Select a named variety from a reputable source. Most European plums are self-pollinating, that is, they will bear fruit with only one tree. They will begin to bear fruit within three to five years, and are hardy in zones 4-9. Standard trees can grow to 20 feet, semidwarf and dwarf trees are available and stay as small as 8 feet.
Plant standard trees 25 feet apart. Choose a site with full sun and proper drainage… plums require moisture retaining, but free draining soil. Add plenty of organic matter when planting. Plant in the fall if possible, or in early spring, preferably on a cloudy day to reduce shock. Fertilize with Gardens Alive! Fruit Trees Alive! Build Up Formula. Spread a compost mulch around the base of the tree to the dripline. Don’t let the mulch touch the tree trunk.
Fertilize occasionally with a seaweed foliar spray (always under clouds or shade – never in full sun). Fertilize once a year in the spring with Gardens Alive! Fruit Trees Alive! Maintenance Formula.
Trees will begin flowering in early spring. Fruit must be thinned in June to provide the best quality fruit. Wait until after “June drop”, a period in which the tree will drop a number of fruit. Thin the remaining fruit to about 1″ to 3″ between each, it is important that the fruit not touch each other as they grow larger.
Renew mulch with partially decomposed compost once a year, to prevent weeds, keep soil evenly moist, and provide disease protection. Water regularly.
Check for Insects often. Plum curculio can do significant damage… they make a crescent shaped incision in the fruit and lay one egg. The larva then bores to the pit, causing early fruit drop and inedible fruit. The larva then overwinters in the soil. To combat them, clean up all tree debris in the fall. In the early spring, as the flowers drop, place a sheet or blanket under the tree and shake vigorously. Collect and kill the curculios that drop onto the sheet. Do this daily until no more curculios drop.
Protect fruit as they begin to color from birds and other animals with nets, or Harvest Protector Boxes.
Harvest begins in September. The fruit will not ripen off of the tree, so make sure it is slightly soft before harvesting. Taste test one piece before harvesting the rest.
Enjoy plums! Eat them straight from the tree, or dry them to make prunes.
Stanley, French Prune, Fellenberg
Fall is best
Garden’s Alive! Fruit Trees Alive!
5.0 to 7.5
Black knot, plum curculio, birds
Stretch The Season: