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PLUM

Prunus spp.

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Plums are a diverse group of species. The commercially important plum trees are medium-sized, usually pruned to 5–6 m in height, but without pruning can reach 12 m tall. The tree is of medium hardiness and blossoms in different months in different parts of the world. Fruits are generally medium sized, between 2.5 to 7.5 cm in diameter, globose to oval, with a firm and juicy flesh. The fruit's peel is smooth, with a natural waxy surface that adheres to the flesh. The plum is a drupe, meaning its fleshy fruit surrounds a single hard seed. Mature plum fruit may have a dusty-white coating that gives them an opaque appearance. Dried plum fruits are called dried plums or prunes, although prunes are a distinct type of plum, and may have pre-dated the fruits now commonly known as plums.

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Fruiting time
Summer

Harvesting

Fruit have the best flavor when left to ripen on the tree. You can tell when plums are ripe by applying gentle pressure with your fingers. If the skin of the fruit feels soft, then it is ready to be picked. Plums should come off the tree easily. Commercial farmers will test for sugar content and will only start to harvest if the plum have reached a high enough sugar level. They do not continue to ripen after been picked!

Propagation

Seed
Crack the hard outer shell and remove. Seeds need cold stratification(give them a cold winter or in the fridge for about 8-10 weeks)and plant in the Spring.
Cuttings
The commercial way of propagating plums is grafting or budding unto a rootstock e.g. Marianna
Layering
Rootstock like Marianna is propagated by laying down a branch and removing all the new shoots with roots after they are strong enough.

Geography

Origin
Asia and East Europe

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Acid
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Personality

Family
Rosaceae
Flower colour
White
Scent
Mild

Problems

Plum trees can suffer from silver leaf disease, scale, bacterial canker, fruit fly and weevils or snout beetles often nibble little round holes in the leaves.

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