A plum is the fruit of a Prunus subg. Prunus species. When plums reach maturity, they can develop a waxy dusty-white coating that makes them appear glaucous. It’s called “wax bloom” because of the appearance of an epicuticular wax coating. Prunes are dried plums with a wrinkled, dark appearance.
Plums are thought to be one of the earliest domesticated fruits by human beings. The fruit is traced to East European mountains, while some varieties originated in China. Along with olives, grapes, and figs, plum remains have been discovered in Neolithic archaeological sites. Ken Albala claims that Iranian plums are the original cultivators of the fruit. Their origin was in Asia, and they were brought to the UK by the Chinese.
In terms of global plum production, China, India, and Serbia all rank in the top three spots, respectively. There are 6,663,165 tons produced in China, with Romania coming in second with 512,975 tons and Serbia in third with 463,115 tons. The United States, Turkey, Spain, Iran, and Italy are also major plum producing countries.
Climate for Plum Production
Planting a plum tree has the advantage that no matter where you live, you can grow a variety of the tree due to its wide adaptability. USDA hardiness zones 3–8 are ideal for growing plum trees. North New England is a good place to grow the American hybrid plum, but the Japanese variety is better suited to the South’s generally warmer climate and shorter chilling period.
Both regions are favorable to the European plum. Only the European plum variety self-pollinates, so pollination is an issue. A well-established plum tree can yield up to 2 bushels of fruit per year.
The Plum Tree Chill Season
For as long as a plum tree can stand being in the cold, the tree will grow and bear fruit, even if the temperature drops below freezing. When the ground temperature is below 45 degrees Fahrenheit but not below 32 degrees, each variety of plum has different chill hour requirements.
During the dormant season, the Japanese plum prefers a chilling season of 500-900 chill hours, while the European plum requires 700 to 1,100 chill hours. The chill season lasts longer with the American hybrid than with other varieties.
The dormancy period for trees varies by hardiness zone and occurs from late fall to early spring. Flowers and buds in the tree are put to sleep by a hormone released as the day turns colder. The tree then “listens” for a signal that tells it to wake up and continue producing buds and flowers.
Seasons for Planting
Before winter completely leaves and as spring is knocking, all plum trees need to be planted. The tree will be harmed by a frost, so place it where it will get plenty of sun, six to eight hours a day, and not in the lower part of the garden where it will get shaded. The best orientation for blocking out cooling breezes is to face south or west.
The Effect of Climate Change
Chill hours are decreasing as winters become warmer around the world. This is especially true for plants that require longer winter times. To make up for the lack of chill hours during the winter, breeders are creating low-chill varieties. There aren’t enough warm days with nighttime lows of 55 degrees and highs of 65 degrees for them to thrive.
What Country do Plums Come From?
About the origins and processing of plums. Plum trees in Europe and Japan are descended from the Caucasus Mountains. Globally, seven million tons are produced, with China accounting for the lion’s share.
What Does a Plum Turn Into?
Prunes are dried plum varieties that don’t go rancid when they’re stored. These plums have a firm flesh and a high sugar content, qualities that make drying them in dehydrators or the sun an excellent way to preserve them.
When to Expect Plums?
There are 140 to 170 days between the appearance of buds and the time it takes for the plums to ripen, depending on the climate and variety. Some fruits and vegetables are ready to pick in May, while others must wait until October to reach peak ripeness. Feeling the plum will tell you if it’s ready to eat.
When plums are ready to be picked, they should be soft and yielding to the touch. You’ll have to wait several years before serving plum pudding made from fruit from a newly planted tree.
How to Harvest Plums?
You can pick the best-tasting, healthiest plums by hand directly from the tree. When a plum is ripe, grab it by the stem and push up on it with your fingers. It’s possible that you’ll have to hold the plum and the branch in one hand. The best way to harvest some plum varieties is to pull them; others are harvested better by pushing them up.
Plums grow in different parts of the world including China, India, and United States. They require cooler temperatures to grow and thrive. If you intend to plant plum trees in your garden, make sure to determine if the soil is suitable and if the temperature in your region will support the growth.
See more: When Do You Plant Plums? When is the Plum Season? | How Long Does it Take for Plums to Grow? | Do Squirrels Eat Plums? How to Prevent? | Do Plums Need to be Refrigerated? | Do Plums Ripen After Picking?