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Prune more?

Posted by dobieone Zone 9 CA (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 8, 13 at 17:25

Hi, yes I've neglected pruning this 6-7 yr old Elephant Heart Plum. I've read you don't want to prune all at once but gradually over 3-5 yrs. i've removed dead smaller stems and waterspots but what abour the top? Should I trim those small branches? If so, how far. Really could use some guidance. BTW it produces lovely fruit.

Thank you!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Prune more?

if it produces.. and it obviously has space..

what makes you think it needs pruning?????

just because you read it.. doesnt mean you have to do it...

i tend toward not fixing.. that which isnt broke ...

if you want to discuss whether pruning would increase your harvest.. then you need to give us facts to discuss such ...


RE: Prune more?

It's a little difficult to see,but some of the inward growing branches can be cut away,to allow more light to enter the center and for better air circulation.It's your choice how tall it gets. Brady

RE: Prune more?

Thanks Brady, and Ken I'm just trying to do better caring for the tree. I tend to focus my gardening on veggies and other plants, not so much trees etc. Maybe you have a point of don't fix what ain't broke.

RE: Prune more?

If it aint broke don't fix may be a good expression for plumbers but not a mantra of any gardener and especially not fruit growing gardeners. Steering a young tree to grow in the right direction is not something to put off.

In general, gardeners profit much more from being proactive than reactive and fruit growers are seldom successful without plotting the future in a lot of ways, including guiding tree growth.

Ultimately you will not want more than 4 primary branches in an open center tree and those primary branches need to have secondary branches coming off of them to fill the tree with fruit bearing smaller wood in position to intercept lots of sun.

You can take your time to create an attractive, functional structure but you should start thinning branches now and mentally begin choosing your permanent scaffolds. In order for those permanent scaffolds to develop good secondary wood there needs to be light reaching them from the inside of the tree out.

Remove branches more than half the diameter of the trunk at point of attachment- unless you already happen to have 3 such branches positioned to grow in the direction that would cut the radius (circle)of branch spread into three nearly equal pieces (imagine one branch pointing S one NE and the other NW). I say 3 because I consider it the ideal number of scaffolds for an open center tree which is the best ultimate shape for an Elephant Heart plumb, IMO.

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