A wise man said “there is a time and a season for everything”. Folks, it’s time to prune your fruit trees. It may seem early. Now is the time!
This 4 year old ‘Ozark Premier’ plum tree was methodically pruned to maximize its’ potential! The before and after shows the amount of pruning necessary to bring this tree to its’ perfection.
Let’s start by sharpening the tools of the trade. A good pair of hand pruners and loppers will get the job done. Start the New Year right by properly sharpening the blade of the pruner and lopper.
Using a diamond or rat tail file gently sharpen the blade. Gently file against the blade from the base to the tip. A sharpened blade gives a crisp cut. By the way, dip or paint the blades with rubbing alcohol to remove any possible pathogens (disease).
The pruning process starts by removing dead and crossing branches.
Remove the vertical branches to open the tree canopy for better fruiting. The best shape for plum trees require lateral (moderately horizontal) branching.
Codominant branches are a serious weakness in all trees. Codominance occurs when 2 or more branches occur at the same place on the trunk or supporting branch. These codominant branches are of the same diameter, neither one gaining superiority. This provides weak attachment and subsequent weakness. Time to remove!!
“Y” shaped branching is another weakness and usually codominant. Bye-Bye!
Heading cuts will produce lateral (horizontal) branching in the future. The lateral buds will open or sprout due to the pruning which removes branch tip dominance.
Don’t forget to remove all low lying branches. You will want to get under that tree. Nothing more irritating than branches in your face!!
For cuts too large for your hand pruner, bring in the “muscle” – loppers!!!
The finished product which next year will get more definitive pruning.
That was fun!!