Common Name: Plum
Botanical Name: Prunus salicinia
Type and Use: Deciduous fruit tree with edible flowers and fruit
Location: Full sun
Planting Dates: Fall for bare-rooted plants, but container-grown plants can be planted year-round
Planting Method: Cuttings and graphs
Seed Emergence: 2-4 weeks
Harvest Time: When fruit is ripe in the summer
Height: 20 feet
Spread: 15-20 feet
Final Spacing: 20-25 feet
Growth Habits: Small upright to spreading deciduous tree. Pink to white spring flowers are followed by summer fruit.
Culture: One of the easier-to-grow fruit trees. Use a basic organic program and spray at least monthly (more is better) with Garrett Juice or other organic foliar feeding spray. A small amount of pruning in winter is okay, but not essential. Easy to grow in most soils except white rock.
Troubles and Solutions: Diseases such as bacterial stem canker and brown rot can be controlled with a basic organic program. The first spray of Garrett Juice plus garlic and potassium bicarbonate should be made at pink bud and the second after the flowers have fallen from the tree, then once a month, at least, for the rest of the growing season. Borers and plum curculio are controlled by keeping the trees out of stress. Mulch on the root system is critical. Tree Trunk Goop also helps. Other problem pests are aphids, bacterial stem canker, brown rot, peach tree borer, and plum curculio.
Harvest and Storage: Harvest the flowers when in bloom and the fruit in the summer. Plums are ripe when they take on a deeper red color and are slightly soft to the touch. Pick fruit when it is slightly soft and eat fresh or store in a cool, dry place.
Varieties: Best for Texas are ‘Methley,’ ‘Morris,’ and ‘Bruce,’ and ‘Santa Rosa’. Prunus Mexicana is our native plum. It is much easier to grow, but the fruit is not that good for eating. It’s mostly good for making jams and jellies from the fall-maturing fruit.
Notes: Rabbits love the shoots pruned from this and other fruit trees.