Plum

In general plums like a sunny site but there are plums for all different types of climates and you may find that some are better suited to our local conditions than others. check to see what varieties are grown on our site and what may have been grown in the past when they were more widely grown.

Plums are mainly grown as trees from full sized standards to bush and pyramids. They can also be trained as fans but not cordons. Plums vary in fertility, some being self fertile, but they all do better for having a pollinator in the area.

Cultivation
Plums must have a sunny position. They flower early so should not be planted in frost pockets, where the blossom will be lost. The soil should be fertile and moisture retentive, although they will tolerate drier soil than many other tree fruits. Plant the trees between Autumn and Spring, as long as the weather and soil conditions allow. Planting distance will vary from 10 ft to 15 ft apart, depending on the size of tree. Smaller trees and fan trained trees should be protected if frost threatens while they are in blossom. Mulch in early Spring with a good layer of organic material. If the crop is heavy thin the fruit as soon as the stones begin to form. Thin so they are 2 - 3 inches apart.

Pruning and Training
Pruning should be carried out in Summer to reduce the chances of the tree being infected with silver leaf. Once the initial shape has been determined, larger trees do not need any further pruning apart from the removal of dead or damaged wood otherwise shorten the new growth to six leaves.

Harvesting and Storage
Pick the plums as they ripen. For cooking and preserving, pick a little earlier, just before the fruit is ripe. Keep the stalk on the fruit as you pick them. They can be frozen or bottled for storage, but it is best to remove the stones.

Pest and Diseases
Wasps and birds can cause problems as can bigger animals such as rabbits. Other insect pests include aphids and Winter moths. The main diseases are silver leaf, canker and brown rot. trees that are affected with silver leaf and canker should be burnt or destroyed immediately.