Shiro plum taste, bagging & howdy

myk1(5 IL)July 19, 2014

I remember people cutting down the flavor of Shiro. I have to say the tree has done great for me. It's full grown producing full sized plums while my Santa Rosa and my friend's Methley planted at the same time are small and not producing much.

I just had a plum fresh off the tree that was full of the flavor you'd expect from a plum. I've also had ones that weren't that good. I think the problem people have is judging ripeness. That's a problem I have with it at least. Of the batch I just ate I couldn't have predicted the difference.

Bagging plums works perfectly here. Not a single one in a bag rotted and they were able to stay on the tree much longer than ones without a bag. Amazing considering how wet and hot it's been and the problem I've been having with a nearby cherry and rot. Bagged a few last year. This year about 30. Next year I hopefully will go all out bagging them.
Earwigs are a problem but better than circulio.

How I've been? Diagnosed with IBD a couple years back after I quit smoking. I've always had it but it's active again and takes my energy. Last year I got nothing done outside. This year as I was getting apples bagged I got pneumonia and had no energy or breath to get more done.
I think fireblight is going to be making things rough on me. Lost 2 young apple trees, another is having a rough time.
Last winter was hard on the grapes, killed them all back to the ground and completely killed 3 out of 6.

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nyRockFarmer(5A Southern Tier, NY)

I have shiro and satsuma on one tree. The shiro is very sweet, but lacks a distinct flavor. The satsuma has berry/cherry flavor, as most dark fleshed plums have. I think that is what people are getting at. As far as I can tell, most people prefer the dark flesh varieties after having tried everything.

The shiro is very vigorous. It is fastest growing tree I have ever planted. It took the satsuma side years to catch up. The shiro has even had amputations from black knot and storm damage. Any open section grows closed by the end of the following year. I wish all of my trees were as vigorous.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 7:36PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

Hi Myk,

Thanks for the report on Shiro. I have it planted, but not fruited. It's the only Asian plum I have (Euro plums do better here.)

I did wonder you'd gone. Sorry to hear about your health battle. Hope you were able to press at least a little of your cider. Glad to hear you are feeling a bit better.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 10:18PM
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myk -what kind of bags do you use?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 10:22PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I'm interested in the bagging, methods, etc. Sounds like something I need to think about. I have Satsuma on several trees, some of which flowered, but the fruit never set...hopefully next year.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 12:49AM
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My Shiro is my only Japanese plum with a substantial crop this year, the others not cropping because of the past winter's cold weather. Considering how frequently Japanese plums fall victim to the weather, this is a strong plus. The weather did thin out the plums, and they're larger and more flavorful than usual, but I'm battling the squirrels for them and really can't let them ripen up as I'd like. As is they're still very good, but I prefer the dark red Japanese plums like Satsuma or Santa Rosa or Improved Duarte. The Shiros would be wiped out by brown rot if I didn't hit them with propiconazole about 3 weeks ago.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 2:11AM
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alan haigh

Shiro is as reliable a J. plum as I know of and about the only one you are likely to see in farmers markets here. If it was the only one I grew I'd have nothing but praise for it, but I just had an Earli-magic plum and I like it's acid sugar balance and meatier texture better. Definitely more interesting to my palate.

Shiro and Methely are both plums that crop reliably, can take relatively cold weather but are not high on the list as far as ultimate quality by many tastes.

If I could stop the rain while Shiro ripens its fruit the sugar would be dialed up a bit and it would be a better plum.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 5:23AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I concur with Hman: its a fine plum but I prefer other ones to it. Earli Magic is a great plum, those just finished for me. Now Purple Heart is ripening, yum! Both of these I like quite a bit more than Shiro. Earli Magic is right next to Shiro and I will be making the Shiro smaller and Earli Magic bigger. I still want to keep Shiro as it is a very different flavor and I like to have a few of them.

One plum I don't prefer to Shiro is AU Roadside. That one just ripened. Its fine enough but lacks flavor and sweetness. My conclusion is the AU plums are for the deep south only, they are very disease resistant but not worthwhile if you are not needing such resistance.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 9:01AM
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alan haigh

Scott, I need to remind you to send me some purple heart wood next year. The first time you sent me some I somehow misplaced it while I was in the process of grafting- set it down SOMEWHERE.

We seem to have similar fruit tastes.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 9:59AM
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myk1(5 IL)

nyRockFarmer, non-distinct is about what my bad ones taste like.

Olpea, I pressed enough last year to make wine and that's about it. Getting that wine transfered out of the primary has been an issue, I may have 5 gallons of apple/honey vinegar by now. I did get cherry and raspberry bottled.
I'll be amazed if I get much for apples this year. They're not looking good. Part of the problem is this year's bloom was drawn out so I couldn't spray the apples early enough when I had the energy and ran out of energy before curculio was done.

ltilton, cheap generic Walmart ziplock sandwich bags. Cut the same as for apples. I tried it with the whole bottom opened but it doesn't seem to make a difference.
I was worried about rot but with none rotting in the bag vs many rotting without I'd say in my yard the bags are the safest bet at least with Shiro. I'll probably approach Santa Rosa with almost as much hesitation if it ever starts putting out full sized fruit and go easy the first year. Maybe start out with 50% bagged.

Harvestman, my friend's Methely had plums set, but that's all I know about it. I only made it out there for one spray so he may have been wiped out by curculio. They said what they had last year was good. In addition to spraying I've taken to pruning his tree to get it to shape. Hopefully next year I'll get to try some of his.
I know my small Santa Rosa last year were as good as I remember from when I tried them as an organic gardener and stumbled on bagging. This year it has one and had very few blooms, perhaps the long cold winter.
Overall I'd pick Santa Rosa over Shiro but those Shiro's I've had that jump into the excellent flavor range makes me think there's something I'm missing either in pruning, thinning or picking. I know I have an easier time knowing when a red one is ripe. Half the time I bring a Shiro in and it no longer looks yellow out of the sun. If I could get all the Shiro to taste like the excellent ones it would be a toss up.
This year has been wet (I'm not complaining, the grapes need it to get established).

Interesting about AU, Scott. Glad I didn't jump on one of those. Definitely not deep south here. I wish I had more room to give to plums but they're not reliable enough here between borers and frost.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:39PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

I bought a multigrafted tree a few years ago with Shiro,three other Plums and an Apricot.Shiro outproduces them right now over ten to one.This is the second year they have fruited and are larger than the previous ones.
Although not my favorite,the fruit is sweet and juicy.I gave one to a coworker and with the first bite,got juice on himself. Brady

Some on the Tree

The Crop this Year-About Five Pounds

They Make a Good Jam too

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 12:15PM
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myk1(5 IL)

I want to make wine but that takes at least 3lbs. Thought about jam but that seems to take just as much or more.
I really want to eat plums (one of the few fruits I want to eat fresh) more.
I just can't commit half or more of my first real harvest to something else yet.

I grab a bowl and some paper towels and have about 8 plums for breakfast.
After today (OK, lunch sometimes) I should be down to what was bagged.

I'm going to ask Gastro if I can take extra meds for prevention next year to make sure I'm doing good enough in spring.
Good thing about plums is they're early enough and grow fast enough that there's not much else to distract from getting them sprayed and bagged in the spring.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 1:48PM
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