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.