How to get help pruning my persimmon tree and Italian plum tree quickly?

Asked March 13, 2017, 1:37 AM EDT

I have a persimmon tree and an Italian plum tree in my yard which have started budding in the last days. I want to prune them in the following few days. This is my first spring as a fruit tree owner. Where/how may I get some help properly pruning the trees? Another question: the area near the Italian plum has lots of bugs that looks likely some species(es) the belong to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemiptera. Do I need to try to kill them? How?

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Unlike most other fruit trees, it is best to prune plums (and peaches and cherries) in late spring and summer, after the rains stop. These plants are particularly susceptible silver-leaf disease and other fungal infections, which more easily infect the tree in wet weather through the pruning cuts.

Persimmons are among the hardiest of all fruit trees in our climate. Like most other fruit trees, they can be pruned in winter, when dormant, or in summer. So--don't panic. You can prune these any time; and it is always better to do a good pruning job than to do a quick pruning job.

Three excellent sources of fruit-tree pruning advice:

a) Brickell and Joyce, The American Horticultural Society Pruning & Training, readily available from your library. (Yes, that is the real title, not a typo.)

b) ANR Publication 3485, The Home Orchard. This is a publication of the University of California, and should also be readily available from the library.

c) The Home Orchard Society. This is a world-class resource, located in our own back yard. They operate a wonderful demonstration orchard, offer regular and inexpensive classes on all aspects of fruit tree care, and offer several major weekend events, including one on grafting and planting, and another on fruit tasting and fruit identification. More at: http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/

Oh, and those bugs? Most insects in your yard are neutral--just fellow travelers on the planet. Many are beneficial--pollinators or natural predators. A very small percentage are bad guys--i.e., your competitors. Don't be quick to kill. Instead, be curious, and contact your local (county) Master Gardeners organization. They will be happy to identify the critters and explain their role in your garden.