Plums

Support the pollinators while growing fresh fruit!

Plums make beautiful, small landscape trees, along with providing delicious fruit.  The varieties we carry are self-fertile, and therefore may be planted alone in the home landscape.  However, for maximum fruit production and quality, plant two different varieties of plums.  Our plums are Japanese varieties (Prunus salycina), the most familiar fresh plums in the U.S and better adapted to Texas than the European varieties.

Plant your trees 10 to 15 feet apart.  Consult our Fruits, Pecans, & Berries page for further instructions.  The most troublesome pest of the plum is the plum curculio.

Pruning

Varieties

It takes about 4 years for a plum tree to mature and produce a significant harvest.

Once production begins, thinning the fruit so that they about 6” apart is essential for larger, more flavorful fruit, and the health of the tree.  Start removing fruit when it is about the size of a jelly bean.

Pruning Plums

Use open center method

At planting

Cut main stem back to a height of 24” to 30”.  If there are any branches that are suitable for scaffold branches (strong, evenly-spaced, lateral branches at wide angles to main stem), cut these back leaving 2 – 3 buds on each, as shown on the left in the diagram.  If not, cut all branches back, leaving only the main stem. Allow tree to grow freely the first year.

At the end of the first growing season, your tree should be shaped similar to the one shown.

First dormant season after planting

(December-January)  Select three or four primary scaffold branches.  Do not select ones that grow directly above one another, but rather, branches with a 45˚ branch angle, avoiding upright branches with a very narrow angle.  Plums produce upright growth, so to promote tree spread, scaffolds can be bent outward while they are still flexible.

The shape of the open center must be maintained throughout the life of the tree.

Make pruning cuts as indicated during the first dormant season.
Ideal shape for a plum after its first year of pruning.

Plum Varieties for Central Texas

Methley

  • Chill Hours 250
  • Medium sized fruit with amber to reddish flesh and purplish skin
  • Self-fertile with fruit ripening in early June
  • Clingstone flesh, with good quality for fresh eating and jams
  • Recommended pollinator for all other varieties of plums

Santa Rosa

  • Chill Hours 300-400
  • Large fruit with red, firm, tender, extremely juicy, low acid flesh and purple-red skin
  • Self-fertile variety that ripens in June
  • Clingstone flesh with good quality for fresh eating and jams
  • Developed by Luther Burbank and introduced in 1906