Plum

Posted by shane - January 25, 2016 - A-Z Plant Maintenance, Fruit Trees, Trees - No Comments

Tree Work Oct 18 2011 026 (640x480)

Pruning old plums on an acreace near Morningside, AB 2010. R. LePage photo.

Prunus spp.

We can grow several varieties of fruiting plums on the Prairies.  That said, they aren’t commonly planted, and our pruning experience with these trees is wildly variable, from newly planted stock to overgrown and old neglected varieties.  I haven’t pruned enough of any one variety in 14 years to make many generalizations for the edible plums.  Like many tree species, growth rate varies dramatically depending on location, soil, and available water and nutrients.

I think these trees are worth growing, but do a bit of research to determine the mature spread and height of the tree.  Plums tend to stay relatively short on the Praries, but can get wide.  In addition to fruit, they can have a very ornamental appearance, well-suited for oriental-themed gardens, or in areas next to ponds or moving water.

Spring flowers vary from white to light pink.  Fall colour is often in the reds and oranges.

Exposure

Full sun.

Pruning Time

Dormancy is best, on the Prairies.  Late October to early April.

Pruning

There are many ways to prune and train fruit-bearing plum trees.  I find that some varieties can be high maintenance when young, producing a lot of water sprouts, suckers, and rapid upright growth.  For the most part, they can be pruned in the same manner as a young chokecherry or crabapple, but for those of you who want to prune the for fruit production, I suggest you seek out further reading on the subject.  I recommend Pruning & Training, by C. Brickell & D. Joyce.

Crown Reduction

Not recommended.  Allow enough space when planting to accommodate the mature form.

 

(c) 2016 Shane LePage, Wild Rose Garden & Tree Service Inc., Red Deer, AB.