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Plums and Gages - Training and pruning

UK Garden Centre - How to train and prune Plum and Gage trees

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In spring, cut back any unduly long shoots, and early in July, pinch back to halfway all side shoots, which will have made new growth. Plums form their fruit buds along the entire length of the branches and a well-grown tree may be allowed to carry a greater amount of wood than any other top fruit.
The pyramid, budded on to the dwarfing St Julien A stock, is ideal for small gardens. Maiden trees are planted 240-270cm (8-9ft) apart in November. On about April 1, the trees should be cut back to 120cm (4ft) above soil level and all lateral shoots pinched back to 22cm (9in) from the main stem. In mid-July, the laterals should be shortened again, to 15cm (6in), and the following April the leader shortened by about one third of the past season’s wood. Then in July, prune back the laterals again to 15cm (6in), and in this way the tree will concentrate on making fruit buds rather than wood.
To form the fan-shaped tree, which may be planted in the open and trained against strong wires or against a wall, cut back the leader to an upwards bud and on the lower portion of the stem, about 25cm (10in) above the scion, to two buds, one on either side of the stem. Make a nick in the bark above the buds to persuade them to ‘break’. When the two buds have made 45cm (18in) of growth, cut the leader back to just above the topmost shoot. Then tie two shoots to canes at an angle of 45°. At the end of summer, cut back these side arms to a bud about 22cm (9in) from the base; then, during the next summer, allow laterals on the upper part of the two arms to grow on. Cut back the arms to the laterals furthest from the base. The framework will then be established.
The only pruning necessary will be to pinch back the newly formed shoots when they have formed seven or eight leaves. Do this in early July and tie the shoots in to prevent wind damage.

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