self-pollinating, all varieties produce better when another European-type plum is planted nearby. Choose a second tree that is a different European variety of plum, but that blooms at the same time. You may have problems with birds and other animals eating the plums before they are ready to harvest. Store ripe plums in the refrigerator.

Tip

Do not over-trim your Damson plum.

Trimming branches that cross the center of the tree allows extra light and air into the tree's canopy, which aids in ripening fruit and in reducing any chance of tree disease.

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