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. When you prune you get the very best out of your tree. Fruit trees can be a great addition to any garden. 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. This low centre of gravity means that with annual pruning you can keep your fully grown tree to 3m – 4m. Pruning Fruit Trees Advice and Help in New Zealand. The best time to prune … Once you have selected the branches you want to keep, chop the trunk immediately above the … In New Zealand’s warmer climes, fruit trees are a Kiwi backyard staple. 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. I want to help you make your self-sufficient dreams a reality. Plums are pruned in early spring or mid-summer to avoid infection by silver leaf disease. How to prune a plum tree – cutting back the leaders. If you never pruned your Plum tree it would still crop well but it would just grow large and sprawling. If your tree is less than two years old you’ll be using … Prune at the right time. 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. Instead, you will have to choose between three alternative pruning options. 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. The little pointy spurs are fruit buds. Make big cuts first. Pruning in the summer, on the other hand, shapes the tree and keeps it healthy by removing dead, diseased and crossed branches. These spurs are usually 20 - 30cm long. Find out more about us here. A fruit tree that leaves you wounded or bald each time you engage with it is a tragedy. Cut out dead, damaged and diseased wood. it is better to not argue with nature. 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. See our Disclosure statement for more information. Pruning the plum tree takes a few growing seasons. This ensures a balanced crop that does not need thinning. Depending on the variety, 20 - 40% of the fruitwood around the tree is renewed annually by leaving young shoots and removing old wood. Remove the ends of branches in winter to encourage forking of the branch for more tip-bearing shoots. Pruning the young plum tree is easy. Wait until new growth is 3 inches long. As simple as that. Apples and pears are usually pruned with one main leader (the trunk) with scaffold branches coming out in levels from that. 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. If you have the room you can grow several varieties that will provide delicious juicy fruit from December through to … Homesteading is a mindset, a way of life – Get in to it! “Fuji”, “Granny Smith” and “Royal Gala” apples need to be pruned differently. In cool-summer areas, fruit ripening is encouraged by thinning leaf-cover over fruit clusters. I like my fold out pruning saw. Advertisement. Once shape has been established, they require little pruning. Mid to late varieties do best in southland areas. Apricots mainly form fruit on two-year-old wood called spurs. 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. As your tree grows and develops, if something is too long, or too tall, or sticking out too far, you just cut it off. 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. Repeat the tiers as the tree grows, with the same distance between branches. Plums bear much of their fruit on lateral spurs that are two years old or older. 266 pages of self sufficiency right there! 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 … Affiliate Disclosure These will become your scaffold branches. Winter pruning has some real advantages. When you do it in the dormant season, it revitalizes and tree and focuses its energy. To avoid the bleeding, you can wait until the leaves have expanded in Summer and prune then. Remove all other branches back at the main stem. Deciduous Fruit Trees. Increase airflow and sunlight penetration into a tree for healthier trees less likely to be plagued by disease. 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. Remember leaves are the life of the tree, so don’t cut unnecessarily, particularly before the tree has matured. For further reading, I really recommend all of these books. Dwarf plums will produce 30 to 50 pounds of fruit each year. Spacing Plum 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. Remove diseased wood and branches that invite wounds by rubbing against surfaces or each other. Sometimes this means root dieback, sometimes this means canopy expansion. The definition of a Spur is: a small lateral branch on a fruit tree which bears flower 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. If pruning old plum trees this way doesn't kill them, it will assuredly produce unattractive and unproductive new growth. 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. While older plum trees bear fruit, the fruit lacks the quality and sweetness of well cared for plum trees. This is because of the risk of a disease known as Silver Leaf which attacks the tree and can cause huge damage. Apple trees are among the easiest, and most forgiving, trees to prune, but plums are just as easy. Excessive pruning can over stimulate tree growth at the expense of fruit. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions in partnership with a qualified health care professional. 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. In hot summer areas, sunscald of fruit is minimized by allowing greater leaf-cover over fruit. 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. You may want lower branches to make picking easier, or higher branches to make mowing underneath easier. The picture below illustrates the three steps. It is necessary to prune for renewal of some spurs each season, although most of the new growth is removed. No pressure. Almost all methods of training fruit trees require dormant pruning. Remove vertical branching and water shoots’ regularly. 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. These spurs produce fruit in the same area, year after year, so should not be pruned off. About Piwakawaka Valley Homestead Grab our PDF. 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. 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. And really, there’s no easier pruning. Pruning a plum tree serves two purposes. Stone fruit – peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots are usually pruned in to an open crown, vase or goblet shaped tree. If you do prune in autumn protect cut wounds with a water based paint or pruning paint to … Please remember to follow us and join our newsletter! Pruning fruit trees are a must for anyone who loves to grow fruit in their backyard. Prune if you need to for either a desired shape, to remove any diseased stems, or to improve air circulation. Please read In spring, choose four or five branches that have formed wide angles with the stem. 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. And don’t worry, we hate spam too! I own every one of them and they are amazing resources! Winter pruning is all about making the tree the right shape. 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