How to Ripen Elephant Heart Plums?

jacqueline9CAJuly 14, 2013

I am hoping some of you can help with this problem. We have a small elephant heart plum tree (actually it is a wild plum with elephant heart plums growing on it because it was grafted). Anyway, it is bearing lots of plums. The problem is that each year the bluejays, raccoons, & other critters get 90% of the plums - I think they know to the minute when they are ripe. So, my question is: can these plums be picked before they are ripe and then ripened in my kitchen, like tomatoes, or not? If yes, what is the best method? Thanks very much for your help - sorry I am so ignorant.


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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Jackie, Japanese plums picked a bit early and left to sit out will be edible but will not taste as good as tree-ripened ones. If its that or nothing then that may be your only option. I never pick my plums early, I'd rather get a third of them as ripe plums than a full load of underripe ones.

You should look into netting or otherwise protecting your trees. I have a plum ripening now and there is a squirrel trap right next to it and nuts all around the base of the tree to redirect the squirrel from plums to my trap.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Thanks, Scott. That is exactly what I wanted to know. I hadn't thought about squirrels - we have loads of them. We also have a doe with a 2 week old fawn in tow who hangs out in that part of the garden.

I will try netting and see what happens - thanks again.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 6:43PM
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Do elephant heart plum trees have thorns? Is Santa Rosa really a good pollinator? How vigorous are the trees?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 11:18PM
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alan haigh

I recommend against black monofiliment netting and suggest you try a woven product such as provided by American netting, which sells 30X30' sections of the stuff.

It is more expensive but much easier to use- install it a couple of weeks before first ripening and remove immediately after harvest and it should last for years. You need to completely close off the tree and hope squirrels aren't hungry enough to chew through it.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2014 at 7:04AM
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