How aggressive can you get with summer pruning?

I allowed my Methley Plum to get a bit out of control and need to do some drastic pruning to get it back to the size I want. Should I hold off until winter or can I aggressively prune it now? I’ve always done the bulk of my pruning after my trees go dormant but in this case the tree is wasting nutrients and water on growth that will be remove in a few months.

I’d wack the pi$$ out of it now. Follow up as often as needed to keep it as small as you want. Pruning solely in winter is an uphill battle. Winter pruning invigorates meaning the next summer it grows back all that was cut off and then some. Whereas summer pruning dwarfs or at least holds the line.


Thanks for the feedback fruitnut. I’ll break out the bleach and pruning sheers when I get home from work. Glad I can remove excessive growth now.

I want to lower a friend’s semi-dwarf Williams Pride apple from 12 feet to 7 feet now. This requires cutting off the leader where it is about two inches in diameter. Is this too big a cut?

The rule of thumb I’ve heard is no more than 1/3 of the tree at a time. However, I’ve cut off two trees this year by half. Both have survived and are going to be ok but neither one was especially happy. This year was basically a wasted year in regards to their growth/shaping.

I guess a two inch cut on leader will heal, not sure. A very vigorous tree.