Plum trees - Knowledgebase Question

Picayune, Mi
Question by kaymar22
June 30, 2008
I have a Burbank Plum (4'10


Image
Answer from NGA
June 30, 2008

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I suspect your trees are too young to produce much fruit, however both your trees bloom very early, which makes the flowers really susceptible to to freezes, which can affect the fruit production. Here's some background information of each of your trees:

The Burbank plum is a Japanese plum cultivar. The branches fork frequently, spread low and wide giving a flat topped appearance, and often droop. The foliage is bright green. The white flowers have five oval petals in umbrel-like clusters of 2-3 on short spurs, and solitary or 2-3 in axils of one year old wood. They bloom early making them susceptible to late frost. Fruiting begins in 2-4 years. The skin of the plums is red-purple with a yellow blush, and the amber flesh is firm, juicy, and sweet. The fruit ripens in July to August. It is best when picked before fully ripe. Burbank plum prefers non-alkaline, sandy loam soils with good drainage. The site should be sunny and free of early frost. Rainfall and high humidity during the growing season can reduce production by accentuating diseases and cause fruit cracking. Plums require minimal pruning which should be done after flowering when the tree is still leafless. In the formative years, pruning can be to remove interior branches, water sprouts, growing scaffold branches, and dead, damaged, or diseased wood. In maturity, vigorous upright shoots are removed as fruiting increasingly occurs on spurs on older wood. Japanese plums do best when trained to an open center and need thinning for proper fruit development. Plant with another variety of Japanese plum for pollination.

A cultivar of Japanese plum, Methley is a small, upright, spreading tree. Japanese plum trees have a rougher bark and more persistant spurs than European plums. They also are more vigorous, disease resistant, and produce more flowers. They tolerate heat and need only a short period of winter dormancy. The early bloom time makes them susceptible to late spring frosts. The foliage is bright green. The white flowers are borne mostly in umbel-like clusters of 2-3 on short spurs, and solitary or 2-3 in axils of 1-yr-old wood. Blooms appear as early as February covered in snow..Fruiting begins in 2-4 years. Methley plum produces heavy, annual crops of juicy, sweet, red purple fruit that ripens from late May to early July. One crop requires several pickings. Japanese plums can be picked before they are completely ripe, since they will finish ripening off the tree. Methley is self fertile and serves as a good pollinator for early bearing Japanese varieties. Japanese and European plums cannot cross-pollinate each other, because they have different numbers of chromosomes. The growth rate is 15-20 inches per year. Plums require minimal pruning which should be done after flowering when the tree is still leafless. In the formative years, pruning can be to remove interior branches, water sprouts, growing scaffold branches, and dead, damaged, or diseased wood. In maturity, vigorous upright shoots are removed as fruiting increasingly occurs on spurs on older wood. Japanese plums do best when trained to an open center and need thinning for proper fruit development.

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