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Beginner Gardening Questions: Plum tree in Houston, Texas

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tiggertooukgb
Houston, TX

December 25, 2012
9:03 AM

Post #9366702

I planted a plum tree a couple of seasons ago. The first year I had 4 plums but the squirrels took care of them before they got big enough to harvest. This year the tree had 3 blossoms but they soon disappeared and now nothing. Is it time to toss the tree and plan something else - maybe pecans?
Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

December 25, 2012
11:13 AM

Post #9366790

There are many varieties of plum. If you have one that is suited to your zone it may just need to be a bit more mature to produce fruit. In the right zone, fruit trees will get the right amount of winter chill and the summer heat will be right to ripen the fruit.
In the wrong zone the tree might still grow OK, but not produce fruit for any of several reasons.

I would look into the variety and your zone, and if that is OK, I would give it at least 5 years to become productive. Not because it cannot produce fruit younger, but because even in the right zone some years are just bad for fruit. A late chill might freeze the blossoms or keep the pollinating insects from flying, for example.

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

December 25, 2012
2:22 PM

Post #9366921

What Plum you planted does make a difference...not all are really good self-pollinators...which is why flowers may drop without setting fruit. Also, age makes a difference...if you purchased a 1st year seedling, it can take 5 to 7 years before a self pollinating tree settles into production.

Additionally, Houston had terribly dry weather this past couple years and that can be a real stressor on fruit trees and their production.

Txtea

Txtea
Fabens, TX
(Zone 8a)

December 25, 2012
2:59 PM

Post #9366938

What the others told you is right. Living in an area with over 1 milion pecan trees, squirrels will eat the nuts also.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

December 25, 2012
3:39 PM

Post #9366963

Diana alluded this in her post, but in your climate you will need a "low chill" variety of plum or else it won't fruit well. Do you know what variety you have?
tiggertooukgb
Houston, TX

December 27, 2012
12:40 PM

Post #9368515

I really have no idea what variety of plum I have, it was bought from a reputable nursery so perhaps they can tell me after the holidays.

I appreciate all the responses, thanks. It seems it may be wise to give the poor thing another season to get itself in order. After that ...

I've been advised that birds like figs, so perhaps a fig tree will take root in the garden.

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

December 27, 2012
3:49 PM

Post #9368618

Fig trees are really great trees...we have a couple here, but they do require extra water without regular rainfall. It may also be a bit hungry...look into a good fruit tree fertilizer to apply in the Spring.
Jim41
Delhi, LA

December 28, 2012
3:07 PM

Post #9369304

I have a nice yellow plum, as sweet as sugar. A friend gave me the sprout about 15 years ago. Mine went for ten years without blooming or even trying to put on fruit. I left it because it wasn't in my way and was a pretty little tree. Three years ago it started blooming and making plumbs like crazy. The answer, I don't know. Maybe yours will do the same but fifteen years is a long wait.

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

December 28, 2012
3:25 PM

Post #9369322

Hi Jim...a long time to wait but the plum jelly is almost worth it...GRIN
Jim41
Delhi, LA

December 28, 2012
3:29 PM

Post #9369324

Good to see the xpert is still around. We've had some good times over the years. My black day lilies are the envy of the area. I've haven't had time to do much on Dave's for a long time. I'm really enjoying the day.

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

December 28, 2012
4:19 PM

Post #9369361

BLUSH...It is grand to see you again...hope you and Jo and the family had a wonderful Christmas. Glad the Daylilies are doing a good job for you. Has the Autumn clematis sent ya running for the pruners yet? GRIN
Jim41
Delhi, LA

December 29, 2012
2:37 PM

Post #9370047

Not yet. They bloomed some this year and really got established good. They are set to take the fence next year over.
tiggertooukgb
Houston, TX

January 1, 2013
11:04 AM

Post #9372370

Jim, do you have the one plum tree? I'm wondering if pollination - even with trees it seems it's all about sex - is the problem.
Jim41
Delhi, LA

January 1, 2013
11:08 AM

Post #9372381

When I planted the yellow plum, I had an established red plum. It was alive and thriving most of the time. It was after I had to take the red one down that the other started producing.
Diana_K
Contra Costa County, CA
(Zone 9b)

January 2, 2013
8:51 PM

Post #9373749

Many suburban neighborhoods have a pretty good selection of fruit trees, and honeybees will fly pretty far, several blocks, easily, 1/4 mile to a couple of miles when not many things are in bloom. So pollination of most of the commonly grown fruits may not be a problem. You probably do not have to have 2 plum trees in your own yard to get a good harvest.
This is not always true, especially when you are growing oddball fruits. I think I am the only one for miles around with an avocado, for example. Or if your variety needs only one specific pollinating variety that not many people grow, or flowers at an odd time compared to most of the similar trees.
ecrane3
Dublin, CA
(Zone 9a)

January 2, 2013
9:37 PM

Post #9373778

You don't live in my old house in Martinez, do you? I had a big old avocado tree in my yard there. It always had fruit so I assumed someone else nearby must have had one too (trouble was all the fruit were 20 ft off the ground, so I had a hard time gathering any of them)
araness
Auburn, AL
(Zone 8a)

January 4, 2013
7:07 PM

Post #9375802

check out Urban Harvest. I know they are having a fruit tree sale this month at Houston Community College Southwest

http://www.urbanharvest.org/events/fruittreesales.html
tiggertooukgb
Houston, TX

January 9, 2013
9:36 AM

Post #9380046

The nursery I bought the plum from had no idea which variety they sold me but recommended Santa Rosa as being a pollinator for just about everything. I noticed that the Urban Harvest fruit tree sale (thanks araness) has a variety of this, so I'll take a look this weekend.

I need to look at the fig tree as well to see how much space it will need.

themoonhowl

themoonhowl
Prairieville, LA
(Zone 9a)

January 9, 2013
10:45 AM

Post #9380122

Fig trees can be greedy...they will spread quite a bit depending on variety, but can be kept in bounds with a bit of judicious pruning. My La brown turkey fig spanned about 25 feet in all directions, but it was about 30 years old...unfortunately it did not survive the latest series of hurricanes.

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