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The formation of the crown for the plum is of great importance. If the tree is not pruned correctly, it will yield a poor harvest. Today I will tell you how to properly prune young plums in the spring to get three times more bloom than usual.
First, I cut off everything that goes inside the crown, that is, the shoots that fill the inner space of the tree, I completely remove with pruners. I do not touch the shoots that are located on the periphery of the crown, but I cut off the shoots that interfere with the development of a stronger branch at the base or shorten them, allowing them to grow sideways.
Lateral branches eventually form fruit buds. Where the links of three branches have already been formed, I leave the fruit (horizontal), and shorten the other two (side). For some branches, I remove only the upper part in order to translate their growth to the side - so they will not interfere with the neighboring ones.
To form a short crown, I cut out long branches and give priority in development to more horizontal shoots. When the two branches touch, I shorten one of them to a lateral bud. The leader should always stand out in the links, and I do the rest a little less so that they do not interfere with other branches - this is the main principle of spring pruning of young plums.
I take on work when the temperature is over 0 degrees, usually in late March - early April. During this period, there is no longer frost, and the buds have not yet woken up and there is no sap flow. In the southern regions, I would recommend to start pruning plums in late February - early March, if the air temperature is set at around 10 degrees Celsius.
First of all, I cut out all frozen and damaged branches onto the ring. I am not an adherent of tall fruit trees, so I transfer part of the branches to a horizontal growth position. Incidentally, this stimulates a good foundation for the establishment of the crop. I shorten last year's growth by 1/3 - these shoots will also have fruits.
Plum pruning is also carried out in summer and autumn, but it is the spring cleaning that is considered the most important, it affects the formation of the future harvest, so take it with full responsibility. I carry out the work with a sharp pruner, I subject all sections to processing with garden pitch.
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Plumlike any fruit crop, needs crown formation... Booking is an art akin to architecture. Developed spatial thinking is required from the gardener, as well as knowledge of plant physiology.
Before approaching a tree with a pruner, you need to understand well the meaning and purpose of your actions and know pruning techniques.
In order for the plum to endure the pruning procedure as easily as possible, to begin with you need to learn how to make the right cuts, which should be performed at an angle of 45 degrees, and the last kidney should be at a distance of 5-10 centimeters.
All such work should only be carried out using sharp and disinfected gardening tools such as a knife, saw and lopper.
In order for the wounds on the tree to grow faster and not to undergo various diseases, initially they are cleaned with a sharp knife and treated with copper sulfate. Then they are lubricated with garden varnish, oil paint or any other regenerating agents.
Pruning plums is a rather complicated process only in the initial stages.while the crown is forming. At a later date, all work is reduced to the regular removal of old, damaged or improperly growing branches.
After planting, the lower branch is shortened into a good bud in the upper part of the growth, removing the apical part with undeveloped buds. The remaining branches are shortened at the level of the lower pruning, and the conductor is 20-30 cm higher (in varieties with a pyramidal crown, higher, and with a spreading crown, lower). Branches that are not included in the skeleton of the crown, by stronger pruning or bending, are turned into semi-skeletal ones, transferring them to an inclined position.
In this order, the formation continues until all branches are bookmarked. Maintain the subordination of branches, form semi-skeletal branches on skeletal branches, weaken intermediate branches and thin out thickening growths. In varieties with fruiting on annual wood, characterized by the formation of group buds on an annual growth, a weaker shortening is used. In varieties with fruiting on two-year-old wood, differing in the setting of single buds on an annual growth, a stronger shortening of skeletal growths is used, leaving the length of the growths no more than 50 cm.
Semi-skeletal ramifications are transferred to a horizontal position and left without pruning until fruiting. Intermediate growths between semi-skeletal ramifications, as well as crowns growing inward, are shortened or bent to the bottom, too thickening branches are removed.
Narrow crowns are expanded by cutting off the main branches to a second-order branch directed outward from the trunk. In varieties with a drooping crown, the growth of branches is directed upward.
After the first 5-6 years of formation with the length of increments of 45-50 cm, the shortening is stopped. During the formation of the plum crown, summer care for the shoots is even more important than that of the apple tree. During summer care, shoots growing inside the crown are bent down, moving to an inclined position.
When fruiting increases, and the crown begins to thicken, thinning is intensified. Pruning plum produce as follows: remove pendant, weak and bare branches. Elongated semi-skeletal ramifications, especially those with impaired growth, are pruned into branches, reducing their length and improving impaired growth. When the growth on skeletal branches becomes less than 25 cm, they switch to rejuvenating pruning, repeating it after 2-3 years.
Severely aging branches rejuvenate, cutting them into tops that appear inside the crown. At plums, it is not recommended to rejuvenate the branches by cutting into an unbranched part, since their wood is subject to rapid decomposition. The strongest and most conveniently located tops are used to form skeletal branches, others subdue, turning them into semi-skeletal ramifications. Some of them are completely removed. Tops are formed using shortening, weaker in varieties with fruiting on annual wood and stronger in other varieties.
Correct spring pruning should be done not only taking into account the age of the plum and the climatic characteristics of the growing region. It is also important to follow the recommendations of experienced gardeners for the procedure, one of which is the choice of tools.
To remove old branches you will need:
In addition, gloves should be worn to avoid scratches and wounds from branches and tools.
The old plum is pruned in spring in order to prolong its fruiting period as long as possible, as well as to rejuvenate the tree. If you carry out this procedure, then you can not only collect fruits for several more years, but also get fruits that are almost the same in taste and size as in the first years of the life of a fruit crop.
What does the scheme of pruning an old tree look like in spring? It is necessary to remove all those branches that touch the bark of the rest. Since they not only press adjacent branches, but also do not allow nutrients to enter their vessels normally. It is also customary for plums, like cherries, to cut off those branches that grow in the wrong direction - inside the crown that has formed. It is imperative to remove not only old, but also dry, sick branches. It is also necessary to shorten the shoots - you can determine how much this should be done if you know the average growth per year for each fruit tree.
When the plum stops growing and grows old, it requires rejuvenating pruning. For a start, it is customary to remove all branches that have appeared in four years. The trimming scheme described above is used. This procedure is best done again three years after the first pruning. The repeated removal of excess branches from an old plum tree, like cherries, is directed to those branches that have reached the age of six years. The cut sites should be well leveled, since the old fruit tree is not able to heal wounds in a short time, as well as grow new branches. It is best to process the cut site with a knife, and then cover with a special oil red, the basis of which is linseed oil. To do this, the sections on the branches are thickly smeared with this paint so that the tree can quickly tighten the resulting wounds.