How to Prune a Plum Tree

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Looking to prune your plum tree? Follow these simple tips and tricks to get the job done right.

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Pruning a plum tree is essential to maintaining its shape, directing its growth, and promoting fruit production. The best time to prune a plum tree is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. When pruning, always make clean cuts just above a bud or lateral branch. Avoid leaving stubs, as these can lead to disease.

What You’ll Need

-Pruning shears
-A step ladder or other stable platform
-Eye and ear protection

Before you begin pruning your plum tree, it’s important to understand the different types of cuts that you can make. The three main types of pruning cuts are heading cuts, thinning cuts, and renewal cuts. Heading cuts are made to shorten branches, while thinning cuts are made to remove entire branches. Renewal cuts are the most extreme type of pruning cut, and involve removing the entire canopy of the plum tree in order to encourage new growth.

Once you know which type of cut you need to make, you can select the appropriate tool. For heading and thinning cuts, pruning shears will suffice. However, for renewal cuts or for cutting through larger branches, you’ll need loppers. It’s also important to have a stable platform from which to work, such as a step ladder or a set of scaffolding. And finally, always be sure to wear eye and ear protection when using power tools such as loppers.

When to Prune

The best time to prune your plum tree is in late winter or early spring before the new growth begins. This will give the tree time to heal before the stresses of summer. Plum trees are generally healthy and require little pruning, but you may need to remove diseased or damaged branches, or shape the tree to control its growth.

How to Prune

Prune in early spring, before new growth begins. The best time to prune plums is just before the buds swell and break dormancy, typically in late February or early March. Spring pruning encourages more vigorous new growth that is better able to support a heavy crop load. Wait too long and you risk interfering with the development of next year’s fruit.


Pruning your plum tree is an important part of keeping it healthy and productive. By pruning in late winter or early spring, you can encourage new growth and ensure that your tree stays strong and fruitful for years to come.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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