Giving up on plums?

ltiltonJuly 19, 2013

I was pretty optimistic about my Japanese plums this year. Even when they were hit with a yet-to-be-determined larval pest, most of the fruits weren't affected.

Now, as the Beauty plums turn ripe, the fruits are splitting open, inviting Japanese beetles, wasps and rot. I'm throwing away 10 for every edible fruit. Fruits not yet ripe are showing signs of interior rot, despite my having sprayed twice earlier with propiconazol.

Thinking all this isn't worth it.

Only solution I can think of is picking before fruits turn fully colored, letting them ripen off the tree.

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Is it wet there? Splitting happens when it rains a lot after the fruit starts to ripen.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:06PM
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Does the spitting (in cherries too) happen from rain via the roots taking up enough water that the fruit swells and splits the skin? Or some effect of the rain contacting the skin directly?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:32PM
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Well, we had record deep rains this spring, but summer has been normal. It's very hot, which is drying.

J Plums just seem to rot so easily, at any provocation.

And there's nothing really to do with them other than eat them whole. Maybe if I had freestone plums, but I don't.

Thinking of cutting them down and replacing with prune plums.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:44PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

With sweet cherries it seems to be rain..even a little. My sweets split/rotted like crazy this year (like all of them) and we had a ton of rain...last year we had no rain and they were beautiful. I think splitting is caused by both uptake of roots (too much rain) AND rain hitting the fruit (which also causes rot)...i also wonder how much very high humidity (which we have a lot of) plays into this.

I'm spraying calcium and sulfur on my plums, pluots...but nothing ripe yet.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 1:12PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


It's both direct contact water and root uptake that splits fruit. Heavy rains can split dry fruit under a high tunnel via root uptake. But especially for cherries with their small size, water on the fruit is an issue as well. In the PNW sweet cherry growers are most concerned about water on the fruit. They run air blast sprayers and helicopters to dry the fruit asap.

I had some nectarines split in my greenhouse recently after 0.8 inch water application. No water on the fruit. A few fruit on potted grapes split without any change except cloudy weather.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Fri, Jul 19, 13 at 13:24

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 1:21PM
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You can still eat split cherries. Split plums turn instantly into liquid rot.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 2:00PM
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alan haigh

I wouldn't give up just because Beauty didn't work. I don't grow that one but J. plums are easier than E's here. Both can split with untimely rain- especially in any morning shade, but plums ripening now are fine in spite of very heavy rain that conveniently stopped about 3 weeks ago.

That rain did damage a lot of my own Earli-magic and Methelys, not by cracking them but creating rot spots, but they are still holding a nice crop and ripening now. If I wasn't having so much fun with my early peaches and apricots I'd probably find a couple in the trees ready to eat- both the Meth and EM. I'll get to them this weekend.

I've been eating plenty of Methelys at clients orchards and none of them have the rot spots that mine have. All the rain has simply made them unusually large but has not reduced sugar. Plums don't seem to lose much brix to wet soil.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 5:14PM
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Hi! I have only European plums. I still had my Italian prune/plum split due to all of the heavy rains (only two plums split though). Only one had a brown spot of rot on the bottom. They are now beginning to ripen and turn to purple/blue. They seem to really like the heat in July and Aug. and are winter hardy. Very pretty too. I have five different varieties. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 5:36PM
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Seeing a lot of rot spots, but we haven't had much rain to speak of lately. I was blaming the whateveritwas pest, but now I'm seeing rot in fruits the pests never got to.

As the red-skinned plums get colored, it's harder to spot the rot spot. Shiro, at least, doesn't have that problem.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 7:04PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

You have to pick varieties carefully, most of the California-bred Japanese plums are rot magnets. I would have some data on Beauty for this year but the squirlz stole the few fruits I had. All of my plums so far have come in good though, first Earli Magic (a very good plum in all respects, thanks for the tip hman) and the Purple Heart which just finished. Some of the Shiro that are just starting to ripen have bruising on them, I have not seen that in past years. At least they are not rotting. I did do several MFF sprays, this is the first year I have done more than just a token amount of MFF.

All Euros have proven to be rot magnets to some degree. I was thinning rotten plums a few days ago - the ones that got OFM were rotting and infecting their neighbors. The least rotting Euro has been French Petite aka French Prune.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 7:57PM
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My Beauty plums split. But although the split area turned brown, I could eat either the whole plum or cut out the brown part. Wasn't rotten inside.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 8:18PM
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alan haigh

I wonder why Early Magic didn't catch on if it also works well in the mid-Atlantic but is more cold hardy than Santa Rosa with somewhat similar quality. Not quite as good, maybe, but its earliness and regular cropping more than compensates.

Glad I've learned to graft plums reasonably well because you can't buy Early Magic. My mother tree puts out plenty of wood, folks.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 8:28PM
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Decision has been made. Beauty is going to be grafted over to aprium, of which it's impossible to have too many. The household is unanimous in preferring Methley, which has been relatively free of the problems besetting Beauty.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 8:45PM
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