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Have I pruned my plum tree correctly?

Good afternoon,

I’ve been reading up about pruning plum trees. My tree is in it’s third year and on a pixy rootstock. 

The initial prune was done at the nursery, creating the goblet shape with three branches. Because it’s a young tree, I read that pruning needed to be completed in spring, so I’ve pruned the tree today. 

I’ve taken off quite a lot, but I’m not sure if I’ve pruned it correctly. Any new growth growing into the centre has been removed. Any remaining new growth, I’ve reduced by roughly 50%.

I keep reading about cutting back to a bud, but I can’t see buds on the new growth, only leaves. I’ve assumed the leaves are a bud, so I’ve cut back to a set of leaves. 

Many thanks for your time. 


  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 2,975
    @pansyface knows abou fruit trees.  Hopefully she will look in and advise you :)
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,938
    Hello, Pansyface has spent the day sunbathing while sitting under an almost uniformly black and thundery sky. The gods have been smiling on me! 😊

    Plum trees. Not as much hard work as apple trees, I find. Mainly because I just leave mine to get on with doing their thing and occasionally thin out the middle bit to let in some light. 

    But if you want to do it by the book, then the book I recommend is Harry Baker’s “Growing Fruit”.  Out of print but worth tracking down.  Here is his take on proper plum pruning. He talks about “leaders” and “laterals” but when you look at the pictures it’s easy enough to see what they are.

    The most important thing to remember about pruning plum trees is to only do it when the tree is in leaf. Don’t prune them in the winter. They have a resin that seals cuts and keeps out infections but it only works when the tree is actively growing.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • broom9079broom9079 Posts: 5
    edited May 2022
    Many thanks for your prompt replies both. I’ll see if I can get a copy of that book, thank you. Sounds like you’ve had a great afternoon. 

    I cut the tree today while it was sunny and dry. Based on what you’ve said, the cuts should heal nicely. The centre is open to, so hopefully all should be well. I wanted to cut back quite a lot in the hope that it would strengthen the remaining growth. 

    Very new to this, but I’m really enjoying the learning experience. Being out in the garden does so much good for my mental well-being and energy levels. 

    All the best. 

    Edit: just picked up a copy of the book for 78p. I love a bargain. 
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,938

    Money well spent.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
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