I just got this Santa Rosa plum and I’m concerned I may have cut it back to low at 14”. To extreme?


You should be good but you may want to seal your cuts


I’m no pro but I think it looks good. I pretty much made the same cuts on my peach sometime in November, right before transplanting. Here it is:


You are fine, if it was me i would cut those branches shorter to an outward bud to spread out your tree better. This will shape your tree better and provide you with much more fruit in the future. Looks like a really nice tree. Enjoy your Santa Rosa plums, they are one of, if not my favorite plum!


Looks good, I would cut out that central leader in the middle and you will have a great looking tree!


I would actually cut it back to the first scaffold. The others have too narrow crotch angles. I’d also train the new scaffolds to have wider crotch angles. Lastly, make sure you plant high enough till the root flare is visible. Right now it’s too deep. Anyways, just how I’d do it.


Looks good!


That would be risky in the fact that it may only branch out one or two scaffolds after that. By cutting each scaffold down to the first or second outward facing bud you could totally change the angle of the branches outward, and not risk loosing scaffolds. You only need 3 to 4 scaffolds ideally. Santa Rosa likes to grow upward so some outward training will be needed. You have a good eye, it is planted a bit deep, good point! I like to grow all my fruit trees on a small mound to prevent wet feet.


If you were to cut at first scaffold you would most likely end up with only one scaffold, Been there, done that several times, not a good choice in this case.


Well I hate to say, but I cut back to two scaffolds. I’m such a beginner at this. I see videos of people heading back and leaving no scaffolds. Oh well I guess I’ll know by spring if it’s going to be a keeper or not. Thanks for the advice


I suppose now it is no longer salvageable


You might be surprised. I’d hold on to it, give it water when it needs it, and see what it does.

Not Santa Rosa, but I’ve used Asian Plum prunings for garden stakes, just stuck them into the ground and stucking up about 6 inches, and they took root and grew into trees. not many, but a few. You probably still have buds on the trunk, and on the branches, and I presume a decent root system. I’d still give it a chance.


Back Yard Orchard Culture - they cut new trees back to as low as 15 inches to force very low scaffolds.

Back Yard Orchard Culture


I’d agree with you if there were no scaffolds left. With even one, you are almost guaranteed to get more buds to grow into scaffolds.


Dig it up and plant it higher. And while you’re at it, position the scaffolds north and east. What’s that ring around the tree?


Yes there does appear to be plenty of buds on the trunk that I’m hoping will become scaffolds. It’s still in the 5 gallon container. I’m going to be planting it or transfer to one of those 15 galllon containers.


If you were to cut to one scaffold there is a good chance that the growth will go to that one scaffold, ensuring you a lot more work trying to make more scaffolds out of one branch. A better choice would to cut off all scaffolds,then the buds will have a better chance to branch out, not just growth to one scaffold. Even better, at this stage, to cut each scaffold to first or second outward bud, because scaffolds have already formed. At this stage it’s risky to cut all scaffolds off or just leave one because scaffolds have already formed and tree is putting energy to them. If you have a bare root unpotted very young tree, this is when you cut down to no scaffolds. This tree has been potted for a while, and has put a lot of energy into those scaffolds and you could easily loose that by pruning them off. I have witnessed this first hand, think I have around 120 stone fruit trees here that I’ve practiced on, just what I have learned in the last 9 years.


I have another Santa Rosa that isn’t performing well so this one was purchased as a possible replacement. I need it as a pollinator for my satsuma, flavor king, and sweet treat pluerry. The Santa Rosa is now two years in the ground and has had practically no growth and did not flower the first year and I’m waiting to see if it will flower this year. I cut that one back too to 24” this winter in hopes of stimulating some growth.


Won’t those three varieties pollinate each other?bb


From my understanding the Santa Rosa is my universal pollinator. Without Santa Rosa I don’t believe the flavor king or satsuma would be pollinated.