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When to prune a cherry plum tree

Hi, I have a cherry plum tree in my back garden and want it reducing in size.
Ideally I would like to do this in the autumn, so I can benefit from the shade for the rest of the summer.
However I have read (on an American site) that it’s best to prune this type of tree spring to mid summer to reduce the chance of disease. I realise if this is true I could be running out of time for this year. 
Has anyone got experience/advise for the UK?
Thanks in advance


  • Sorry for the rotates image, it won’t let me change it.
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,476
    Mid-summer is now so you are good to go. However those trees are prone to suckering in response to pruning so expect trouble afterwards. Spread the pruning over several years if possible. It will be a big task, are you going to tackle it yourself or get in a tree surgeon?
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,636
    As steephill says, now is the best time to do it. A professional should do a better and be safer than doing it yourself. Be warned that if you just hack the top back, it looks extremely ugly and results in a lot of thin long shoots from the top (been there, done that, before we knew any better).
    If you do do it yourself, try to selectively cut long branches out from the trunk to thin it out, rather than just reduce the size all over. 
    The expected mature size for cherry plums is around 24ft, which is okay in most situations, do you really need to reduce it? 
  • Thank you both, I was always planning on getting a pro in to do the work, I might be too late this year to get the right person in. 
    The tree produces a lot of blossom, but for the last 2 years hardly any fruit. I feel thinning it out would help. Also I plan on removing a very large sycamore next to it and replacing it with 2 fruit trees to help with bees and other wildlife. The only thing the sycamore seems to attract is pigeons. So the extra real estate is needed for the new trees to flourish. 
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,476
    The pigeons will be a major reason for the lack of fruit. It does bloom very early though so frost can also be a factor. On the few occasions we get a crop it makes a lovely jam.
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