Plum trees with thorns

milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)April 6, 2013

I couldn't help myself at Costco the other day; I brought home a Black Ice plum tree. I actually never knew plum trees had thorns.

Can I remove the thorns or will this leave openings for disease? Are the plums hard to harvest with these thorns?

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Beeone(4 N. Wyo.)

Interesting. I just got a Black Ice plum tree from Fedco nursery a couple days ago and planted it this evening. Not a thorn on it.

I have quite a grove of plums that have thorns, and my blue plums do too. I just figured that most plums have thorns and the newer varieties don't.

I think you can remove the thorns without worry as you generally have a fairly dry climate so disease transmission will be less likely. However, as the tree grows, it will produce new thorns so it will be an ongoing battle.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 2:36AM
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alan haigh

I just had a podiatrist pull a huge thorn out of my foot that I'm guessing was from a plum tree. Strangely I didn't even feel it going in- it probably fell into my boot and gradually worked in- didn't start to hurt for weeks. The Methely plum can produce some nasty thorns.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 7:21AM
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I too have seen some thorns on plum trees but not to any
great extent. When I lived in Minnesota, the nursery I worked at would bud jap x american hybrid plums to
Prunus americana rootstock. American plum can be extremely thorny. I just hope you have a true black ice
plum and not just rootstock.

I know many of the jap x american hybrids like Underwood, Superior, LaCrescent ect can be budded to
american plum. If I recall correctly, Black Ice was very slow in coming out on the market due to propagation issues. I am not sure what rootstock is being used for

Keep us posted when it starts fruiting! What are you using for a pollinator for Black Ice?

I contacted Dr. Brian Smith about Black Ice last fall. He sent me some nice pictures and info on his introduction.
Supposed to be propagated by budding onto P. americana or mahaleb rootstocks.

Cross pollination needed from Toka,Sapalta or american
plum (best). Alderman, Superior and LaCrescent may also work most years as pollinators. The big issue is that
Black Ice blooms late so some plum varieties may not be
in bloom late enough some years to do the job well.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:46AM
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They don't make thorns like a rose, cactus, or even an Orange...

The thorns are the hard, pointy ends of dormant branches and twigs... In the spring - the "Thorns" leaf out and aren't thorny any more...


    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 1:56PM
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alan haigh

John I haven't found that to be the case with some varieties like Methely.

MH, your plums are very unlikely to have been grafted to American plum RS as none of the nurseries you deal with use it.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:29PM
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Interesting - as my Methley is very spiny...

My European plums like Italian Prune are not spiny..

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 11:39AM
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