prunus / plum (fruit)

While there are approximately 20 or so plums that dominate the grocery markets around the world, there are rumored to be at least one hundred various cultivated plums throughout the world.  The two species that make up the majority of cultivated plums are the European Plum and the Japanese Plums.  Many European plum varieties are self-pollinating so a pollinator is not required to produce a fruit.  Most Japanese plums require a pollinator to produce a fruit.  Even self-fruitful varieties often perform better fruit set when provided with a pollinator.

Plum are somewhat picky with regard to their soil needs.  They absolutely do not tolerate heavy or clay-like soils.  They prefer a fertile soil (of which clay is extremely fertile) but the heavy nature of clay does not allow for easy root penetration or water absorption.  In addition to the density of clay, plum do not do well in low lying or wet areas where water stands or remains for a length of time.

 
 

dwarf:

Mature at about 8 - 10 ft. Dwarf trees have been grafted onto a root-stock to restrict their mature height and size.

semi-dwarf

Mature at about 12 - 15 ft. Semi-dwarf trees have also been grafted onto a root-stock to restrict their mature height and size.  Some bred apple trees are naturally this size.

standard

Often mature at 18 ft or more.  A fruit tree that is on it's own-root and has a mature size native to its own makeup.

 

mount royal plum

Blue - European Plum. Good eaten off tree. Excellent for dessert, jam and preserves. Tender, juicy flesh. Considered the best blue cultivar in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Ripens in September - October

Recommended Pollinators:
Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Sweet Sixteen

Height: 8 - 12 ft

Spread: 6 - 10 ft

USDA Zone: 4 - 8

Most Japanese plums require a pollinator to produce a fruit.  Even self-fruitful varieties often perform better fruit set when provided with a pollinator.
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superior plum

Red - 'Burbank' x 'Kaga' (P. simonii) 1933. Released by the University of Minnesota. One of the best plums on the market. Large fruit with dark red skin. Good for fresh eating, jam and jelly. Flesh is yellow, sweet and juicy. Heavy bearing. Often sets fruit the first year.

Ripens in Late August - Early September.

Recommended Pollinators: Toka

Height: 15 - 20 ft

Spread: 15 - 20 ft

USDA Zone: 4 - 8


toka plum

Red - South Dakota Experiment Station introduction, 1911. One of the best pollinators. A medium sized, richly flavored variety with beautiful apricot color.

Ripens: Late September - October

Recommended Pollinators: Superior

Height: 15 - 20 ft

Spread: 12 - 15 ft

USDA Zone: 3 - 8


CARE: POSITIVES & DRAWBACKS

POSITIVES:

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DRAWBACKS:

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PRUNING:

The optimal pruning time for Plum trees is late winter and early spring before leaves emerge.

For more on identifying old wood and new wood see our page on care of woody plants.