Pacific Northwest Gardening forum: Wild plum in Idaho?

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susie9s
Aug 26, 2014 9:06 PM CST
I just bought some land in Idaho and I'm trying to identify this tree (actually there are a few). At first I thought this was some type of cherry, which meant I was going to cut it down this fall since it was in the chicken yard. But the fruits don't really cluster together, they are just now becoming ripe, and the flesh is a yellowish-orange. If this is a plum should I prune in spring or fall? I'm really just trying to verify that it is indeed plum and my animals are safe. There are also no thorns that i can see.
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[Last edited by susie9s - Aug 26, 2014 9:09 PM (+)]
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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Aug 26, 2014 9:15 PM CST
Welcome Susie. Perhaps @Natalie can help out, she's an Idahodean/Idahite (?)...spud. Curious - if it is a cherry, why would you need to cut it down to protect the chickens?
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
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Natalie
Aug 26, 2014 10:23 PM CST
Yep, I'm a spud! Hilarious! I've only lived here a year though, so I don't think it counts yet!

I have no idea what kind of tree that is, but the leaves look like cherry tree leaves to me. I've never heard that it isn't okay for chickens to eat cherries. Lots of friends have chickens who eat the cherries that fall off of the trees, and they love them. None of the friends has lost a chicken yet.

I have a bunch of trees on our property that have fruit that looks somewhat like cherries, but the leaves are different than what you have. I need to get an ID on my trees one of these days.
Natalie

susie9s
Aug 26, 2014 10:32 PM CST
Well apparently when cherry trees are stressed (losing limbs, drought) they release some type of toxin into their foliage that will kill animals that eat it. Not sure if it goes into the fruit though. We have some pretty high winds here, so I don't want to walk out to downed limbs and a bunch of dead chicken. Some people say the leaves are only toxic if they are wilted, but after reading a story about a lady that lost her cow and calf about ten minutes after cutting down the tree, it's kinda freaking me out. Thanks for the welcome!
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Natalie
Aug 27, 2014 11:15 AM CST
I'd be freaked out too. I can't find anything that says the leaves are toxic to chickens, but apparently they are very toxic to cows. Cows would tend to eat the leaves, but I doubt chickens would. Especially well fed chickens. Maybe for peace of mind, you can replace the tree? I tend to go overboard myself, when it comes to my dogs. Anything that could possibly hurt them has to go. I'm not sure that there really is anything to worry about here, but if you are going to worry about it all the time, it isn't worth keeping it. Learned something new about those leaves! I had no idea!

Where in Idaho did you move to? Sounds like my house, with the wind!
Natalie

susie9s
Aug 27, 2014 1:28 PM CST
I live in Kamiah, 3500ft up, so there's not much around to block high winds. My chickens had already stripped the leaves they could reach, and they are fine but it apparently wasn't enough to stress the tree.
Name: Natalie
North Central Idaho (Zone 7a)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Hummingbirder Frogs and Toads Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Native Plants and Wildflowers
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Natalie
Aug 27, 2014 1:36 PM CST
You don't live too far from me! I'm in Lenore, just above the Clearwater, and I know how bad the wind is. But, none of my trees are stressed from it. I do have a cherry tree in our little orchard, and it's doing fine. I think we've only watered the orchard once or twice this year. The deer are doing major damage to the trees, but they don't seem to be affected by the wind. Our neighbor has several huge cherry trees, and she doesn't water them, and they are thriving. But, she does have some other trees that block some of the wind, so maybe that is why? I'm no expert on trees though, so I don't know how tough cherry trees are. If the tree is the only thing that is providing shade for the chickens, you could always build something for shade, until you get another tree.
Natalie

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