When plum trees are not carefully pruned, they can easily become heavy and break under their fruit load. Remove vertical branching and water shoots’ regularly. This will force the tree to grow branches at the top of the trunk. But it’s not – more like the horticultural equivalent of cutting hair – and once you understand why you prune and how trees respond, you can get out to your own fruit trees and start making informed decisions about how you want to work with your trees. What sometimes mystifies people is the different types of buds on fruit trees; what is a fruit bud? European varieties (that’s Prunus domestica – including damsons, greengages and prune varieties) form fruit mainly on semi-permanent spurs, with a small amount on the previous season’s growth. Pruning while the tree is dormant encourages vibrant growth come spring, and it's less likely to cause damage to the tree than summer pruning. Shape the tree, pyramid or open vase shape typically. Winter pruning is all about making the tree the right shape. You can unsubscribe at anytime. Remove all other branches back at the main stem. Summer pruning can be used t… Vase has only one layer of branches extending from the stem. For further reading, I really recommend all of these books. Just as the buds are starting to break in the springtime, cut back the central stem of the tree to a bud at about two thirds of the height of the maiden tree. Pruning apple, pear, plum, peach, apricot or nectarines is actually easy once you understand a few basics. Pruning the young plum tree is easy. Branches that are pointing in to the middle, Over-crowded branches – choose one strong one and remove the rest, Trim back overly long growth by 1/3 to an outward, downward facing bud. Pinch out the growing tips of all the other branches at about four or five leaves, including those lower down on the stem. Once you have selected the branches you want to keep, chop the trunk immediately above the … Make big cuts first. Typically, fruit tree pruning is thought of as a dormant season (winter) activity. If your plum or peach is a wild overgrown beast then slowly, slowly reduce it over 4 or 5 years. These spurs are usually 20 - 30cm long. If your trees are straight from the nursery, your first pruning will be a key element in deciding the future shape of your whole tree. Eating food that has been produced from your own home can be a very satisfying experience. If you need to remove a branch that is too large for your loppers you will need to use a saw. These will become your scaffold branches. The best time to prune … But this easy guide will show you how to prune fruit trees in winter in your backyard orchard the easy way. Without an open habit, dense branches will be shaded and will not crop prolifically. On the other hand, if you come through once or twice during the growing season and prune back some of the actively growing leaf mass – long, whippy, new growth branches, typically – you are limiting the vigor of a tree. However, winter pruning is not about size control of the tree, and if you try to winter prune for size control you will quickly be in a terrible battle with your tree, because you will be sending it very mixed signals. Remove any small secondary branches coming off a branch that are within a hands-span of the main trunk. Try not to remove your trees fruiting spurs on the main framework that you are planning on keeping, but don’t feel guilty for removing them on a poorly placed branch that you need to remove anyway. Apple trees are among the easiest, and most forgiving, trees to prune, but plums are just as easy. Shorten all the lateral branches to about 15cm to allow the main stem to thicken. This is because of the risk of a disease known as Silver Leaf which attacks the tree and can cause huge damage. Read more about 'Pruning a Central Leader Fruit Tree'... Fruit Tree Pruning - Videos Commentdocument.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "abe26ef9385578a847923e9ebf117762" );document.getElementById("f1d325c993").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Having an open centre, which effectively means removing the main trunk, helps with air flow to reduce pest and disease build-up and allows easier access to blossoms for bees for increased pollination. If your tree is less than two years old you’ll be using … Remember leaves are the life of the tree, so don’t cut unnecessarily, particularly before the tree has matured. It is necessary to prune for renewal of some spurs each season, although most of the new growth is removed. I have put together a video of me teaching my sister and brother in law about fruit tree pruning that you will probably find quite useful. Cut out dead, damaged and diseased wood. Choose ones that are well spaced apart and point out rather than straight up. Remove the ends of branches in winter to encourage forking of the branch for more tip-bearing shoots. Please remember to follow us and join our newsletter! When you get your stone fruit from the nursery, you will need to do some drastic pruning. Prune plum trees are mostly available from June to August, as the field-grown trees are lifted from nurseries during the deciduous dormancy period to … A fruit tree that leaves you wounded or bald each time you engage with it is a tragedy. Peach & Nectarine Trees: These trees flower on new wood made the previous summer, so prune hard to encourage new growth. In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Find out more about us here. Wait until new growth is 3 inches long. Prune at the right time. Almost all methods of training fruit trees require dormant pruning. “Fuji”, “Granny Smith” and “Royal Gala” apples need to be pruned differently. Only a few diseases affect plum trees, so a very basic organic spray programme will keep the tree healthy and productive. These spurs are usually 20 - 30cm long. Semi-dwarf plums will produce 75 to 100 pounds of fruit each year. Peaches and nectarines produce flowers on previous season’s growth, so don’t prune all the tips of the tree in winter as this is where the flowers and fruit will be borne in the coming season. Plums bear much of their fruit on lateral spurs that are two years old or older. Sometimes (usually!) You can choose to grow apples and pears as a vase/open crown/goblet shape if you prefer, but it is not the shape they naturally grow in, and you may find that they continually try to grow new leaders (straight upward branches). Plums: pruning Plum trees do not require as precise pruning as apples and pears, but still benefit from initial training and the thinning of old wood to ensure they produce as much fruit as possible. The starting height of branches can differ depending on your needs. Plums bear much of their fruit on lateral spurs that are two years old or older. Increase fruit size and quality by thinning baby fruits so that fewer, larger, uncrowded fruit mature. As simple as that. Repeat the tiers as the tree grows, with the same distance between branches. Remove diseased wood and branches that invite wounds by rubbing against surfaces or each other. If pruning old plum trees this way doesn't kill them, it will assuredly produce unattractive and unproductive new growth. Excessive pruning can over stimulate tree growth at the expense of fruit. The purpose of pruning and training is to encourage tree health and increase fruit yield. Depending on the variety, 20 - 40% of the fruitwood around the tree is renewed annually by leaving young shoots and removing old wood. So the ideal is to prune it to a good shape in the early years and then just maintain that shape as time goes on. Prune the scaffold branches back by 1/3 to a bud that points outward and downward, this is where the extension of this branch will now grow and we are aiming to open up that crown. The first rule for pruning plums is this: Never prune plums in the winter! In cool-summer areas, fruit ripening is encouraged by thinning leaf-cover over fruit clusters. They are tip-bearing varieties, which, as the name suggests, produces fruit on the tips of the branches, rather than spurs. So, for size restriction of fruit trees, I am a big fan of summer pruning. The truth is, good pruning of a fruit tree isn’t particularly difficult if you understand why you are doing it. When you prune you get the very best out of your tree. This low centre of gravity means that with annual pruning you can keep your fully grown tree to 3m – 4m. Then by aggressively pruning a tree back during winter, in spring the tree “wakes up” and notices that it has a root system far larger than its pruned-down canopy needs so it sends out LOTS of growth. Apples and pears are usually pruned with one main leader (the trunk) with scaffold branches coming out in levels from that. This means leaving the main trunk intact, with tiers of branches usually about 60cm apart – any closer and there will be too much shading, reducing fruit spur production. These larger branches are best covered with a pruning paste to keep fungal infections out of the cut. Stone fruit – peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots are usually pruned in to an open crown, vase or goblet shaped tree. 16/11/2016 by Rossy. From Spring through late Summer, a deciduous tree is actively growing both leaves and branches  and its underground root structure to match. Wairere Nursery826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton 3281 Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email: emlink(). Save to My scrapbook Heavy pruning stimulates lots of new growth but less fruit production. But this easy guide will show you how to prune fruit trees in winter in your backyard orchard the easy way. Keep the trees small enough to fit your space, and even to be able to harvest the fruit without a ladder. This post contains affiliate links, this means at no extra cost to you, we make a commission from sales. Trees such as maple and birch produce a heavy sap flower when pruned in Winter, although this may be unsightly it does not harm the tree. This … And don’t worry, we hate spam too! Prune if you need to for either a desired shape, to remove any diseased stems, or to improve air circulation. Remove any small branches pointing in to the middle of the tree, imagine these as big branches, you don’t want these growing in to the crown that we are trying to keep open. I like my fold out pruning saw. If you have the room you can grow several varieties that will provide delicious juicy fruit from December through to … Plums and plumcots are generally pruned into a vase shape, but the variety of plum will influence where the fruit is mainly produced. Spacing Plum Trees. The next set of branches should be about 60-90cm/2-3ft above these, so anything that grows between should be snipped off before they grow too thick. Dwarf plums will produce 30 to 50 pounds of fruit each year. These spurs will be productive for two or three years so don’t remove them until they no longer produce fruit. Plum Trees for sale in New Zealand New Zealander's love to grow plum trees, not only do they look good in the garden they are easy to grow as long as you have a sunny well drained position. Japanese varieties (Prunus salicina – including ‘Elephant Heart’, ‘Fortune’, ‘Santa Rosa’, ‘Satsuma’ and all plumcot varieties) fruit mainly on previous season’s growth, with a light crop on older spurs. See our Disclosure statement for more information. A tree can’t grow more canopy than its root structure will support, but it will do whatever it must to balance the two. Plum Trees: Plum trees produce fruit on the same spurs for several years. Get exclusive content, discounts and updates. Justin Calverley from Sensory Gardens shows his technique for winter pruning of plum trees. Please read While older plum trees bear fruit, the fruit lacks the quality and sweetness of well cared for plum trees. The definition of a Spur is: a small lateral branch on a fruit tree which bears flower buds. Remove the remainder, including the lower laterals left the previous year to thicken the stem. Young trees will often be grown in the nursery to have a tier of four or five branches evenly spaced around the trunk at around 1m/3ft high, try and keep this as the start of the main structure of the tree. Dormant pruning is pruning the tree during the late winter, when no new growth is happening and the tree doesn't have any leaves. These spurs produce fruit in the same area, year after year, so should not be pruned off. Instead, you will have to choose between three alternative pruning options. Harvest all the fruit prior to pruning. Expect fruit once tree is 4-6 years old. You can prune the tree while it is dormant in winter or in summer. I think one of the things that can make fruit tree pruning intimidating is the advice on how to prune, which always seems to come with a huge list of Dos and Don’ts that can leave the impression that pruning is the horticultural equivalent of defusing a bomb. Leafy summer prunings can be added straight to the compost heap where they’ll rot down quickly. Otherwise, … ***************************************** Apple and pear branches are most productive if trained to grow horizontally by tying or weighing the branches down while the branches are young and pliable if you can. You may want lower branches to make picking easier, or higher branches to make mowing underneath easier. Guide the tree on where to add new growth by pruning out branches that go the wrong way and cutting branches at points of outward-facing buds. Nectarines, peaches, almonds and plums - w e recommend to prune stone fruit trees in late summer after fruiting has finished, however it can be done in early-mid autumn if necessary. It is advisable to also disinfect the secateurs as you move from tree to tree. Fruit trees can be a great addition to any garden. Not sure how many veggies to grow? Apricots mainly form fruit on two-year-old wood called spurs. Pruning fruit trees is one of the more intimidating parts of growing your own food for many. Either thin the fruit, or you can thin the little spurs themselves before they set fruit. PRUNING TECHNIQUES FOR PLUM TREES This section explains how to prune a branch, the same rules apply to plum trees and other fruit trees. These scaffold branches may have small branchlets, but are usually covered in short stubby growth called spurs, which is where the fruit is borne. If you would like help getting the most out of your garden, I would love to help you, The Homesteaders Guide to  Seasonal Eating, Privacy Policy, Disclosure, Disclaimer & Copyrights. Developing a strong foundation is essential to the life of any fruit tree. Once shape has been established, they require little pruning. Cut the main stem back until it is 2 feet tall, making the cut just above a bud. Avoid pruning in late Summer. Please read: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease. Every season there are planting guides, gardening lessons, garden tasks and chores, recipes and ways to preserve your harvest. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions in partnership with a qualified health care professional. And really, there’s no easier pruning. A few Japanese varieties are large trees on this stock, but virtually all European plums … What's a spur? Sometimes this means root dieback, sometimes this means canopy expansion. Pruning apple, pear, plum, peach, apricot or nectarines is actually easy once you understand a few basics. Depending on the variety, 20 - 40% of the fruitwood around the tree is renewed annually by leaving young shoots and removing old wood. The result is typically water sprouts, ugly, straight-up branches that a tree can grow quickly and hang a lot of leaves on and not grow fruit – not ideal. Smaller branches can be cut with SHARP secateurs or loppers, you want a clean cut, not a crush injury. Ultimately you choose how tall your tree eventually grows, once it is tall enough, you need to keep it topped. The principle is to avoid damaging the collar of the branch and to make a clean cut which doesn't tear the bark. If you never pruned your Plum tree it would still crop well but it would just grow large and sprawling. How to prune a plum tree – pruning side shoots. .wp-show-posts-columns#wpsp-6743 {margin-left: -2em; }.wp-show-posts-columns#wpsp-6743 .wp-show-posts-inner {margin: 0 0 2em 2em; }, Sign up for our weekly Fresh From the Farm Newsletter. Pruning is a way to increase your stonefruit crops. This stops the bark from tearing and damaging the tree. For the first winter you simply cut it off about 1.5-2 feet (45-60cm) leaving only a trunk and some buds. Plums are pruned in early spring or mid-summer to avoid infection by silver leaf disease. While winter pruning is recommended for many fruit trees, you will find that plum trees are best pruned in late summer/early fall. Each one of these will bear one or more fruits so you'll have far too many. … Mid to late varieties do best in southland areas. Pruning the plum tree takes a few growing seasons. Start with your framework. Plum trees, like other fruiting trees, benefit from a regular maintenance program of pruning, fertilizing and preventive spraying to foster the healthiest most bountiful crops. This is especially true with pear trees. A compact stonefruit like this begins with the prune you do at planting. As your tree grows and develops, if something is too long, or too tall, or sticking out too far, you just cut it off. Pruning in the summer, on the other hand, shapes the tree and keeps it healthy by removing dead, diseased and crossed branches. Space semi-dwarf trees 12 to 15 feet apart. Homesteading is a mindset, a way of life – Get in to it! Space full-sized trees 20 to 25 feet apart. In mid summer, chhose about four or five evenly spaced primary branches around the main stem - these are the ones you will use to create the Vase shape. Make sure you only prune in summer months to prevent fungal disease getting into your tree. Trees strive to balance their root mass and their leaf canopy. To limit tree … We want a strong, solid scaffold for our fruit trees, and this is achieved by careful detail pruning in winter for shape and structure. Piwakawaka Valley Homestead is here to help you learn exactly how you can homestead anywhere. For these the encouragement of many tips for more fruit-producing branches is the goal. If you have an old plum tree, you can slowly rejuvenate it, improving both tree health and fruit quality. Plum Tree Yields. Standard trees produce 100 to 150 pounds of fruit each year. Deciduous Fruit Trees. Affiliate Disclosure The shape you want to achieve is an Open Centre, also known as the Vase Shape, as this method lets plenty of light and air into the centre of the tree. Advertisement. Increase airflow and sunlight penetration into a tree for healthier trees less likely to be plagued by disease. I own every one of them and they are amazing resources! In New Zealand’s warmer climes, fruit trees are a Kiwi backyard staple. The little pointy spurs are fruit buds. it is better to not argue with nature. our Disclosure Statement. Winter pruning has some real advantages. Pruning Fruit Trees Advice and Help in New Zealand. First and Second Year Pruning. Piwakawaka Valley is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Cut back each leader of those se1ected by a half to an outward facing bud. When a tree has lost its leaves you can see the structure of the tree, you can make cuts to correct the shape more easily. Keep the tree small with vigor-reducing pruning in summer as required. A fruit tree that towers over your head is a waste (unless your passion is keeping the birds fed.) If you let a tree grow all summer without any pruning, the tree captures all that solar energy and converts this into a strong, expanded root structure. If you do prune in autumn protect cut wounds with a water based paint or pruning paint to … In the summer remove any suckers that appear from the ground and remove shoots on the main stem below the head. Hello and welcome, I’m Dana. Apples, peaches, pears and plums should be pruned in mid-Winter. Pruning a plum tree serves two purposes. Each year, prune the plum trees … Pruning fruit trees are a must for anyone who loves to grow fruit in their backyard. To cut a branch, cut as close to the main trunk as you can, and start by cutting upwards through the bark first, then move the saw to cut down towards the upward cut you made. In addition, keeping fruit trees well pruned protects against both disease and pest infestations. I want to help you make your self-sufficient dreams a reality. From lemons and grapefruit, through to apple and feijoa, there is certainly no shortage of options to fill the fruit bowl.However, not every homeowner knows how to make sure their tree produces the best fruit – which is paramount if you’re an average Kiwi kid trying to sell homemade lemonade outside your house. No pressure. Shape the tree with detail pruning during the dormant season (winter). In hot summer areas, sunscald of fruit is minimized by allowing greater leaf-cover over fruit. How to prune a plum tree – cutting back the leaders. If you would like help getting the most out of your garden, I would love to help you, find out more here, If you like tips on frugal living, self sufficiency and consuming less, sign up to our newsletter below, I would LOVE to have you. To avoid the bleeding, you can wait until the leaves have expanded in Summer and prune then. It is best to always paint the cuts with a wound paint to protect the tree - and remember to sharpen your secateurs. We have put together a fantastic resource on growing your own food year round – The Homesteaders Guide to  Seasonal Eating shows you STEP BY STEP how to start and grow a garden at your place. Mariana (uncertain origin, possibly Prunus cerasifera x P. munsoniana) rootstock is often used in New Zealand for home garden trees as it helps reduce final tree size, (depending on culltivar) to 3 to 4 metres. Pruning a Central Leader Fruit Tree A central leader tree has one main, upright trunk with whorls of branches, usually beginning 60-90cm above ground, then again every 45-60cm up the trunk. In the second year, choose 3-4 of these branches to continue to grow. The picture below illustrates the three steps. This ensures a balanced crop that does not need thinning. Pruning your plum tree step-by-step. About Piwakawaka Valley Homestead When the tree is pruned in the summer months, the growth is strong and the sap is flowing and this prevents the disease from entering the pruning wound. When you do it in the dormant season, it revitalizes and tree and focuses its energy. It is necessary to prune for renewal of some spurs each season, although most of the new growth is removed. In spring, choose four or five branches that have formed wide angles with the stem. 266 pages of self sufficiency right there! Pruning fruit trees is one of the more intimidating parts of growing your own food for many. Grab our PDF. Promote high fruit quality by reducing or promoting leaf cover over fruit, depending on climate. Step 2 Prune or pinch side shoots back to two or three buds from the base of the current season’s soft growth. Show you how to prune, but plums are pruned in mid-Winter angles with the prune you get very. Can thin the fruit, depending on your needs main stem back it... 3430 Email: emlink ( ) smaller branches can be cut with SHARP secateurs or,... Prevent fungal disease getting into your tree to balance their root mass their... 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Really recommend all of these will bear one or more fruits so fewer.