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Pruning a Victoria plum tree

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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 20,379
    In a small garden, 5 years is an eternity to wait and see if something recovers.    Better things to do with my time.  Happy to plant with decades in mind but not to wait for a feeble and easily replaceable specimen to decide it want sto live.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • HelixHelix 704m altitude...Posts: 622
    Well I’m happy with my garden of misfits....not all of them of course but we have a few lame ducks. Doesn’t upset me as they have their own charm. 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 61,309
    Charm is great if that’s all you want from your garden 😊 if you want fruit as well you may be disappointed 😉 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • hatty_hatty_ Berkshire, 🇬🇧 Posts: 36
    Thank you so much @Obelixx, @Dovefromabove, @Skandi and @purplerallim and especially @Helix for very helpful explanation. 

    I am sad to have to uproot my little plum tree but it looks like it will be for the best! Thank you 😊
  • Birdy13Birdy13 Posts: 590
    I am by no means an 'expert' but I have been tending our Victoria Plum tree for 21 years and have learnt a few things. 
    Pruning: I too always leave pruning until June due to the risk of silverleaf but my garden notebook tells me that on 17th October 2018 I pruned my plum tree hard. In spite of that late prune, I'm just finishing harvesting this year's crop which is wonderful. I should say, however, I only risked pruning so late in the year because the weather was so dry - apparently it's warm damp conditions that encourage bacteria to incubate in the pruning cuts. This year, 'touch wood' (!) there's no sign (yet) of silverleaf. 
    Position: If you do dig yours up you could consider moving it further from that building to the right of the picture. Get it in more sun too if you can, but be aware that as it grows its shadow will grow too and may affect what is grown in its shadow.
    Cropping will improve if - as I did in the summer - you thin out fruit (but only once you're well into June).
    A pruning dilemma and how to resolve it
    By late Autumn, a lot of the foliage will have died back and you will be able to see that any pruning you did earlier in the year will have stimulated the growth of lots of new thin stems. These are the tree's response to 'sensing' the reduction to its system caused by the pruning. These will become very long and 'whippy' and enormously complicate future pruning especially once next year's foliage has become very full.

       But as the foliage has largely disappeared late in the year this is also when you can see where you might want the prune next year!

       But of course you also need to wait until next June (to avoid Silverleaf)...

       But that is when all the foliage is coming back again!

    The solution is simply to mark with any white paint - emulsion will do - where you are going to cut next year. Finding the white marks next year will be so much easier amid all the new foliage than trying to visualise how the future shape of the tree will be affected by the pruning cuts you may or may not be about to make.

    All the above, of course, is academic until your plumtree grows big enough to need such devices. At the moment ithe size of you ups makes it a doddle to prune (within the above guidelines) - but I really would consider moving it away from other obstructions while it is small enough to so do. 
  • Birdy13Birdy13 Posts: 590
    "...at the moment ithe size of you ups makes it a doddle to prune..."

    Sorry for that strange typo. Meant to say "... at the moment ithe size of your tree makes it a doddle to prune..."
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 61,309
    edited August 2019
    @Birdy13 the OPs tree is a sucker from the rootstock.  
    The grafted named variety has died. All the pruning in the world is never going to produce new a worthwhile plum tree. 

    However I agree with you that it was planted too close to the fence and if the OP is going to replace it, then a planting site should be prepared further from the boundary. 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • Birdy13Birdy13 Posts: 590
    My answer focused more on 'newbie' Hatty's original question about pruning. But as you say, Dove, there's no point in expecting the intended fruit, Victorias, to come from a sucker. Hopefully, my offering will still help her (or other newbies) if she acquires a healthy Victoria plum in the future.
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