Pruning a Victoria plum tree

hatty_hatty_ Berkshire, 🇬🇧 Posts: 9
Hello gardeners! We have recently moved into our first house and inherited our very first garden. When and how should I prune my Victoria plum tree? It gave a good crop of plums this year but want to make sure I prune correctly to ensure a strong tree as it is still quite small at the moment. Advice greatly appreciated. Many thanks. Hatty
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Posts

  • HelixHelix 704m altitude...Posts: 537
    Plums are very susceptible to silver leaf, so I think it is now too late for this year.  We prune our in June/July. 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 55,118
    There seem to be two stems ... at least one of them will be coming from below the graft. In my opinion the future success of the tree is compromised ... I would dig it up and start again ... sorry ☹️ 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • SkandiSkandi Northern DenmarkPosts: 603
    Looking at the Picture I half agree with Dove, I think the original Victoria is the shorter sorrier looking stick with the tag still on it but no leaves? BUT if you got plums from the nice tall trunk and you liked the taste I say stick with it, they may not be victoria plums and may instead be whatever the rootstock was but that in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing.
  • hatty_hatty_ Berkshire, 🇬🇧 Posts: 9
    There seem to be two stems ... at least one of them will be coming from below the graft. In my opinion the future success of the tree is compromised ... I would dig it up and start again ... sorry ☹️ 
    Many thanks for your help! I am a newbie so would be grateful if you could explain what a graft is and why it has compromised the tree? 
  • hatty_hatty_ Berkshire, 🇬🇧 Posts: 9
    Skandi said:
    Looking at the Picture I half agree with Dove, I think the original Victoria is the shorter sorrier looking stick with the tag still on it but no leaves? BUT if you got plums from the nice tall trunk and you liked the taste I say stick with it, they may not be victoria plums and may instead be whatever the rootstock was but that in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing.
    Many thanks for your reply! Having inspected the tree more closely it seems that the crop of plums did only come from the sorrier looking stick and its offshoots. Does this mean that I will never get plums on the other healthier trunk? (p.s. what is a rootstock? I’m a newbie!) Thanks!
  • purplerallimpurplerallim LincolnshirePosts: 1,891
    Roots from a stronger tree are used or a variety that will keep the tree small (dwarf) the trunk is grown for a while and then a branch of the variety is cut in and bound ( at the base of your tree you will see a lumpy area that is the graft point) the original trunk is then cut off leaving the variety you want to grow. If any growth comes from below this it will be the original one and stop the tree from growing above the graft.  It's only hope is to cut off the whole trunk to the ground of the below the graft tree in the hope the other will recover. Hope this helps.
  • HelixHelix 704m altitude...Posts: 537
    Quite a lot of things, fruit in particular, are grafted.  So the growers take a robust growing straightforward variety of compatible plant, and graft the fancy variety on top of it.    Sometimes because the fancy variety naturally has a feeble root system, sometimes because it is too vigorous and you want to graft it onto a dwarf root stock to keep a small tree. 

    If you look at the base of your tree you will be able to see where it is grafted.  If the vigorous side of the tree is actually coming from below the graft, then it will take over.  If the label is still on the tree it might tell you what the rootstock is, and it could well be something non fruiting, or something like a damson with not particularly nice fruit. 

    I’m not as tough as Dove from Above, so I would remove the rootstock side and give it a chance.  (And probably regret the decision in 5 years time when the tree falls over, but my conscience will be clean..).
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 17,113
    I agree with @Dovefromabove.  Take it out now and cut your losses.   That gives you a month to remove a circle of grass (like I advised for your rose), improve the soil with compost and/or manure and then plant a new tree from late September onwards.   

    Have a read of this info from the RHS - https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=972  which covers choosing and growing fruit trees.    If you want another plum it probably has to be another Victoria plum as these are self-fertile.  Many varieties need another variety for cross-pollination.   The same is true of most apples and pears too.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 55,118
    Helix said:
    ....  I’m not as tough as Dove from Above, so I would remove the rootstock side and give it a chance.  (And probably regret the decision in 5 years time when the tree falls over, but my conscience will be clean..).
    I’m not tough rifle ...  I’m a big softy really ... but I’m afraid I’m too old nowadays to waste 5 years waiting to see if something that poorly will survive ... it’s not that I’m tough ... just that I’m getting impatient in my dotage ..,,  and at this age my conscience has worse things to worry about than giving up on a nearly dead tree 😉 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • HelixHelix 704m altitude...Posts: 537
    I take a different view....I’m now too old to see things through so I might as well take a chance! 
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