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 Pruning Newly Planted Plum Trees While Still Dormant 
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Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:02 am
Posts: 8
Location: North Georgia
Post Pruning Newly Planted Plum Trees While Still Dormant
Hello All,

I am a new user of this forum and new to raising fruit trees and berries, so I will have a lot of questions to ask soon. Last year I planted two varieties of apple, two of cherry and two peach.

For now, I have planted two bare root plum trees last week, and they are still dormant. May I prune/train them now, or should I wait a season or two to make sure that they are growing well?

If I do need to prune them now, should I be pruning to create a central leader?

Thanks in advance!


Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:59 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1166
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Pruning Newly Planted Plum Trees While Still Dormant
It’s safe and likely wise to prune the newly planted plum trees now. I suspect you mean Asian as opposed to European “plums” – we call the Euro’s “prunes” around here (higher sugar content and capable of being dried). There’s not a lot of difference in care, only growth habits. Asian’s are more leggy and aggressive where Euro’s are dense and compact.

It is best to prune them before they leaf out while young; it allows what little energy that’s stored in the roots to be fully utilized by the limbs you want, not the ones you remove. I’m no fan of central leaders and prefer a ‘vase’ shaped tree. But most important to me is getting the tree above the ‘deer line.’

There’s usually not a lot of pruning on newly planted trees. If they’re branched, leave 4 or 5 evenly spaced branches and snip off the rest. If they’re ‘whips,’ meaning one tall straight ‘trunk’ or whip, cut them just above the bud where you want your highest branch to form. If that’s not high enough, leave the tip or ‘terminal bud’ and allow it to increase in height before making that cut the following season.

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Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:04 am
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Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:02 am
Posts: 8
Location: North Georgia
Post Re: Pruning Newly Planted Plum Trees While Still Dormant
Hello Viron, and thanks for your reply.

Yes, they are both Asian - one is Ruby Queen, the other Santa Rosa.

I understand what you mean by "getting the trees above the deer line." All of my trees are still vulnerable to deer, and I am protecting them with motion sensor sprinklers. Seems to work good.

May I post some photos here to let you see what I have? The cherry, apple and peach trees are leafing up well now, so I don't intend to prune these until late winter, but I can see that they will all need to be pruned before the next growing season.

Again, thank you for your assistance.


Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:32 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1166
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Pruning Newly Planted Plum Trees While Still Dormant
Mind's Eye, Watering wrote:
May I post some photos here to let you see what I have?

Yes… though I’m actually better at describing how/when to prune than how best to post photos here.. but go for it.

One note regarding my ‘assistance,’ besides, you’re welcome. I’ve saved thousands of dollars harvesting the advice of others online, from auto to dryer repairs. I look at the internet as the collective brain of our society. As such, I’m not only happy to contribute what I can but feel obligated to return just a smidgen of what I’ve gleaned. Seems everyone’s expert at something and I’m appreciative others have made the effort to share theirs.

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Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:09 am
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Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:02 am
Posts: 8
Location: North Georgia
Post Re: Pruning Newly Planted Plum Trees While Still Dormant
Viron wrote:
Mind's Eye, Watering wrote:
May I post some photos here to let you see what I have?

Yes… though I’m actually better at describing how/when to prune than how best to post photos here.. but go for it.

One note regarding my ‘assistance,’ besides, you’re welcome. I’ve saved thousands of dollars harvesting the advice of others online, from auto to dryer repairs. I look at the internet as the collective brain of our society. As such, I’m not only happy to contribute what I can but feel obligated to return just a smidgen of what I’ve gleaned. Seems everyone’s expert at something and I’m appreciative others have made the effort to share theirs.


That's a great sentiment, Viron, and I certainly do appreciate your efforts.

I've gotten myself into growing fruit trees without thinking beyond planting them and getting them to grow, and I now realize (thanks to your posts in this forum and other information on the web) that planting and growing is only the beginning.

I will try to post some photos of the plum trees in the next day or so, and then later I'll post some photos of my other trees.


Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:27 am
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