Victoria Plum Trees

Hi
I have a number of Victoria Plum trees in my garden that are very tall the first branches start at around ten feet and are very long so it is impossible to reach the fruit. How severe a prune can give them? and when is the best time?
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David Ellis


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David Ellis wrote:

You could take off one third without a problem, perhaps more. Prune when they are dormant, in spring just before budding is good. If the fungus is prevalent in your area you should spray for peach leaf curl at that time with one of the copper-based fungicidal sprays.
The question is why are they so tall and leggy, are they in full sun? If they are reaching for the sun this will be a recurrent problem and they will not crop well.
David
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'David Hare-Scott[_2_ Wrote: > ;996339']David Ellis wrote:-

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Hi Thanks for the reply, I bought the property a few years ago, the old lady had not done anything with the garden for years it was a small holding years ago.
It was not just overgrown it was thick with young trees which we cleared leaving the fruit trees. So I guess they were reaching for sunlight.
--
David Ellis


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On Thu, 12 Dec 2013 09:25:02 +0100, David Ellis

I agree with David that taking about 1/3rd of the growth or a bit more is the traditional method. However branches starting at 10 feet is a real problem if you want the fruit. I think I would try a stump graft, at least on one or a few of the trees. You can do a search for technique. (of course you don't have to do them all at once!)
Basically in early spring when the buds have formed but not opened cut the tree down with a chain saw. Cut higher than you would normally fell the tree. Now if you have not cut fair sized trees down and do not know what you are doing, this is probably a job for a professional. Have them cut the stump off at about 3 feet (1 meter) at a -very- slight angle. just enough for the rain to run off. Select two or three or more "scions" which is just a short piece of branch with several good buds from a one to two year old branch (brown not green bark) that is about an inch (2.5 cm) or two in diameter. It sounds like the tree you cut down with have a LOT of these.
A technique called the cleft graft is the best for working with a tree stump. This is also one of the easiest types of grafts for beginners to attempt. The first step is to prepare the stump to accept the scion. Hammer a chisel into the stump, creating a split, or cleft about 6 inches deep. Then whittle the scion wood to a 6-inch wedge so that it easily inserts into the new cleft, making sure to leave bark on the two sides of the wedge. Your tree sounds like it will have a pretty big stump, so you may need to carve out a section of the stump rather than a simple split. Leave the bark!!!
Once the scions are wedged and ready, insert them into the cleft of the stump. It is usually necessary to use a small pry bar or grafting tool to separate the cleft far enough to accept the scion wedges. You want it tight! Place the scions on the two outer edges of the cleft so that the bark of the scion matches up with the bark of the stump. It is this lining up of bark rather than lining up rings as with many other more complicated methods that makes the cleft graft such an excellent technique for beginning grafters to attempt. The trick is to get the bark of the stump over the bark of the scions so they will heal together and the graft will grow. For a stump the size I envision yours to be, I would place four or more scions.
The final step to completing the fruit tree graft is to apply a grafting compound. There are a number of options for this, the most common of which are a petroleum-based paste and a wax. Spread the compound over the entire wound to protect and seal it Including the top of the stump, therefore protecting it from disease and encouraging quick growth.
If you decided to put four or so scions in the stump, after the first year when the branches are all growing you can begin to trim and prune the tree into a plum "bush"- very earsy to spray and pick fruit. If you place two scions, the traditional method is to cut off the weaker scion after a year and make the stronger you new leader for a new tree. If you decide to try this I would start with a shorter stump so the branches don't get to high.
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Rick;996374 Wrote: > On Thu, 12 Dec 2013 09:25:02 +0100, David Ellis

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> cleared

Wow that sound a bit complicated for me, who would be able to to that? Not something for the avarage tree surgeon I would guess.
Dave
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David Ellis wrote:

While a stump graft is a solution it does seem a bit much to ask for somebody who is starting from the point of not knowing when or how to prune at all. If you top them they will shoot from lower down and you ought to be able to establish some shape to the growth over a few years. Since you have several it is not so critical that every one is a success so maybe if you are very severe and start some with just a stump you will get some right and some will die, or they might all live. That's better than what you have.
D
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Top post as is getting long. I think any qualified tree surgeon could do this quite easily. You might want to have one or two people out and have them make suggestions as to what would be best. I have done this myself, but I have lived on farms much of my life and I'm used to doing such things.
On Fri, 13 Dec 2013 08:46:34 +0100, David Ellis

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