This past weekend, I attended City Fruit’s second Sunday series at City People’s Garden Store on summer pruning with Bill Wanless. The class was packed – over 30 attendees! Clearly, this is a topic of interest.
While my plum tree is too young for summer pruning, here are some tips and tricks to help promote growth and fruit production.
August is the best time for summer pruning. We prune fruit trees in the summer to improve the health of the tree, protect against pests and fungal disease, and produce more fruit or flowers. To make room for more sun and air, consider these cuts during summer pruning:
- Cutting back new shoots that crowd the larger, more established branches,
- Removing dead and broken branches,
- Removing all suckers — branches that are growing from the base of the tree
Don’t prune too much – no more than a quarter of the total leaf surface in any one year. And don’t try to fix a tree in one year; if the tree needs a lot of work, do it over several years. For more guidance, check out this City Fruit video with Ciscoe Morris and Kristen Ramer Liang or this resource sheet.
Catherine Morrison is executive director of City Fruit and new to fruit trees. She planted her first tree, a Hollywood plum, earlier this year.