Plum

Prunus cv.
Plums can be grown throughout the Southeast and are an excellent addition to the backyard grower’s orchard. The three major classifications of Plums are European, Oriental and Native American.

• More detailed information can be found in The Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Book by Walter Reeves and Felder Rushing

• See also Home Garden Plums

European types are mainly used for drying into prunes and are not generally suited for backyard production. The Native American types are of limited commercial value because of their extremely tough skin and poor flavor. The Oriental types are those most commonly found in supermarkets. Hybrids between Native American and Japanese types are recommended. The un-hybridized Japanese types usually die after five or six years due to disease and are not recommended.

WHEN TO PLANT
Plant Plum trees in the spring as soon as soils are dry enough to work.

WHERE TO PLANT
Choose a planting site with well-drained soil and full sun (8 to 10 hours will suffice). Be sure to allow enough room to walk around the tree when it matures, sometimes 20 feet wide. Don’t let Plum trees grow into each other or into nearby structures.

HOW TO PLANT
Plums are generally available as bare-root, 2-year-old whips. As soon as you receive the trees, plunge the roots in a bucket of water for a couple of hours to re-hydrate them and keep them from drying out. If planting is to be delayed, heel-in the trees until you can plant them. To plant, dig a hole twice as wide as the spread of the roots and deep enough that the plant will be at the same depth it grew in the nursery. Trim off excessively long and damaged roots, then spread the roots out in the bottom of the hole. Supporting the tree with one hand, backfill the hole with soil, firming it with a blunt stick, such as a 2-by-4.

CARE AND MAINTENANCE
Annual pruning is necessary to train the trees, the required open center form is identical to peaches. As the trees age, they will need heavier and heavier pruning. Always prune Plum trees in the spring, keeping the trees low and well thinned out. Most of the training takes place the first 2 years. Thinning the fruit is also necessary to produce a good crop each year.

Water plums regularly during hot weather as fruit matures. One inch of water per week is sufficient.

Fertilize young trees in April with one cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer scattered over an area three feet in diameter. Repeat with an additional half cup in early June and again in early August.
Beginning the second year, fertilize the trees twice a year; in early March and around the first of August. Use these rules: March application – apply one cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer per year of tree age to a maximum of 10 cups for mature trees. August application – apply one cup of 10-10-10 per year of tree age to a maximum of four cups for mature trees.

PESTS
Plums can be attacked by insects such as Japanese beetles and aphids. Diseases such as brown rot and black knot can disfigure trees or ruin fruit. Your local Extension office can provide you with a spray schedule for specific pests and diseases.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Harvest Plums when they are fully ripe. Plums do not all ripen at the same time, so it will be necessary to make several pickings. The fruit continues to ripen after the full color appears so the taste test is the most reliable means of determining when they are ready. Plums do not continue to ripen after harvest, so do not pick them too early.

VARIETIES

Plant 2 varieties of Plums for cross-pollination. (Be sure to carefully check the nursery tags for the varieties.) A.U. Amber and Methley, exceptions to this rule, are partially self-fruitful from a home garden standpoint. They can be set as single trees with the understanding that production may be light in some years. To pollinate, the trees need to be within 100 to 200 feet of each other. Plums ripen in early to midsummer, usually in June or early July.

Variety
Zone
Characteristics

A.U. Amber
7a – 8b
Medium size, excellent flavor for season. Red-purple skin with yellow flesh. Partially self-fruitful.

Methley
7a – 8b
Medium size, excellent quality. Dark purple skin; deep red flesh. One of the best varieties. Partially self-fruitful.

Shiro
7a – 8b
Yellow flesh, ripens early July

Rubysweet
7a – 8a
Large firm red-fleshed fruit with greenish-red skin; excellent flavor.

A.U. Rubrum
7a – 8b
Red flesh. Fruit medium to large. Maroon skin color.

Ozark Premier
7a – 8a
Red skin, large fruit, disease tolerant, ripens in July

Morris
7a – 8a
Fruit medium to large. Reddish-black skin and red flesh. Firm and crisp with good flavor.

A.U. Homeside
7a – 8b
Red skin, amber flesh. Large size. Soft.

A.U. Roadside
7a – 8b
Red flesh. Medium to large fruit size.Very good quality.

A.U. Producer
7a – 8b
Dark red skin with red flesh. Medium fruit. Good quality.

Byrongold
7a – 8a
Medium to large round fruit. Mild to slightly tart flavor. Yellow skin with occasional blush. Firm and keeps well. Good quality.

Black Ruby
7a – 8b
Purple-black with yellow flesh. Medium sized fruit. Upright tree. Good quality.

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