I planted a Stanley prune plum in April '05. It was about 1/2" caliper in a 5 gallon pot when purchased. It looks happy enough, but hasn't developed any flower buds. Any idea why?
I put in a Stanley prune in the spring of 2006 and it is blooming and setting fruit for the first time this year. It would have been a 2 year old tree when planted, so it's taken it four years. I'd imagine time of first blooming depends on a whole range of variables, like climate, rootstock, soil fertility, how it is pruned and so on. My guess is that if it looks happy, next year will be the big event.
What is the sun situation of your plum tree? Is it partially shaded by larger trees or buildings during part of the day? Nearly all fruit trees develop fruiting wood faster in full sun.
Agree there are other variables, as cited by Austransplant, but in my experience European plum types are somewhat slower to initiate bloom than Japanese or hybrid types. I have a Green Gage that is now over 10 years, and still has only spotty patches of blooms, while the hybrids cover themselves in blooms within about 3 years. Summer pruning to keep the tree open so light strikes the scaffold branches can help.
Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA
Thank you both. I don't know the rootstock, but I believe the tree was by Stark Bros sold through a local nursery. It sounds like it may be almost mature enough. The tree has good sun, sits at the top of a small slope, is protected from winter winds by woodland edge to the north and west. I have not done much fruit tree pruning and wouldn't have thought to prune in summer (just late winter). I will look at that in July.
I am interested to know that Green Gage are so slow. Is there another plum that either of you especially like for eating and cooking that might be speedier?
My experience with Green Gage may not be typical. I think the tree came from Millers in NY, and I do not know the rootstock, which they do not specify unless asked. Nevertheless, it is well sited in excellent soil, and I have been pruning and shaping it for years, while watching little clusters of blooms in spring that seldom set fruit. One year it actually did have 3-4 plums, but they fell victim to surface mildew.
This season it had more blooms than normal, and appears to have set some plums, but the jury is still out until they begin to really grow. I am sure they will be delicious plums if I ever get some.
In contrast, a Japanese/American hybrid right nearby, actually a few years younger than the Green Gage, is covered with little plums, and will require extensive thinning. I am not really the expert to ask on plums. I pretty much like them all. Maybe your Stanley will surprise you next season, and it is a great plum for canning/preserving, but a little interior pruning in late July/early August can't hurt to expose the interior to more sunlight.
I've got a Green Gage (5/8" caliber branched bareroot from Willis; unknown rootstock) that I planted in late fall of '07 and was surprised to see setting fruit now. I've been removing all the fruit and, after reading the above, hope that I don't have to wait a decade for the next round of fruit.
Bought and planted what purported to be a dwarf Stanley prune (sapling)in 2009. It is blooming for the first time. What worries me is the fact that the little tree(~4' high) has red leaves and looks very much like an ornamental plum that came with the house. Also blooms are pink. The nursery from which I bought turned out to be crooked and has numerous complaints against it at the state justice department, Tennessee I think. Can someone please tell me what a Stanley prune is supposed to look like? Thanks