Plums 2013

Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)September 2, 2013

How did your plums do this year? I had several varieties fruit for the first time, here is my log info.

Spring Satin Very good as usual, aromatic flesh and similar to Flavor Supreme in flavor - a great super-early plum! Squirlz got most of them however. I classify this as a plum because besides the bit of fuzz and the earliness its a plum in every other respect. Don't let it overset, they are bland then.

Earli Magic - A very good plum, when left to hang they have a very good flavor. Not tart, more on the aromatic side. That plus earliness makes them a winner, probably a notch better than Spring Satin.

Purple Heart - These guys hang purple a long time before softening - it makes it hard to keep all the critters off of them. I did not thin enough, the fruits want to be large so it needs more thinning than Satsuma. Taste is very similar to Satsuma, not exactly all the same flavors but many common ones and every bit as good as Satsuma. Good as an earlier, larger, just as reliable version of Satsuma, and one of my favorites. I have no idea why this plum is not more popular.

Beauty - An early one was fine but too early to tell much.

Shiro - This is an extremely reliable yellow plum. They are not as flavorful as some of the best but when left to hang a long time they are a nice refreshing treat.

Santa Rosa - Excellent as usual and I got a good crop of them. Will probably need to start thinning next year, every year the fruit set has increased until now its almost to overset.

Flavor Supreme - one excellent fruit on the whole tree.

Weeping SR - In a crammed spot but produces a few great fruits, better than SR by a notch.

Lavinia - I only had a few and some critter got most so only ate not fully ripe ones, but they are looking to be an EXCELLENT plum.. They have an unusual flavor that I call papaya for lack of a better class; its something papaya-ish. Barely turning red at ripening time, very orange flesh. Satsuma sized is their only weakness, no bug etc problems on them.

Flavor King - Birds pecking before they are fully ripe. It also cracked. At least it didn't rot since I sprayed MFF this year. Overall this guy is too much work for my climate and it will probably get removed this winter.

Satsuma - Excellent as usual, overall my favorite because of the huge load, long ripening window, and very good flavor and texture. Produces a huge tasty crop even if not thinned well. I gave some Satsuma plum jam to a friend and they thought I had added cloves to the jam recipe, that is how noticeable the clove flavor is.

Fortune - these plums are red forever and never seem to ripen. I had one that was sort of ripe that was a decent but not great plum. The tree is not setting well.

RubyQueen - This tree set few plums this year after I let it overset last year. Still, even with only a few fruits they had no flavor. Thats two years out of three with no good flavor on this tree, so I removed it.

Pearl - An excellent Euro plum if it would only produce.

French Petite - Flavor excellent when fully ripe; too many bug problems on it however.

Laroda - A late plum something like Santa Rosa. Did not get enough fruits to get a firm opinion but if it starts setting more it could be a good one.

Mariposa - A late red-fleshed plum that seems very good; more experience needed.

Flavor Grenade - Big elongated fruits, great set, and I had no rot this year with MFF. They are good but too much a "sweet candy" taste for me. The tree still has most of the plums hanging and they are improving so the final word is not in yet on this one. Anyway, for a pluot in my climate its awesome, besides the rotting it is reliable and does not crack.

Middleburg - An excellent Euro plum.

None of my Euros produced many fruits, I mis-pruned them for many years (the trees were too closely planted and I left on too many scaffolds and shoots) and turned them into wood machines. Also the curc and OFM really go after them, and the green aphids make a total mess every May and seem to set the trees back all summer. I greatly prefer the Japanese types based on all these problems with the Euros. Its too bad because nothing can beat the rich sweetness of a good tree-ripened European plum.

I added a bunch of new California plums a few years ago and they are starting to fruit now. I am pleasantly surprised that they are not rotting/cracking very much, and bacterial spot has been fine on most of them, but none of them has produced well so far.


This post was edited by scottfsmith on Mon, Sep 2, 13 at 20:04

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franktank232(z5 WI)

Excellent report as usual... can't wait for my Satsuma to fruit next year. I have some in the yard (winter is probably going to zap them) and some in pots.

Do you have Dapple Dandy? I have a bunch out there, beautiful perfect fruits, but still not ripe. My Flavor King are also still ripening...looks like at least another week of hot weather, so hopefully they make it before frost!

I really like Flavor Supreme and its nice and early, even up here. Emerald Drop was another I really enjoy. If you want candy sweet, try has almost no flavor, just sugar.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 9:28PM
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You make me wish I'd kept my Spring Satin tree. The few fruits it ever made were just delicious.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Frank, I don't have Dapple Dandy. In ten years growing pluots, this year is the first time I got a good fruit set which didn't rot or crack -- my Flavor Grenade actually pulled through for me. Too many years of getting next to nothing on my Flavor King/Supreme dampened my enthusiasm for pluots. I'll be interested to hear how you find the Dapple Dandy. If there was a pluot that was just like Flavor Supreme except it set a lot of fruit I would grab it in a second. I may try hand pollinating my FS this spring to see if that gets me there.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:32PM
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austransplant(MD 7)

Thanks Scott for a really helpful post. My experience was a little different from you. Spring Satin fruited for the first time this year. The taste of the few I got was excellent, but it was a curculio magnet. The Satsuma right next to it had many fewer curculio attacks. On the whole this year in MD Oriental fruit moth pressure was low.

On the other hand, my Stanley, a Euro plum, has a huge crop and over the last few years has suffered relatively little fruit moth or curculio pressure, and the squirrels seem to leave it alone since it is only starting to ripen now. I also had Imperial Epineuse ripen this year, another Euro plum. It ripened in early August; good tasting but the squirrels and birds got most. Again, very little insect pressure on these.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:52PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Scott, when you describe issues pruning Euro plums, is it just that you were using heading cuts instead of thinning? Or is there some other secret to make them fruitful in tight spaces?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:57PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

Thanks Scott for the report. I'm going to add Weeping Santa Rosa as it has value in fruit and looks. I'm looking more to create an edible landscape and any trees with ornamental value are worth knowing about. I hope I have better luck with pluots. It is drier in the Midwest than the mid-Atlantic or Northeast as pointed out by statistical data from the National Weather Service. Mostly due to the Great Lake effect.
We do have commercial production of pluots in MI too, so hoping they come out better here. If not they will be removed too.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 6:36AM
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Always interesting to get these types of evaluations...even when I can't grow the varieties!
We pulled a small crop of plums this year for the first time.

when full ripe the superior were fantastic, juice bombs with plenty of sweet to off set the tart skin. Many split before full ripe...maybe close to 1/3

The gracious were very good as well, and the skin is less objectionable to many...but overall the flavor was not as intense and rich. but i did prefer the firmer flesh when ripe.

We got just one Kaga. It was small, but had good consistency and a unique "perfumed" flavor for lack of a better word....I liked it, wife loved it. It was also mostly freestone which was a pleasant surprise.

Alderman are still ripening. I like firmness of the flesh, the size and color, but so far the flavor is pretty blah

Waneta are nice but nothing special coming in at the same time as Superior and gracious. They have cracked less.

Hopefully the Lavinia will crop next year for us.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 8:59AM
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I'll give my southern report. Got outstanding production ( 140 lbs)
from AU Rubrum with excellent taste and no brown rot. can't say the same for AU Producer or AU Roadside. They were both very stingy with their fruits, as was Methley, so all three will be gone.
Got good production from Santa Rosa. This tree grows like a weed. Mine is only in its' fourth leaf and is taller than my house, but it is going also because I don't care for sweet tart plums. Ozark Premier is going also for the same reason, as well as Ruby Queen because it loves to brown rot.
Next year I will be replacing these with another AU Rubrum,
Spring Satin plumcot, Flavor Grenade and Flavor Queen pluots. I'd rather get Flavorich, but I can only find it on Citation rootstock, which is not drought tolerant, and won't do for me. I can get the other two on Myro. If anyone knows where I can get Flavorich on Myro, please speak up.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 9:18AM
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This year I got fruit from all four of the varieties on my frankenplum.

Beauty - it went. Fruit cracked and split and rotted, and when I got any, no one wanted to eat it with the sour skin.

Methley - bore prodigiously in July, right at the same time as Beauty. Sweet and juicy flesh, skins not too bad. Small fruits that you can pop whole in your mouth to keep from being juicebombed. Will keep.

Shiro - sort of bland taste. Needs to ripen on the tree til the skin turns translucent before it gets sweet. Turning half of it over to Hollywood.

Hollywood - a happy surprise. First time I got any fruit from this one, and it ripens late, in the wasp season. Nice firm freestone flesh, good sweetness and flavor. Best of the bunch.

Stanley - just starting to ripen. Fruit large and firm and sweet. After losing the whole crop to frost and pests last year, it rebounded bountifully, even after losing quite a lot in July to the late curculio strike.

A good year for plums, after a bad start when I was ready to look for the chainsaw.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 9:53AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Flavor Supreme-Very good, red flesh, early.

Splash-Pure sugar, no flavor, nice color (orange flesh), early.

Emerald Drop-Sweet, yellow/orange flesh, good flavor (unlike any plum) hint of lemon?

Geo Pride=Excellent. Hang very nicely, beautiful color/reddish flesh, sweet flavor/nice texture.

Flavor Queen=not ripe yet
Flavor King=not ripe yet
Dapple Dandy=not ripe yet
Flavor Grenade=my kid hung on the branch and broke it off!

Alderman- Blah taste. Very generic flavor. Nice flesh, huge size, no cracking, hangs for a little while..but gets mushy after a few weeks. Fast growing. Sets the perfect amount of fruit.

Superior- Great flavor when fully ripe, nice looking, sets too many fruits, uneven ripening (too many fruit?), very juicy, if not allowed to ripen completely they are very sour, but when they do ripen they fall to the ground. Tree was cut (but was grafted to several other trees).

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 11:04AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Bob, I was doing too many heading cuts and not enough thinning cuts, and I let the trees get too vigorous roots whereupon it was hard to get them back in line. I slowly figured out how to solve the problem, a combination of major winter thinning plus summer heading plus summer thinning.

Austransplant, its good to hear things are going well for your Euros. Hopefully once my Euros settle down I will do well with them.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 11:14AM
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Italian Prune Plum, first large crop of 200 plums. That is huge for my very young orchard. They turned into tarts and I just put up 8 pints of jam, and oh is it ever good. I still have 20 left for a fab dessert.

My other four plum trees are also European and will not fruit until hopefully next year. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 11:37AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


I took my Splash and Emerald Drop both out. They are good just too many things better.

My favorites, all pluots are from earliest to latest:

Flavor Supreme
Geo Pride
Flavor Grenade
Flavor King
Crimson Royale
Honey Punch
Flavor Finale
Flavor Treat

My harvest right now is between Honey Punch, ave 28 brix this year, and Flavor Finale. FS starts in May and FT finishes in October.

I'm down from ~20 plums 10 years ago to Burgundy only one left and it's cut back 90% after harvest this year. It's about 24 brix but not nearly as good tasting as Honey Punch that ripens about same time.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 12:44PM
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My only producing plum is a Green Gage which is about 9 years old and nearly 20 ft high - 2 years ago got first 2 fruit, last year none. This year it set many but lost a lot due to plum curculio. I had about 3 dozen on the tree near end of July but then lost about a third due to fruit dropping with ugly purple marks - ? unsure what it was. The remaining ~ 2 dozen were harvested during the 3rd week of Aug and were delicious - sweet, juicy, very strong flavor, each rather small (about 3-3.5 cm across). A few I left in the fridge until they shriveled a bit and they were even more sweet and juicy. My wife wants me to grow more plums like these!
Anyone with experience with the other gage plums or the other non-prune type Euro plums - I am looking to try more varieties to extend the season?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 12:49PM
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alan haigh

I'd like to get some Mariposa wood.

Elephant heart is still the best quality J. plum I've harvested this year. Been my favorite for almost 50 years (45, anyway). Bigger, meatier and tangier that Satsuma, but Sat is so much more grower friendly- except I've been getting a strange chlorosis on entire branches this year.

I'm probably going to cut down my Elephant Heart because it hasn't done well where it is and will graft some of it's wood elsewhere. Two EH trees in my nursery bore very well this year and 3 trees I manage elsewhere also did a good job this year. It also has the longest bearing period of any J. I grow.

It would probably work well in a pot. Excessive vigor seems to be it's liability here that creates problems with the fruit- cracking and pitch pocket and unreliable cropping.

Scott have you tried to grow Castleton?

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 5:43PM
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Guys just wanted to check in that this was a really nice report for one of the best if not best fruit of all when tree ripened and probably the most underrated fruit of all time. A properly ripened Euro plum indeed is insane!! I never knew during the summers in Iran about the categories of Japanese and Euro plums... but now in retrospect I know distinctly my favorite one had to be a Euro--in fact similar looking to Middleburg in many respects based on drawings of Middleburg. Thanks to all for these reports, helps a ton. My plums I grafted this year so nothing yet.

My only 2013 experience to report was that Citation for Euro plum does make an obvious difference for precocity as Scotts previously mentioned tips on this. I had fruit actually set on first year citation planted Euro plum... of course aborted the fruit but just sayin bloomed and set a few fruit... So anyone thinking of trialing Euros... I found a French Improved on Citation and then made it multi grafted... Japanese plums are spectacular too IMO and I may just end up growing Japanese in the long run.

I'd say we can categorize these into some rough flavor categories too that maybe others with more samplings can chime in on. I've had limited samplings but I think I detect a tropical flavor note (which I enjoy) in the Superior plum for example which resembles the flavor profile of a Santa Rosa too--the Santa Rosas I had were from farmers market and had amber flesh-are they supposed to? The rest of the Santa Rosa fruit attributes matched Santa Rosa. The Shiros are magic mushy balls of great sweetness. I've never had a ripe satsuma but it seems like its in a different category. Also comments on the skin attributes--tartness levels of the skin and unpleasant chewiness of the skin--would be awesome. Also Shiro soft, Superior/Santa Rosa firmer for me.

Glad to see all the interest in the plum :).

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 6:34PM
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alan haigh

ebone, I find Oullins to be easier to grow and similar quality to Green Gage. Haven't grown any other gages but Raintree has a couple that are proven to do well in the northeast- I think Cambridge gage might be one of them. Haven't tasted it for a long time but I know I thought it was very good (if I remember the name right).
Several prune plums are outstanding and even sweeter than Green Gage when left on the tree. I ate some Valors today that couldn't possibly be improved on and some Castletons that were almost as good. The gages tend to crack if inopertune rain occurs. Prune plums have more flexible skin, it seems.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 7:09PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Hman, ask me for Mariposa this winter. I have this one and a bunch of other California Japanese plums thanks to Grover who is no longer with us. He brought back a ton of stuff from the CRFG swaps in California that he generously shared with me.

PersianMD, I agree on the Euros, every year I think of taking them out and every year I get a few plums that are so awesome I know I could never do that.

Superior is related to Santa Rosa I expect, they do have some common flavor. There is a whole Santa Rosa school of flavor out there, many plums are descended from SR and they have tart skin. Satsuma is another common type, the red fleshed meaty plums which never have tart skin. I don't know much like Shiro, it is a complex cross and is fairly unique. The pluots are a school in my mind, they all taste fairly similar, at least the ones I have had. One thing I like about Lavinia is it is not in the standard schools of plums, like Shiro its something unique. I assume some different Japanese plum types were imported into Europe from Japan and Lavinia came from them.


    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

Nice report Scott. Santa Rosa, Shiro,and Beauty are consistent for me here. Flavor supreme pluot is very good but so few. Hopefully next year my Flavor King and Flavor Grenade will produce some for me to try.


This post was edited by tonytran on Wed, Sep 4, 13 at 9:36

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 10:47PM
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Quoting Fruitnut,

"I'm down from ~20 plums 10 years ago to Burgundy only one left and it's cut back 90% after harvest this year..."

I'll probably do the same thing with my Satsuma and Santa Rosa plums, they are not worth the trouble, I will probably replace them with Flavor King and Flavor Grenade pluots.

The only plum that is worth growing is Mariposa plum; you should plant one. It's delicious and very juicy, too. Pollinator needed: Krauter Vesuvious myrobalan plum and Santa Rosa plum will do the job.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 11:49PM
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Scot, What pollinators do you use for your Mariposa plum?
When does it blooms?

If we have a warmer than average winter (Here in California), it blooms early January.

On the other hand, if we have a cold winter, it blooms early March and Mid-to late-Feb in average winters.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 11:56PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Flavor Queen a dud? Mine taste a lot like Emerald Drop...not quite as good...

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 11:58PM
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" Posted by rayrose

... so all three will be gone.... it is going ... Ozark Premier is going ... as well as Ruby Queen....

I'd rather get Flavorich, but I can only find it on Citation rootstock, ... If anyone knows where I can get Flavorich on Myro, please speak up."

Buy a Flavorich on Citation. Pot it. Next dormant season top one of the trees you were going to nuke and graft Flavorich onto it. It is possible if the bareroot has reasonably decent branches (pencil diameter) you can direct top graft from it and pot the rest of the tree.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 12:22AM
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I would appreciate a description of Kaga by anyone growing it.
I am suspicious the scion I got a few years ago is something else. Most of the Internet descriptions list it as a small purple black plum around 1"

We only got two this year but they were closer to 2" and a nice deep dark red. Very short stem,actually holding the top of the plums against the branch. slightly wider around than tall with a nearly flat bottom. With a distinct smell....almost perfumed. I did not take good note of the flesh this Kaga? If not, any thoughts what it may was very good, sweet and firm, no astringency in the skin. Nearly freestone......toka perhaps?

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 7:46AM
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Posted by Fascist_Nation

I'm intrigued by your suggestion and very grateful for it, but I've never grafted anything before, and would not know quite what to do.

Next dormant season top one of the trees you were going to nuke and graft Flavorich onto it. It is possible if the bareroot has reasonably decent branches (pencil diameter) you can direct top graft from it and pot the rest of the tree.

When you say top the tree, do you mean at the bud union or higher up. The Ozark Premier and Ruby Queen are both one year old trees, while the others have much wider trunks.
They're grafted onto peach rootstock. How much of the Flavorich would you graft? As you can tell, I'd have lots of question, and would not know where to start.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 9:44AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I'm surprised at how popular pluots are, I like them and everything but the ones I have are similar enough and the taste is not interesting enough for me to want to grow more than a couple of them. So, even though I can't grow many of them I'm not crying over it. Flavor Grenade is proving to be average as far as plum flavor goes, the later ones are sweeter but nothing new is emerging in the flavor.

What pollinators do you use for your Mariposa plum?
When does it blooms?

weatherman, my list of pollinators is above :-) I don't really know whats pollinating what but with so many plums I don't have to worry about the proper polllinator.

I don't recall it being outside of the normal bloom period. Most Japanese plums have a similar bloom time for me.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 12:59PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


I'd generally agree with your assessment of pluots. I think on average they are sweeter than plums, noticeably. They have succeeded in that part of the breeding effort and that's enough for some people at least for a while. Especially after eating store bought fruit. But past Flavor Supreme, Flavor King, Crimson Royale, Honey Punch, and Flavor Finale I'd not rate the flavor aspect all that high. I've grown Flavor Grenade as sweet as almost anything can get, 32+ brix. But past the sweetness and crunch it's not that great tasting.

That said I've not found plums any better than pluot for flavor. They're just less sweet. I'll also add it's very difficult to evaluate either unless one can have a steady supply for several years. If frost, rot, or critters take most of the fruit or force one to harvest too soon it's difficult or impossible to make a good judgement.

I've also come to about the same conclusion flavorwise on sweet cherry. I can easily grow 25-32 brix sweet cherries. I just don't find the flavor all that interesting. But for people buying 16-18 brix sweet cherries in the store 25 brix is amazing.

Both brix and flavor are very dependent on culture and climate. It's as much about culture as cultivar or species.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Thu, Sep 5, 13 at 13:46

    Bookmark   September 5, 2013 at 1:34PM
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alan haigh

One thing I can say about plums, for Euros dawn to dusk sun is crucial to get really over the top, OMG quality.

Last week I ate plums from two different sites with complete sun exposure. At one there were ripe Senecas and Green gages of which I only grow the gage. Both the Seneca and GG was unbelievably delicious while at my site that gets shut out from sun after mid-afternoon the Green Gages are only good.

At the other site (further south) the Valors are ripe and also as good as I can imagine any plum or fruit could be, while my Valors are merely very good.

This is a trend that has gone on for many seasons.

This is not the case with J. plums, which seem not to be affected by some shade. My peaches also reach as good or better quality as peaches on either of these sites (the southern site has soil that holds too much water for perfect peaches so mine are consistently better).

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 5:35PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Do you think Euro plums would do well in the cooler parts of my greenhouse? Highs upper 80s, lows low 60s.

I grew Stanley in Amarillo. The fruit was good but tree died young. I've got Bavey's green gage outdoors now but it looks to be going out from bacterial canker. Indoors I've had no such issues on other fruits.

I know you like Valor and Castleton. Any other recommendations like Vision?

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 7:52PM
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alan haigh

FN, there are so many wonderful plums if you don't have to worry about the affects of rain. I should think that temp range would work well with plums like Oullins and Seneca that ripen here during the hot days of summer and probably ones that have grown well in CA such as Imperial Epineuse which is hard to grow here because of brown rot.

I haven't grown Vision, (I don't think Adams has offered it) but it ripens late when temps usually begin to cool here, however, that doesn't mean it wouldn't do well where this doesn't happen.

In the end, I'm only guessing and probably not a very good source to refer to on what will do well there. I only hope you try a couple of the really rich ones such as those I rave about so maybe you can appreciate them also.

I'm a huge E. plum fan and find the good ones more complex the the J's. .

    Bookmark   September 6, 2013 at 8:14PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

ACN is carrying Vision this year. This spring I planted Castleton and Seneca and I'm planning to add a 3rd. I've been trying to decide between Vision, Bluebyrd, President, and Valor. Harvestman's description of Valor sounds pretty good, but the later harvest (11 days per ACN) from Vision and President (19 days, at Sept 20) are also interesting. Has anyone grown Vision or President and can describe its disease resistance?

At the farmer's market today I got some Stanley plums (I thought they were Castletons, until I asked while paying). They are a bit better than last year, as one hit 15 brix, but most were in the 11-13 range (last year was 11-12).

Over the last 2 weeks, the Castletons from that vendor were pretty good, with most in the 15-16 range with one outlier hitting 23. A few were also mushy (couldn't even get juice to measure), but that's a price I'm willing to pay for most being so good. Of course, I'm looking forward to the late plums which were even better last year.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 1:18PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Yikes, hit the brakes!! I'm not going to like 11-13 brix anything. OK, that's good watermelon but not a plum. Brix readings I understand but someones opinion of what's sweet is always suspect. You can't mask poor brix with any amount of flavor. The only flavor that pops on low brix fruit is sour.

Bob, I do appreciate your brix reports. It brings something objective to the discussion!!

This post was edited by fruitnut on Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 13:54

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 1:49PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)


I should clarify that it is only Stanley which has 11-13 brix and sucks for fresh eating. Castleton has had 15-23 (most were ~16) and is pretty good. Last year, I had Empress with 19-22, which was one of my favorite fruits of the year, along with some 20+ brix Golden Russet apples and some unidentified white-fleshed nectarines (also 20+).

This post was edited by bob_z6 on Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 14:39

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 2:37PM
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alan haigh

Commercial growers aren't usually going to leave E. plums on the tree to develop their sugar- truly ripe plums can't be transported efficiently, even to a farmers market. If left on the tree, prune plums tend to hold on and get sweeter and sweeter. Stanley, however, falls off before its flesh even turns to amber for me. If the flesh isn't amber the plum isn't ripe- unless it's a Stanley. The tree can have the final say if it aborts.

Green gage and other gages can get high sugar but have a very narrow window for picking and then don't keep well.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 5:56PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


I grew President. It was better than some other plums I was growing at the time (mostly disease resistant J. plums) but I pulled it out because it really didn't leave an impression on me.

As I recall the tree had some foliage issues (probably bac. spot). President is supposed to be resistant to black knot, which is why I planted it (At that time I was trying to raise fruit with no sprays so I ordered the most disease resistant trees I could.) All in all, President was a decent plum, just not something that would knock your socks off. I did think it was better than Early Italian, or French Petite. (Two other Euros I was growing at the time.)

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 9:41PM
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alan haigh

Bob, Seneca has been very a very inconsistent bearer at most sites I've planted it. I originally loaded up on it in my nursery, because, as are many Cornell derived varieties, it was hyped for growing in the northeast.

Several Cornell creations, including the Seneca and Long John plums and the Highland pear have not risen to expectations. Seneca is very delicious and exceptionally rich, but partially because it doesn't set very well.

However, it is possible it will do well for you as it performs very consistently at one site I planted it.

It doesn't have any inherent resistance to brown rot, as often advertised, BTW.

Someday maybe I'll figure out what it is that makes certain E. plums so variable from site to site in the northeast.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 7:26AM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Harvestman, yes, the brown rot resistance, along with reports of high sugars was what led me to add Seneca. It was a multi-graft (my first), with Castelton coming along for the ride. How do Valor and Castelton compare with it, from a brown rot perspective?

Olpea, thanks- that definitely pushes President down a rung. Did you have any brown rot problems with it?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 11:13AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

I don't recall that I did Bob.

I think by that time I had given up on no-spray fruit, so I probably sprayed the plums w/ a fungicide.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 12:17PM
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alan haigh

I would say any difference is not significant. I get all varieties to ripen without additional brown rot sprays some sites some seasons, but mostly they get at least one treatment here in mid-July with an SI fungicide similar to Monterey Fungus Fighter.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2013 at 5:38PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Harvestman, your comment about dawn to dusk sun made me rethink my plans. Instead of slotting a euro into the planned spot, with sun 2/3 of the day, next to a white fence (hopefully good light reflection...), I'm biting the bullet and using the last of my near complete sun space. Since I'm putting in a row, I'll add Valor, Vision, and Bluebyrd, as well as a few apricots.

Update from farmer's market:
Simka- I had some 3+ weeks ago which were very sour and not great tasting. I accidentally bought some again this weekend and they were much better. This time they were in the high teens for brix (19 was best). Still not a great flavor though (tame or sour, depending on the fruit).

Ruby Queen- Pretty good. A few were too sour, but some were quite sweet and flavorful. They have dark red flesh and are very firm, almost crisp. I wasn't able to get a brix reading- maybe the juice is too dark?

Some kind of pluot with a point, maybe Flavor Heart based on the timing and ACN's picture- not bad. OK flavor and 12-14 brix. Not great either, but it doesn't have the sourness that the 2 above sometimes do.

I also had a large euro plum with an interesting shape. Too late, I discovered that the interesting shape is from a shattered pit. At least the flesh was decent tasting (~16 brix), but I cut a lot out of the middle...

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 12:39AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I have one dapple dandy left on the tree...picked all the Flavor King... The dapple dandys were fantastic. Excellent in my opinion. Flavor King is an oddball... its good, no doubt about it, but the flavor to me, tastes somewhat similar to a very ripe Superior plum... I need earlier plums. I do like that a lot of these pluots you can let hang, but we are getting pretty cold at night now, so its about game over (frost likely just outside of town tonite).

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 12:51AM
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I had some interesting shapes on my Stanley plums this year - lots of doubled fruits.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 5:49AM
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alan haigh

Frost won't necessarily end plum season. Sugar water doesn't freeze as quickly as water.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2013 at 6:18AM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

"The only flavor that pops on low brix fruit is sour. "

That is true, but it can be some great flavor hidden and at times processing the fruit will bring it out. Red currants I had eating them raw described as like drinking pine pitch. But when processed, it has the most unbelievable berry taste that is unique to any fruit. Like tasting raspberry or strawberry for the first time. It's one of my favorite fruits, just not raw. I'm thinking some cherry plums or wild plums are actually excellent if made into something, jam, smoothies, etc.
I posted here to see if we have any updates to this thread?

Also has anybody grown Black Ice plum? Curious about this UW-River Falls bred fruit.
I heard the hybrid Toka (prunus domestica toka) is best pollinator, anybody grow that or the 2nd Toka hybrid Bubblegum (Prunus salicina hybrid 'Toka cv.')?

Anybody grow the Euro Mount Royal Plum ?

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 1:26PM
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alan haigh

The very best preserves in my household this season came from dead ripe Damson plums. When that ripe they are pleasant to eat but not comparable to the best of the best for fresh eating. But the same astringency that makes them not as enjoyable fresh becomes extremely appealing once they are slightly cooked and sweetened with some sugar.

They are also the most beautiful trees I've ever seen when in fruit- the branches are a continuous cluster of beautiful purple fruit- especially when kept open with summer pruning.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2013 at 6:19PM
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idahomeboy(5a - 4600 ft. SE ID)

Franktank and Tonytran, I know this is an older post but I would really like to know more about how well the pluots do in zone 5/5a. Do you have much winter die back? do you have to do anything to protect them in the winter? I love the idea of growing some of these beauties in SE Idaho Z5a. but DWN lists most of them as zone 6 so I thought it might be out of my reach.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 8:16PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Mine do outstanding, but they are in very large pots and sit in a garage all winter (attached, but not heated or even insulated that well). I actually pruned my 2 4in1 (8 different varieties) pluots pretty heavily after the curculios hit a bunch of the fruit... I get a ton of fruit set, so it wasn't a big deal; plus the trees were getting too tall. I will add that Flavor King was grafted to an outside tree and did survive winter with just minimal dieback (it was a small branch anyway)...its growing just fine now. I have a feeling that pluots are more winter hardy then most peaches/nectarines...probably more like a Japanese plum?

Flavor King is pretty late ripening here...last year it was mid Sept and the days were starting to really cool off.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 10:15PM
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idahomeboy(5a - 4600 ft. SE ID)

Frank, I'll have to hit you up sometime about your experience with potted fruit trees, maybe there has been a discussion or two already on this forum I can look up. I've thought about trying it but it seems like quite a commitment as far as keeping up with water, root pruning, etc. I admire your dedication. I like the idea of grafting onto an existing tree, seems like a good way to test drive a particular cultivar without potentially sacrificing a whole tree.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:56AM
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My trees are on their third year from when I planted them. My Santa Rosa keeps dying back and regrowing new shoots. I noticed it has some cankers so I might have to replace it. My Satsuma looked dead to me when I bought it but I need a pollinator so I got it and it surprised me by popping buds out and growing a bit. This year it had 276 flowers on it. I know I'm crazy for counting them, but its one of my babies. The sad thing was the Santa Rosa didn't have a single flower! All the little plums turned yellow and feel off but one at the bottom of the tree. It's about the size of my thumb. I want to graft my Santa Rosa to some root stock but I don't have any. Maybe I'll get another tree next year of a different variety. Some day I hope to get plums like you guys. I hate it when you have to wait a whole another season.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 9:46AM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


I am in Z5A and The low temp this year was -16 for several nights and below zero at least 10 days. My pluots did fine without any die backl (Flavor Supreme, F. King, and F. Grenade). I have a Red Baron peach rated for zone 6 or higher and did just fine on the south side of my house. It had only a third of the fruits load compare to last year due to the harsh winter of 2013.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:00AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


Omaha had a mild winter :) My sister lived out there for about 5 years and now lives back in Wisconsin and still wishes she lived out there. They are actually traveling there today for the baseball games? and are heading to the zoo (which i've been to ...awesome).

I had 3 days below -20F... min was around -23 or -24F (which isn't near record cold for here). What i did have that wasn't normal was 46 days below 0F.

I'm going to plant out my large pluots either this fall or next spring in the ground.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 10:56AM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)


I agreed with you that Omaha had the 2nd best zoo in the US just hehind San Diego. They just added a bunch more parking lots by the old CWS stadium across the street so parking is not a nightmare anymore.CWS baseball is going on this week and lot of visitors are here now and the zoo is always pack. I will have to wait until they are gone before heading to the zoo. I am glad that I don't have the Wisconsin weather. Good luck with those large pluots. They are very tasty.


    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 12:39PM
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Where did you get your 4in1 pluots? Thanks

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 2:47PM
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idahomeboy(5a - 4600 ft. SE ID)

"I'm going to plant out my large pluots either this fall or next spring in the ground."

I'm curious if your more mature (potted and brought in) trees will be significantly more winter hardy once planted out than say a young two year old bare root tree just planted out.

I'm giving some serious thought into the whole idea of container grown fruit trees. I've just discovered a trove of knowledge over in the container forum so I'm going to start learning all I can and begin my new adventure next spring.
Now, where to start...

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 4:57PM
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idahomeboy(5a - 4600 ft. SE ID)

"My pluots did fine without any die back! "

Thanks, for the update, that's encouraging. Maybe I'll buy some bare root pluots in the spring, pot them up and then following year graft some scions outside. That way I'll have a backup plan just in case :)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 5:11PM
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I too started on the container forum. But I found this forum substantially more helpful for growing fruits in pots. I found that the recipes for the "gritty mix" and the "5-1-1" mix were way too dry for my purposes. And the gritty mix is extremely heavy. (It is based on rocks, after all.) I use a wetter, but well draining soil mix and I still must water every day. Although he also grows in ground, fruitnut has shared a wealth of information on growing fruits in pots. Try searching this forum for his posts. There's a lot of great info here.

I'm just a beginner. I'm in ohio, zone 5. In pots, I grow or have grown in pots strawberries, mulberries, gooseberries, sweet cherries, blueberries, and blackberries. I haven't harvested any plums or boysenberries yet, but I'm working on those too. Everything I've needed to know to grow those fruits in pots I learned here on this forum. So you're in the right place.

Good luck

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 7:50PM
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