What to do in the garden in August: Harvest and prune plums

The short but glorious season of the British plum is upon us. We must gorge ourselves on them or be defeated by the wasps, whose partiality for them verges on the desperate. Plums can’t be kept, except by the tried and tested method of bottling, but the recipe book beckons at such times. As soon as the harvest is complete, the trees should be pruned, as winter pruning exposes the wood to the danger of the dreaded silver-leaf disease. The plum tree is a rather ragged creature, and pruning can usually be restricted to the removal of any damaged and crossing branches.