Opinions on Shropshire Damson plum

milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)July 5, 2012

I have been disappointed with my Shropshire damson. I've had it since 2008 and it never seems to grow and it's not produced anything yet. It did bloom this year, but has aborted it's fruit already. It is on St. Julien rootstock.

I'm beginning to think it's like a pear tree and I may have to wait 10 years. Is this a worthwhile tree to keep for jam and such? I was thinking to replace it with a Geneva Mirabelle or an Ersinger.

What I really want is to make plum dumplings. I don't know what the Germans use for their dumplings, maybe Konrad would know. They are to die for and my mouth waters at the thought.

Here is a link that might be useful: Zwetschgenknödel

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Those dumplings in your link look really delicious and I'm intrigued being of German ancestry on one side and an enthusiastic grower of fruit.

The bit of Google browsing I've done suggests that what are called Zwetschgen are Italian Prune Plums or very similar. These would be free stone, high sugar, relatively low moisture purple skinned European plums.

I've yet to try a fresh damson, but from what I've read they are quite astringent and not very sweet. They don't sound very similar to prune plums aside from being European and great for cooking. (I find prune plums amongst the best for fresh eating, much better than Asian plums).

If you are able to graft, or know somebody who is, it would be pretty straightforward to graft one or more varieties of prune plums to your damson while retaining some of the damson in case it chooses to produce at some point.

Other things to consider is that for good production your tree should in full sun or close to it. Make sure it doesn't get too much fertilizer (like if its on a lawn that gets high nitrogen), and that its in a location that doesn't get freezing temperatures after the fruit buds swell, bloom, etc. It's purported to be self-fertile, but probably still needs pollinating insects to be active while it is in bloom (I assume it supplies its own pollen but doesn't necessarily self deposit it in the right place).

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 6:47PM
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Milehighgirl! I have an Italian plum/prune tree and it finally set fruit this year. It went in in 2009 and as of this year dropped all but 17 plums. I think patience is the answer whatever variety. I do remember an old post from Harvestman, saying he really liked his Damson and it produced very well. Mrs. G PS the dumpling recipe is now bookmarked!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 9:35PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I found a site that says the plum dumplings are made with Italian prune plums.

Here is a link that might be useful: German Food Guide

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 1:07PM
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alan haigh

I would expect that Damson would create a more acidic version than Italian type plums but the Damson should be easy to grow although your rootstock may not be vigorous enough for your conditions. Citation is the only dwarfing rootstock I've used for plums and I wouldn't want to go any smaller than that except under very pampered conditions.

If you leave the Damson plums on the tree long enough they do become sweet enough for eating out of hand but not anything like a ripe prune plum. Still, they are excellent for preserves and tarts and here bear more reliably than most E. plums with extremely heavy set.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 4:48PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

Would Castleton or Empress be a better choice? Cummins has them on Krymsk 1.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 11:11PM
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alan haigh

Both of those are excellent prune plums, Empress is later and larger but both get the very high brix, are luscious when fully ripe and, at least here, bear quite reliably. I know nothing about Krmsk- is it dwarfing? Castleton is already a very compact (and spreading) tree, even on Myro, and might become short lived on anything dwarfing.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 6:10AM
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I used to have an accidental Damson. It was sold to me and labeled as Stanley. It began to produce in about the 3rd year IIRC (this was about 25 years ago). It was very productive. Fruit was much too astringent to eat out of hand until dead ripe, amber, and soft, and then it wasn't too bad, not dissimilar to a dead ripe prune plum. Very small, of course. I rather wish at times I had another one...need to put that on the list for next year.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 9:00AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

denninmi - your damson was amber? Or is that the flesh you mean? I've never seen a damson that wasn't purple/blue/black in colour.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 11:54AM
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No, the flesh was amber colored when dead ripe (green when first picked).

Skin color was the regular purple/blue color.

Sorry to confuse.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 12:24PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I'm going to ignore the last post. No, I won't buy from you, and I reported the abuse to GardenWeb.

I did, however, order a Castleton from Cummins. Of course since I have to pay for shipping I might as well buy an Eden peach, along with the Harrow Delight. Maybe even a White Gold cherry to replace the one the mice girdled. Oh, and Debbie's Gold apricot looks pretty good too.....

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:19AM
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I have besides the Italian prune plum, three mirabelles and one Reine Claude de Bavay. Trying the two major varieties of Mirabelle is very exciting. Though they are very small plums, they are unusual in the US. I have Metz and two Nancy. You might think of giving these a try. Spraying for borers in July on these trees in very important.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:20PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

MrsG47, I would like to try a Mirabelle. The only one Cummins is selling this year is the NY Mirabelle. I would like to know how that one compares. If I start ordering from more than one company I can get myself in real trouble. I have Fruit Acquisition Disorder and so far there is no cure for it.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:47PM
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