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Pruning a Disturbed and Unhappy Victoria Plum

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Question from Wenda Stewart

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I have a small Victoria Plum, around 9 years old which has been disturbed by garden wall renovation, which has disturbed the roots. It is not happy, and I am thinking of pruning back as the garden wall is rebuilt around it. Is now a good time to prune back, and how far back should I prune?

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  • Replies: 4
  • Posted: Sat. 26th September 2009 18:45

Disturbed Victoria Plum

Reply from Kathy C

Hi, Wenda,
A few questions first - how badly were the roots damaged/disturbed? Are any exposed? Were any cut? If they are exposed, get them covered. If they are loose, firm them into the soil again. If there any chance you could post a photo so i could see what condition the tree is in now?Since the tree's roots have been disturbed and it is unhappy, I would avoid pruning it. First, pruning on fruit trees should be done from late autumn to early spring, avoiding frost conditions. Pruning is highly stressful for plants, so it is recommended that on healthy trees, no more than a third of the branches are removed at one time. Since your tree is recovering from damage, if you have to remove anything, I would wait until the time frame stated above and only remove anything that is damaged or is crossing over and rubbing against other branches. Give the tree a year to recover and them next pruning season, cut it back as needed.
Kathy C.

  • Posted: Tue. 29th September 2009 20:07

Don't prune plums in autumn/ winter

Reply from Andrew Coggins

Although most fruit trees are best pruned in autumn this is not true of plums. Open wounds at this time of year make the tree more liable to suffer diseases such as silver leaf and cankers. Summer is the best time for this, as the warmth will heal the wounds quickly. Root disturbance has caused the problem however with the leaves soon to fall the stress from root damage is going to minimise.
Best regards Andrew

  • Posted: Wed. 30th September 2009 21:42

I stand corrected

Reply from Kathy C

Hi, Wenda,
Andrew is 100% correct - plums are an exception to the fruit tree pruning rule. Apologies for the misleading advice. My advice in my prior response holds true for the majority of fruit trees. I do stand firm behind my suggestion to avoid pruning until next year. Many thanks, Andrew for adding to the post - I would hate to have caught my mistake later and the tree have suffered as a result.
Kathy C.

  • Posted: Thu. 1st October 2009 05:04

Thank you both for your advice!

Reply from Wenda Stewart

I have now managed to cover up the disturbed roots of my Victoria Plum, having built a small retaining wall around it (with drainage). I think it has survived the trauma, and am now carefulling watering and feeding to build up strength before the frosts come. I think it may survive - attached is a photo. Thanks so much for your advice. I will not prune until next year for sure!
Best wishes,
Wenda

Thank you both for your advice!

Click image to enlarge

  • Posted: Sat. 17th October 2009 17:59