As a gardener or a well-driven green thumb, variety in your garden is often welcome as long as it serves a certain purpose, such as beautifying your area or giving delicious picks. You also have to make sure that you can maintain these additions to your green family. One perfect addition to your garden is plums.
There are three well-known plum varieties. These are the American hybrid (Prunus americana), the Japanese (Prunus salicina), and the European (Prunus domestica). The
A Japanese and American plum hybrid (Prunus ‘toka’) was also developed primarily to adapt to certain weather conditions and better withstand winter’s fierce chill.
Other plum varieties include the following:
Prunus domestica’ Marjorie’s Seedling’ – more disease-resistant than other varieties, usually ripens in September and October and can be cross-pollinated with different varieties.
Prunus insititia ‘Farleigh Damson’ RHS AGM – other times referred to as ‘Farleigh’ and ‘Farleigh Prolific.’
Prunus cerasifera’ Golden Sphere’ – which bear large fruits that are ideal for eating and cookingPrunus domestica ‘Cambridge Gage’ RHS AGM – bearers of tasty plums characterized by its green fruits with a yellow flesh and are very delicious when made into jams.
WHEN TO PLANT
For a plum tree to grow healthy and ideally, it must have a good combination of chill and summer heat. It is best to plant plum trees in the last days of winter just before spring begins. Sunlight is a huge determinant of a healthy plum tree; therefore, it must be planted somewhere to get at least six to eight hours of sunlight regularly. It must also be noted that one must regulate the effects of cold winds to the plant to achieve optimum plum health.
Plum trees are highly sensitive to natural elements. Extreme and excessive exposure to cold temperature is one thing that must be avoided for plum trees. It only needs a minimal and regulated amount of chill to help the tree grow and produce its tasty fruits. Typically, a cold temperature ranging from 45 degrees Fahrenheit max and not lower than 32F would be ideal.
The Japanese plum is among the most sensitive variety among the three well-known ones as it only needs 500 to 900 hours of cold temperature ideally. On the other hand, the European is at 700 to 1,100 hours while the American hybrid can tolerate more prolonged exposure to a cold climate.
You might be wondering why they need the chill climate. Trees need this as this puts the tree and its buds to sleep and wait for a certain hormone to appear in its system, signaling to “wake up” and bloom its buds, as they metamorphose into plum fruits.
As mentioned, climate and natural elements play a huge role in maintaining the health of plum trees and their fruits. Therefore, choosing a perfect spot to plant is essential.
The three well-known plum varieties, the American, Japanese, and European, have relatively more specific optimum health locations. The American hybrid usually does well in areas such as the north of New England. The Japanese one is more accustomed to the warm seasons of the South and its minimal cold season. On the other hand, the European hybrid can survive in both climates and regions.
In general, there are particular locations that plums prefer to grow well. They prefer loamy and well-drained soil types, not in soil types that are usually wet. Around six to eight hours of sunlight is typically needed for a plum tree to grow ideally; therefore, one must choose a location that can provide this.
Plant plums in relatively elevated areas to avoid frost from settling as this might damage the plant and its fruit. Besides, note that wind also carries a factor in ideal plum-growing; therefore, plant your plums facing South or west.
SUSTENANCE AND MAINTENANCE
Plum trees appreciate some compost and farmyard manure to help in its growth. Pruning plum trees is only ideal in its earlier stages and during spring. It is also helpful in removing deadwood.
You must also note that plum trees are targets of insects and pests, such as aphids, caterpillars, plum fruit moth, and wasps. You must stay observant of your plum trees and regularly check on these to prevent damage.
FRUIT PICKING SEASONS
Typically, you can harvest your plums after 140 to 170 days, as it also varies on the variety and the season. For some, picking season is every May, while some need more time to ripen and are harvested during October.
To see whether the fruit is ready for picking, touch it, and determine if it is already soft enough for harvest. Once these are soft, get your harvest basket and enjoy the hard-earned produce of your plum trees.