Plum trees are a wonderful first fruit tree for both novice and experienced gardeners because they produce a large crop year after year. Once established, they’re cold hardy and low maintenance, with heavy yields of flavorful stone fruit to show for it.
Best Climate for Growing Plum Trees
Many varieties of plum trees can survive cold winters, making them tough to kill. Some American hybrid plum varieties (such as the alderwood plum) can thrive in temperatures as low as USDA hardiness zone 3, so if you live somewhere with cold winters, you might want to give one a try.
Depending on where you live, either an American hybrid or European plum variety will do well if you have cold winters. Despite the fact that European plums are not as cold-hardy as American hybrids, they can still be grown in most parts of the US.
Consider a Japanese variety if you live in an area with mild winters, as they do best in warmer climates, like peach trees.
Soil Structure Improvements
In order for plum trees to establish and grow quickly, they require well-draining soil. This type of well-draining conditions are made possible by compost, which helps to improve soil structure and raise soil nutrient levels. Before planting plums, amend the soil by mixing 3 to 4 inches of compost into the top 24 inches of the soil surface.
One more advantage: Nematodes can attack newly planted plum trees, but soil that has been improved by adding compost resists the development of these parasites and thus protects the newly planted plums.
Tips for Planting Plums
- Find a spot with plenty of sunshine and rich, well-drained soil. When it comes to plum tree planting season in New Zealand, the best time is during the winter months.
- Add organic matter to your soil, such as compost or sheep pellets.
- To plant, spread a layer of citrus-and-fruit mix on top of the soil surface.
- During the spring and summer, give your plums some extra food to help them bloom and bear their best.
- Be sure to give your plants plenty of water, especially during the hotter months.
Grafted trees are the best option for producing successful plums. Plum seed germination can take up to 18 months, depending on the variety. Trees that are two years old and have been propagated from grafted cuttings are the best options.
A plum variety should be chosen according to personal taste. Although some varieties are self-fertile, most require the assistance of a pollinator to ensure fruit production. If you have the space, consider planting more than one tree to maximise your yield.
Bulbank (Japanese) and Wilson’s Early plums are among the most popular. Other popular plum varieties include Billington Black Doris and English Greengage.
Position yourself in direct sunlight and far from strong winds for best results. They also favour rich, fertile soil that drains well. Plums can withstand extremely wet conditions better than other stone fruits, but they will get root rot if they get too much water on their roots at one time. Plums. The foundation of your garden, like that of a house, is critical to its long-term success. Soil quality directly affects plant growth.
Winter is the best time to plant plum trees. The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away.
- Pour organic plant tonic over the plants and let them drain. Preventing transplant shock and giving your plant a healthy boost are both made possible with this method.
- Cover the planting area with citrus and fruit Mix.
- Dig a hole twice as deep and wide as your plant’s root ball.
- Using your fingers, gently loosen the plant’s root ball and place it in the center of the hole.
- Add citrus and fruit mix to the mix to complete the recipe.
- Gently press soil around the plant’s base.
- Keep your plant well-watered by providing ample amounts of fresh water on a regular basis.
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How to Care for Plum Trees
If you want your young trees to grow quickly, give them plenty of water throughout the first growing season. Water your plants on a regular basis after that. Water the plant thoroughly at the soil line, then allow the soil dry out (but not completely) before watering again. This works best for most plants.
If there isn’t enough rain, water your tree until mid-October to ensure it has enough moisture for the winter. Provide ample water for new trees and in dry weather. Mulch around the tree with shredded bark or something else to help it retain water, but keep it away from the trunk.
Young fruit trees should not be fertilized before bearing fruit. Fruit production requires year-round fertilization once it has been established. Fertilize the trees with one or 112 pounds of calcium nitrate per tree if there is good fruit set. 10-10-10. Reduce the nitrogen in the soil in the fall and winter to avoid stimulating new growth.
Harvesting Plum Trees
Summer and autumn are prime months for plum picking. Fruit set to harvest will take around 20 weeks. If the fruit is large, some trees will mature faster. When plums are fully mature, they will be firm and have a deep purple color. Plums should be picked when they are fully ripe for the best flavor. Pick carefully to avoid bruises and fruit spur damage.
Plums have fruit on spurs that are 1 to 3 years old and have been growing in the ground. Pruning plums to a vase or fan shape should be done once a year in late summer after harvest.
Make clean, angled cuts above a branch with sharp secateurs. Reduce the length of weak laterals, reduce the length of fruiting laterals, and thin vigorous shoots by a third. Also, make sure to get rid of any decayed or dead wood.
Now that you know when the planting season comes, make sure to plan plums at the right time.