What is the superhero of the fruit tree world? Why the humble Plum, able to thrive in places other fruits have long forgotten, live in famine or in deluge, and be able to produce at a very young age. This is one fruit tree you need in your garden. They are stunning in full bloom or fruit.
There are so many native and garden plums that are on the market today, the choices are endless and come in all the colors of the rainbow. From deep blue fruit, and purples, to orange, red, and yellow and even a few greens thrown in the mix, plum trees are simple and easy to grow in a wealth of colors and tree sizes. Most of this wonderful family of trees tends to stay on the small side but they have been known to reach highest of twenty feet and more if left unpruned and in the right spot. So let's take a look at this wonderful fruit and the possibilities of planting one in your garden.
Trees on the whole should be on dwarf root stock or they tend to get way too big for the normal fruit orchard. Just two or three trees is all that are needed to supply a family with all the fruit they can eat and put some away for the rest of the year. Care needs to be taken to plant different varieties of plums to insure pollination of the fruit. Plums ripen in the early to mid summer and they might be the call for all the birds in the world to come to your yard. Wasps also love the fruit and might cling and eat the juice out of a damaged fruit so be careful when you pick the fruit that you don't have friends out there first!
Plant trees in the fall and mulch well with a two inch layer of compost and top this with another two inches of straw mulch. Repeat this each and every year and your yields will be so heavy you will have to thin the fruits. Pull off all suckers each year when they form. Remove the soil to the level of the sucker, hit the root, and tear the sucker off the root. Do not cut them off or they will come back with twice the vengeance. You will need netting to keep the birds at bay so just buy one when you plant the tree and you will be ready when the day comes.
Plum trees are easy and no fuss. It is simple to order online and have the tree come in the fall or early spring for planting. The trees will flower between their first and second year of life in most climates and might set fruit shortly thereafter. So there is no need to buy them locally to insure the right fruit.
In late winter, apply more compost or one pound of 10-10-10, or 10-6-4 over the branching area. Do not fork this into the soil and never, ever plant under a tree. Plum trees hate to have their roots disturbed. Just sprinkle the fertilizer on the surface and let it work its own way into the soil.
Seeing the branches are too brittle to hold much fruit, you will need to thin your fruits when they are the size of shooter marbles. When the fruits are the size of shooter marbles take off all but one fruit in each bunch. This fruit will grow to full size and the branch should have no more than one or two fruits on it when you are done thinning them out.
Growing a plum tree in the garden is very easy and a beginner fruit tree for the garden. They are wonderful and will be an asset to the garden. They need not be hidden away in the corner or an out of the way place but displayed with pride in the forefront of the garden in wonderful full bloom and fruit.
Thank you to Jeff_Beck for the images.
About Mitch Fitzgerald
I am a pentecostal preacher, gardener,husband, and a father. I love natives, daylilies, iris, and roses. I love teaching others, be they children or adults, about the garden and plants.