The Q&A Archives: Can I grow a Damson Plum tree in my area?

Question: We live in Homewood Ill and are trying to find out if this tree would grow here and how to obtain one if it would along with care instructions. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Plums will grow in Illinois, but European types are suggested over Japanese types and hybrids for Illinois. Select varieties that are winter hardy, and have some bacterial leaf spot resistance.

Suggested varieties include 'Stanley,' 'Dietz,' 'Yellow Egg,' 'Bluefre,' 'Green Gage' ('Reine Claude'), and 'Damson' ('Shropshire'). Plant any two of these European types for cross-pollination.

Plums require well-drained soils. Avoid low-lying areas. A good site is a sloping area with good air drainage on a northern or northeastern slope to help delay bloom. Plant in early spring as soon as the ground can be worked. Dig a hole that is big enough to accomodate the roots. Cut long, and dead roots before planting. The major pruning operation need to be done in early spring before buds swell.

Fertilizer application is based on the age of the tree, and generally 1/2 pound of complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 for each year of tree's age use up to a maximum of 6 pounds per tree, and spread on a circle one ft from the trunk extending to the dripline. During the first five years, mulch needs to be put on a circle around the trunk to control weeds. The trunks need to be protected from mice and rabbit damage, and also need to painted with white latex paint to protect them from fluctuating winter temperatures.

Best wishes with your new plum trees.

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