Double flowering plum shrubs are a beautiful addition to any garden, but they do require some care and attention to ensure they thrive, especially in colder climates like Zone 3B. One important aspect of caring for these shrubs is pruning, which is essential for maintaining their shape and promoting healthy growth.
When to prune: The best time to prune a double flowering plum shrub is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. This is the time when the shrub is dormant, and pruning will not stimulate new growth that could be damaged by the cold temperatures. It's important to avoid pruning late in the fall, as this can stimulate new growth that will be more susceptible to cold damage during the winter.
What to prune: When pruning, it's important to remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches. These branches can be identified by their dry, brittle appearance or by the presence of discolored or wilted leaves. If your shrub has become overgrown, you may need to cut back some of the branches to reduce its size. Cut back the branches to a point just above a healthy bud or branch. Suckers are small, vertical branches that grow from the base of the shrub, they should be removed as well.
It's also important to thin out the interior of the shrub by removing some of the older, inner branches. This will encourage good air circulation and light penetration.
When shaping the shrub, be mindful of the desired shape, but also make sure not to leave any branches exposed to harsh winds, as they could get damaged.
Keep in mind the mature size of the shrub: When planning your pruning, take into account the mature size of the shrub. This will help you avoid having to remove large branches in the future, which can stress the plant. Be aware of the cold hardiness of the cultivar you have, and adjust your pruning accordingly.
It's important to use clean and sharp pruning tools and sanitize them between cuts if pruning diseased branches. Try to keep the pruning light, especially if you are not sure of what you are doing, if you remove too much it will reduce blooming next year.
By following these tips, you can help your double flowering plum shrub to thrive in Zone 3B, despite the harsh winter conditions. Regular pruning will ensure that your shrub remains healthy, and continues to produce beautiful blooms year after year.