One of life’s great pleasures when we moved to Connecticut was growing things. The first 34 years of my life were spent in apartments. Having my own soil was a novel concept.
Here in California we have a very limited space, but amazing growing conditions. If it can’t grow here, it can’t grow.
In fact overzealous plant growth is an actual problem here. Things blossom, bloom and reach for the sky, quickly. I need my plants short and compact.
The first time you cut back a healthy plant to within an inch of its life you shudder. No one wants to kill a plant. But my results have been consistently rewarding. Every plant I’ve chopped has flourished.
Bushes I cut back last year had become leggy. My friend and plant expert Dennis Westler explained the higher growth was shading the lower. Today they’re closer to the ground and fuller. Instead of concentrating growth in increasingly thinner branches the trunk has added girth. It looks stronger.
In some cases it looks a little scary. This is the second time I’ve cut my plum tree to this height. Actually Stefanie did this cutting, lopping off a good four or five feet a few weeks ago. Today I removed all the suckers, the thin branches coming off the main stem.
It looks very sad. It shouldn’t have any trouble coming back. There will still be some worrying.
We’ve harvested five astoundingly tasty plums from this tree–four this past summer. I’m hoping for more.