Plum choices, Satsuma, Superior, Purple Heart?

mamuang_gwSeptember 22, 2011

Hello All,

I am in zone 5b,Central MA. I have a small orchard of apple, Asian pear, cherry and peach trees (2-4 varieties each). I've followed the forum for a few years now and have learned a lot. I'd like to thank all contributors for your advice.

I'd like to add plum in the spring. I hope to plant plum varieties that are cold hardy, taste good and have some disease resistant. I've read good reviews on Satsuma, Superior and Purple Heart. A few questions here:

Would these 3 varieties cross pollinate?

Would these varieties extend a harvesting season?

Would you recommend other plum varieties instead?

I appreciate your suggestions/advice.

Mm

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alan haigh

http://www.nyshs.org/pdf/fq/06spring/06NYFQSpring.pdf

You might find this article interesting although I find the evaluations of several varieties to contradict my opinion and experience. I believe Scott told me that there is overlap between Purple Heart and Satsuma or that they bear at about the same time. I've no experience with Superior.

Methely is a very early J. plum of good quality if you thin well- it's a very tough tree but the ultimate black-knot magnet.

If you made it 4 plums and included a couple of later Euro types you would have more potential spread of season. The Euros also tend to last longer in storage and I like them better for culinary use.

However here in southeastern NY Long John and Seneca have been extremely unproductive for me at most sites (I have almost 20 years experience with both)- I suggest Castleton and Valor instead. Both are wonderful, rich and sweet. Valor fruit seems superior to Empress and fully ripened about as good as it gets.

Shiro is about the most popular J. variety in NY state because it is so reliably productive. It is juicy and sweet by not very distinctive. On years when others set no fruit it is going to be a favorite.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 7:40AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Those are three great plums but they are all midseason types. Purple Heart and Satsuma in particular are both red-fleshed and come in at the same time for me. So, I would consider getting only one of those two. Superior is later (I forget how much later now) and yellow-fleshed but is still in what I think of as mid-season for plums.

I agree with hman and would consider Shiro or Methley for an early plum. I used to love Shiro because it was my only plum, then when the others came in it seemed bland by comparison, but now I find its a nice plum if left on the tree a long time. Ruby Queen is now my favorite late plum, but it has only fruited for a few years for me.

Another fruit to consider for an early plum is Spring Satin. If these plums are left on a long time they are truly delicious. It is in fact a plumcot.

Any three Japanese plums should generally set you fine for pollination.

Scott

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 8:47AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Superior is roughly early August here in southwest Wisconsin. The fruit does ripen over about a 2 week period (not all ripen at the same time, at least for me).

My *guess* is they should cross pollinate, if they are blooming around the same time. Superior is a hybrid. I'm adding a red fleshed next spring.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 9:04AM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

I have Shiro and Superior and I LOVE Superior. I just had a couple today that I picked in early August! 7 weeks ago!!! The skin is starting to shrivel up a little, but they are still firm and tasty. (I cut them up for fresh eating)

For me they end up much bigger than Shiro and much better, but to be fair, I've only been at this a few years and I think I left the Shiros on the tree to long to the point of overripeness.

I'd recommned Superior whole heartedly!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 10:16AM
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mamuang_gw

Thank you very much for your responses.

I think I'll go for Superior, then, will choose either Satsuma or Purple Heart. I'll keep Shiro in mind.

I've found it very difficult to figure out the ripening time. Each nursery seems to list harvesting dates very broad and sometimes, quite differently. I do not want all plum trees to ripe about the saem time, for sure.

I am interesting in Castleton. It's self fertile. That's a space saver. I don't think Valor is self fertile. I don't know if I could handle Methley if it's black-knot magnet. I try to keep my spraying to minimal (if possible). There are also Bubblegum and Black Ice that sound very intereting!!! Oh, well, can't have them all.

I don't know anything about grafting. Don't think I could learn it anytime soon, either. Thank you very much again for your advice.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 12:47PM
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mamuang_gw

Thank you very much for your responses.

I will go with Superior and will choose either Purple Heart or Satsuma. Not sure which should be the 3rd plum tree.

I'm also interested in Bubblegum and Black Ice but have not seen many comments about them on this forum. Castleton interests me, too. It's self fertile so it's a space saver for me. I don't know how to graft and don't think I could learn it anytime soon.

It's very difficult to figure out ripening time of these plum trees. Each nursery lists it quite vague and differently. I definitely would like to spread the season out.

I posted my response around noon today but it did not show. I don't know where it went. So this is the second trial. Thank you again very much for your suggestions.
Mm

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 4:31PM
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alan haigh

I would like to know more about Bubblegum. The only description I've found is by the breeder which is about as reliable as my Mother's evaluation of my virtues. Way, way over the top.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 6:41PM
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northwoodswis4

Isn't Bubblegum just a modern name for the Toka plum?
Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 8:33PM
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questor3

"Isn't Bubblegum just a modern name for the Toka plum?"
Northwoodswis

Northwoods, I have seen the bubblegum/toka - equal 'type' scenario listed several times. So I assume that it is, just don't fully know for sure. I have unfortunately not been able to taste or evaluate either for myself to help to determine if true or not for sure. So just saying here.

Nothwoods, weren't you the poster stating the good traits of the 'Black Ice' as per actual experience several months back on this forum? I was going to at least mention it for consideration here by mamuang. If it lives up to its hype, then I would think that the early season ripening could definitely help to extend the plum season on the early side. It's listed natural dwarf habit might be considered a benefit as well if facing space limitations. Both traits listed as per the Jung catalogue descriptions.

I have 'Superior' myself as per many recommendations both here and elsewhere. Have not had a ripe fruit of my own on my second leafers, but am really hoping that it lives up to its promoted reputations. Hopefully next year will give me that opportunity.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 9:44PM
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alan haigh

Paul Friday is given credit for developing the Bubble Gum plum so maybe there is an unpatented variety that he stole the name from.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 7:38AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Check out the following page on Pauls website .. nearly all the fruits link to patents except for bubblegum and one peach .. hmm... Bubblegum is a registered trademark, what it looks like he did is put a trademark on an old variety.

Scott

Here is a link that might be useful: flamin' patents

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 8:17AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

questor-You'll like Superior. I love it and so do my kids. I would say its the best fruit I've grown. I haven't had the opportunity to try homegrown Japanese plums or pluots, so I don't have much to compare too...yet.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 9:39AM
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questor3

Thanks Frank, you are one of the recommendations that I made reference to. Am really looking forwards to my first opportunity to experience Superior Plum. Wouldn't Superior be considered a Jap variety of plum? If not, I am probably in trouble for as far as pollination is concerned. I hope you get your home pluot chance as soon as next harvest season!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 12:02PM
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alan haigh

Scott, thanks for the clarification. That Mr. Friday is a pretty slick operator for a farmer. He should come to NY and make some real money with his promotional skills. I'm sure he could sell anything.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 12:26PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

All "Japanese" plums in the US are actually hybrids of American and Japanese types except for a couple varieties. Generally they all cross-pollinate each other well, but there are a few exceptions.

Scott

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 12:59PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Questor- Yup. It does have Japanese plum in its genes, along with hardy American genes. I'm actually going to add a Japanese plum along with some pluots since my family seems to prefer all of them to peaches/apricots.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 1:55PM
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northwoodswis4

Yes, I thought the BlackIce was great, plus it was earlier than the others I have. It's only weakness was that a few of the fruits cracked a bit. The plums were smaller than my Alderman or Superior. Those of you farther south have more choices, but for me, the BlackIce was a winner. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   September 24, 2011 at 4:28PM
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Mr.Pickle(4)

northwoodswis,

I am interested in this black plum and have ordered two of them. My question is i'm a bit limited for space and already have a superior planted in the area. Do you rely on your superior or aldermann (flower at the same time as black ice?) to pollinate the black-ice or do you use another. I'm not real fond of the Toka and it's quality and traits. Because of the limited room i want good quality fresh edibles and not a fair product like the toka if I can help it. Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 2:55AM
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njbiology

Is Satsuma much better than Shiro and Methley?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 8:26PM
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campv

I love the satsuma plum. Have had one everywhere we have lived. From northern Idaho(2hrs from Can.) to So. California to Arizona. Its always been a big producer. Makes great Jam by the way.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 5:41PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

It is a notch better in my opinion, but all three are tasty plums.

Scott

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 9:57PM
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alan haigh

Satsuma is red-fleshed like Methely. It doesn't have as thick a skin as Methely. Once Methely is fully ripe it's really pretty flat tasting where as Satsuma maintains its quality better, even when completely ripe. Methely requires more thinning as it tends to set a crazy amount of fruit in grape-like clusters. If black knot is an issue Methely is the ultimate incubator of this disease.

These plums are not really competitors because they ripen at different times, although there is some overlap with Shiro on the early side of Satsuma and late side of Methely. Methely is the earliest plum I grow which is the main reason I still stock it in my nursery but the black-knot issue is a big problem.

Shiro tends to crack more than the other two when rain comes close to harvest, has yellow flesh and skin and is somehow not very interesting. When properly thinned and yellow-ripe it is sweet, juicy and quite enjoyable, however.

In my own orchard I'm phasing out Shiro and possibly Methely. I prefer the flavor of Erli-majic, which begins ripening just after Methely and will get me through to Santa Rosa. Both of these have superior fruit to Methely and Shiro, IMO, that doesn't tend to crack. I'm tired of fighting Methely's black knot and Shiro's cracking.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 9:31AM
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