But this easy guide will show you how to prune fruit trees in winter in your backyard orchard the easy way. Prune at the right time. Fruit trees can be a great addition to any garden. Wait until new growth is 3 inches long. This is because of the risk of a disease known as Silver Leaf which attacks the tree and can cause huge damage. Excessive pruning can over stimulate tree growth at the expense of fruit. A tree can’t grow more canopy than its root structure will support, but it will do whatever it must to balance the two. It is necessary to prune for renewal of some spurs each season, although most of the new growth is removed. First and Second Year Pruning. As your tree grows and develops, if something is too long, or too tall, or sticking out too far, you just cut it off. Step 2 Prune or pinch side shoots back to two or three buds from the base of the current season’s soft growth. Avoid pruning in late Summer. Keep the trees small enough to fit your space, and even to be able to harvest the fruit without a ladder. This ensures a balanced crop that does not need thinning. Please read Without an open habit, dense branches will be shaded and will not crop prolifically. But this easy guide will show you how to prune fruit trees in winter in your backyard orchard the easy way. However, winter pruning is not about size control of the tree, and if you try to winter prune for size control you will quickly be in a terrible battle with your tree, because you will be sending it very mixed signals. 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. Mariana (uncertain origin, possibly Prunus cerasifera x P. munsoniana) rootstock is often used in New Zealand for home garden trees as it helps reduce final tree size, (depending on culltivar) to 3 to 4 metres. They are tip-bearing varieties, which, as the name suggests, produces fruit on the tips of the branches, rather than spurs. Semi-dwarf plums will produce 75 to 100 pounds of fruit each year. Either thin the fruit, or you can thin the little spurs themselves before they set fruit. Dwarf plums will produce 30 to 50 pounds of fruit each year. As simple as that. 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. Every season there are planting guides, gardening lessons, garden tasks and chores, recipes and ways to preserve your harvest. Leafy summer prunings can be added straight to the compost heap where they’ll rot down quickly. In spring, choose four or five branches that have formed wide angles with the stem. See our Disclosure statement for more information. “Fuji”, “Granny Smith” and “Royal Gala” apples need to be pruned differently. Apples, peaches, pears and plums should be pruned in mid-Winter. 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. These will become your scaffold branches. 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. Cut back each leader of those se1ected by a half to an outward facing bud. Pruning fruit trees are a must for anyone who loves to grow fruit in their backyard. Just as the buds are starting to break in the springtime, cut back the central stem of the tree to a bud at about two thirds of the height of the maiden tree. Affiliate Disclosure Grab our PDF. Cut the main stem back until it is 2 feet tall, making the cut just above a bud. But it’s not – more like the horticultural equivalent of cutting hair – and once you understand why you prune and how trees respond, you can get out to your own fruit trees and start making informed decisions about how you want to work with your trees. Once shape has been established, they require little pruning. So the ideal is to prune it to a good shape in the early years and then just maintain that shape as time goes on. Plums: pruning Plum trees do not require as precise pruning as apples and pears, but still benefit from initial training and the thinning of old wood to ensure they produce as much fruit as possible. When you do it in the dormant season, it revitalizes and tree and focuses its energy. A few Japanese varieties are large trees on this stock, but virtually all European plums … The definition of a Spur is: a small lateral branch on a fruit tree which bears flower buds. Not sure how many veggies to grow? Make big cuts first. This … it is better to not argue with nature. Prune if you need to for either a desired shape, to remove any diseased stems, or to improve air circulation. Heavy pruning stimulates lots of new growth but less fruit production. Branches that are pointing in to the middle, Over-crowded branches – choose one strong one and remove the rest, Trim back overly long growth by 1/3 to an outward, downward facing bud. We want a strong, solid scaffold for our fruit trees, and this is achieved by careful detail pruning in winter for shape and structure. Pruning your plum tree step-by-step. The starting height of branches can differ depending on your needs. If you need to remove a branch that is too large for your loppers you will need to use a saw. While winter pruning is recommended for many fruit trees, you will find that plum trees are best pruned in late summer/early fall. In hot summer areas, sunscald of fruit is minimized by allowing greater leaf-cover over fruit. Spacing Plum Trees. 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. Increase fruit size and quality by thinning baby fruits so that fewer, larger, uncrowded fruit mature. Depending on the variety, 20 - 40% of the fruitwood around the tree is renewed annually by leaving young shoots and removing old wood. So, for size restriction of fruit trees, I am a big fan of summer pruning. Depending on the variety, 20 - 40% of the fruitwood around the tree is renewed annually by leaving young shoots and removing old wood. If pruning old plum trees this way doesn't kill them, it will assuredly produce unattractive and unproductive new growth. From Spring through late Summer, a deciduous tree is actively growing both leaves and branches  and its underground root structure to match. Space semi-dwarf trees 12 to 15 feet apart. 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. Typically, fruit tree pruning is thought of as a dormant season (winter) activity. 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. It is advisable to also disinfect the secateurs as you move from tree to tree. I want to help you make your self-sufficient dreams a reality. Homesteading is a mindset, a way of life – Get in to it! How to prune a plum tree – cutting back the leaders. You can choose to grow apples and pears as a vase/open crown/goblet shape if you prefer, but it is not the shape they naturally grow in, and you may find that they continually try to grow new leaders (straight upward branches). The shape you want to achieve is an Open Centre, also known as the Vase Shape, as this method lets plenty of light and air into the centre of the tree. In the second year, choose 3-4 of these branches to continue to grow. And really, there’s no easier pruning. Sometimes this means root dieback, sometimes this means canopy expansion. 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. Sometimes (usually!) Remove the ends of branches in winter to encourage forking of the branch for more tip-bearing shoots. If your plum or peach is a wild overgrown beast then slowly, slowly reduce it over 4 or 5 years. It is best to always paint the cuts with a wound paint to protect the tree - and remember to sharpen your secateurs. 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. In addition, keeping fruit trees well pruned protects against both disease and pest infestations. Choose ones that are well spaced apart and point out rather than straight up. These spurs are usually 20 - 30cm long. Guide the tree on where to add new growth by pruning out branches that go the wrong way and cutting branches at points of outward-facing buds. Pruning the young plum tree is easy. Trees strive to balance their root mass and their leaf canopy. Get exclusive content, discounts and updates. For these the encouragement of many tips for more fruit-producing branches is the goal. Only a few diseases affect plum trees, so a very basic organic spray programme will keep the tree healthy and productive. Try not to remove your trees fruiting spurs on the main framework that you are planning on keeping, but don’t feel guilty for removing them on a poorly placed branch that you need to remove anyway. PRUNING TECHNIQUES FOR PLUM TREES This section explains how to prune a branch, the same rules apply to plum trees and other fruit trees. 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. Otherwise, … Stone fruit – peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots are usually pruned in to an open crown, vase or goblet shaped tree. Cut out dead, damaged and diseased wood. You may want lower branches to make picking easier, or higher branches to make mowing underneath easier. If you never pruned your Plum tree it would still crop well but it would just grow large and sprawling. Shape the tree with detail pruning during the dormant season (winter). Advertisement. Pruning apple, pear, plum, peach, apricot or nectarines is actually easy once you understand a few basics. Summer pruning can be used t… You can prune the tree while it is dormant in winter or in summer. These spurs are usually 20 - 30cm long. I like my fold out pruning saw. Developing a strong foundation is essential to the life of any fruit tree. If your tree is less than two years old you’ll be using … Young trees will often be grown in the nursery to have a tier of four or five branches evenly spaced around the trunk at around 1m/3ft high, try and keep this as the start of the main structure of the tree. While older plum trees bear fruit, the fruit lacks the quality and sweetness of well cared for plum trees. A compact stonefruit like this begins with the prune you do at planting. 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. Mid to late varieties do best in southland areas. The principle is to avoid damaging the collar of the branch and to make a clean cut which doesn't tear the bark. Pruning apple, pear, plum, peach, apricot or nectarines is actually easy once you understand a few basics. Plums and plumcots are generally pruned into a vase shape, but the variety of plum will influence where the fruit is mainly produced. About Piwakawaka Valley Homestead If you would like help getting the most out of your garden, I would love to help you, find out more here, If you like tips on frugal living, self sufficiency and consuming less, sign up to our newsletter below, I would LOVE to have you. In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. If you have an old plum tree, you can slowly rejuvenate it, improving both tree health and fruit quality. Remove vertical branching and water shoots’ regularly. 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. Vase has only one layer of branches extending from the stem. Pruning the plum tree takes a few growing seasons. The truth is, good pruning of a fruit tree isn’t particularly difficult if you understand why you are doing it. Space full-sized trees 20 to 25 feet apart. Start with your framework. The first rule for pruning plums is this: Never prune plums in the winter! Deciduous Fruit Trees. The little pointy spurs are fruit buds. In cool-summer areas, fruit ripening is encouraged by thinning leaf-cover over fruit clusters. Each one of these will bear one or more fruits so you'll have far too many. Increase airflow and sunlight penetration into a tree for healthier trees less likely to be plagued by disease. We have put together a fantastic resource on growing your own food year round – The Homesteaders Guide to  Seasonal Eating shows you STEP BY STEP how to start and grow a garden at your place. Dormant pruning is pruning the tree during the late winter, when no new growth is happening and the tree doesn't have any leaves. The result is typically water sprouts, ugly, straight-up branches that a tree can grow quickly and hang a lot of leaves on and not grow fruit – not ideal. Pruning is a way to increase your stonefruit crops. Keep the tree small with vigor-reducing pruning in summer as required. .wp-show-posts-columns#wpsp-6743 {margin-left: -2em; }.wp-show-posts-columns#wpsp-6743 .wp-show-posts-inner {margin: 0 0 2em 2em; }, Sign up for our weekly Fresh From the Farm Newsletter. These spurs will be productive for two or three years so don’t remove them until they no longer produce fruit. These larger branches are best covered with a pruning paste to keep fungal infections out of the cut. Plum Trees for sale in New Zealand New Zealander's love to grow plum trees, not only do they look good in the garden they are easy to grow as long as you have a sunny well drained position. This will force the tree to grow branches at the top of the trunk. 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. Apple trees are among the easiest, and most forgiving, trees to prune, but plums are just as easy. Peach & Nectarine Trees: These trees flower on new wood made the previous summer, so prune hard to encourage new growth. Once you have selected the branches you want to keep, chop the trunk immediately above the … Apple and pear branches are most productive if trained to grow horizontally by tying or weighing the branches down while the branches are young and pliable if you can. Each year, prune the plum trees … If you have the room you can grow several varieties that will provide delicious juicy fruit from December through to … Plum Tree Yields. Hello and welcome, I’m Dana. Plums bear much of their fruit on lateral spurs that are two years old or older. When you prune you get the very best out of your tree. Read more about 'Pruning a Central Leader Fruit Tree'... Fruit Tree Pruning - Videos Repeat the tiers as the tree grows, with the same distance between branches. What sometimes mystifies people is the different types of buds on fruit trees; what is a fruit bud? In New Zealand’s warmer climes, fruit trees are a Kiwi backyard staple. Find out more about us here. Pruning Fruit Trees Advice and Help in New Zealand. I have put together a video of me teaching my sister and brother in law about fruit tree pruning that you will probably find quite useful. Remove any small branches pointing in to the middle of the tree, imagine these as big branches, you don’t want these growing in to the crown that we are trying to keep open. 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 … This stops the bark from tearing and damaging the tree. 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. Plums bear much of their fruit on lateral spurs that are two years old or older. 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. 266 pages of self sufficiency right there! To limit tree … ***************************************** Almost all methods of training fruit trees require dormant pruning. The next set of branches should be about 60-90cm/2-3ft above these, so anything that grows between should be snipped off before they grow too thick. Eating food that has been produced from your own home can be a very satisfying experience. Pruning in the summer, on the other hand, shapes the tree and keeps it healthy by removing dead, diseased and crossed branches. For further reading, I really recommend all of these books. Please read: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease. The best time to prune … I own every one of them and they are amazing resources! Plum Trees: Plum trees produce fruit on the same spurs for several years. Remove any small secondary branches coming off a branch that are within a hands-span of the main trunk. Remove diseased wood and branches that invite wounds by rubbing against surfaces or each other. Plums are pruned in early spring or mid-summer to avoid infection by silver leaf disease. Instead, you will have to choose between three alternative pruning options. In the summer remove any suckers that appear from the ground and remove shoots on the main stem below the head. It is necessary to prune for renewal of some spurs each season, although most of the new growth is removed. Remember leaves are the life of the tree, so don’t cut unnecessarily, particularly before the tree has matured. To cut a branch, cut as close to the main trunk as you can, and start by cutting upwards through the bark first, then move the saw to cut down towards the upward cut you made. To avoid the bleeding, you can wait until the leaves have expanded in Summer and prune then. Winter pruning has some real advantages. Shorten all the lateral branches to about 15cm to allow the main stem to thicken. No pressure. Wairere Nursery826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton 3281 Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email: emlink(). Pruning a plum tree serves two purposes. 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. Winter pruning is all about making the tree the right shape. Expect fruit once tree is 4-6 years old. 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. 16/11/2016 by Rossy. And don’t worry, we hate spam too! When the tree is pruned in the summer months, the growth is strong and the sap is flowing and this prevents the disease from entering the pruning wound. You can unsubscribe at anytime. Justin Calverley from Sensory Gardens shows his technique for winter pruning of plum trees. This post contains affiliate links, this means at no extra cost to you, we make a commission from sales. Make sure you only prune in summer months to prevent fungal disease getting into your tree. Pruning while the tree is dormant encourages vibrant growth come spring, and it's less likely to cause damage to the tree than summer pruning. Harvest all the fruit prior to pruning. Pruning fruit trees is one of the more intimidating parts of growing your own food for many. A fruit tree that towers over your head is a waste (unless your passion is keeping the birds fed.) our Disclosure Statement. These scaffold branches may have small branchlets, but are usually covered in short stubby growth called spurs, which is where the fruit is borne. Apricots mainly form fruit on two-year-old wood called spurs. European varieties (that’s Prunus domestica – including damsons, greengages and prune varieties) form fruit mainly on semi-permanent spurs, with a small amount on the previous season’s growth. If you do prune in autumn protect cut wounds with a water based paint or pruning paint to … When plum trees are not carefully pruned, they can easily become heavy and break under their fruit load. The picture below illustrates the three steps. How to prune a plum tree – pruning side shoots. Pruning fruit trees is one of the more intimidating parts of growing your own food for many. Remove all other branches back at the main stem. This low centre of gravity means that with annual pruning you can keep your fully grown tree to 3m – 4m. This is especially true with pear trees. Pinch out the growing tips of all the other branches at about four or five leaves, including those lower down on the stem. Apples and pears are usually pruned with one main leader (the trunk) with scaffold branches coming out in levels from that. These spurs produce fruit in the same area, year after year, so should not be pruned off. Shape the tree, pyramid or open vase shape typically. Pruning a Central Leader Fruit Tree A central leader tree has one main, upright trunk with whorls of branches, usually beginning 60-90cm above ground, then again every 45-60cm up the trunk. The purpose of pruning and training is to encourage tree health and increase fruit yield. For the first winter you simply cut it off about 1.5-2 feet (45-60cm) leaving only a trunk and some buds. Standard trees produce 100 to 150 pounds of fruit each year. A fruit tree that leaves you wounded or bald each time you engage with it is a tragedy. Ultimately you choose how tall your tree eventually grows, once it is tall enough, you need to keep it topped. Promote high fruit quality by reducing or promoting leaf cover over fruit, depending on climate. 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. From lemons and grapefruit, through to apple and feijoa, there is certainly no shortage of options to fill the fruit bowl.However, not every homeowner knows how to make sure their tree produces the best fruit – which is paramount if you’re an average Kiwi kid trying to sell homemade lemonade outside your house. Smaller branches can be cut with SHARP secateurs or loppers, you want a clean cut, not a crush injury. When you get your stone fruit from the nursery, you will need to do some drastic pruning. Save to My scrapbook Please remember to follow us and join our newsletter! Remove the remainder, including the lower laterals left the previous year to thicken the stem. … Piwakawaka Valley Homestead is here to help you learn exactly how you can homestead anywhere. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions in partnership with a qualified health care professional. What's a spur? But this easy guide will show you how to prune fruit trees are not pruned. Encouraged by thinning leaf-cover over fruit clusters please read: this information provided. Your space, and even to be plagued by disease best covered with a wound paint to protect tree. Time you engage with it is necessary to prune for renewal of some spurs each season, although most the... Means root dieback, sometimes this means root dieback, sometimes this means root dieback, sometimes means! Shaped tree, so prune hard to encourage forking of the new growth is removed can the... In southland areas unless your passion is keeping the birds fed. some drastic.... 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