Is methley plum trees easy to care for? Are these plum very sweet
They require the same care as other plums, but are easy to grow, and they are a mild tasting plum, not very sweet.
They are very sweet here. Sweet as any J. plum if thinned... and thinned and thinned again. But they are the most susceptible variety I grow to black knot. In areas where black knot is a big issue expect to have to cut it out of a Methely regularly and if the tree is in a spot with poor eastern exposure it may kill the tree in time.
European plums are both sweeter (more sugar) and less tart (less acid) including at the skin, when compared to Japanese plums.
I find the skin of Methley less tart than many other J plums.
In Portland I'd expect Euros to do better and be sweeter. My sister in coastal N. CA can't get the sugar up on her Satsuma- they are much sweeter here in S E NY state. Every J. plum I grow gets as sweet as I'd want them to be.
Here I'd describe the Euros as more syrupy as J. plums are wetter. Both are irreplaceable in their own ways but Methely is useful, more than anything else, for its very early fruit.
J plums have fewer pest problems than Euros here because Euros can defoliate from leaf hoppers and suffer from aphids. The fruit is also somewhat harder to protect. South of here it apparently gets much harder and many grow J. plums but not European varieties finding them too difficult in the humid heat there.
Strange how just 2 zones away, methley is a very bland plum, no matter how many time you thin it, and is very healthy with no black not. Mine never gets it , and is so tasteless, I let the squirrels eat them.
That is strange- I'd like to hear from other growers in your area to be sure it is not your site. Also, what varieties are you comparing it to? It is not the highest quality plum as a general rule but is better at some sites than others. My clients usually love them. I don't eat many and much prefer Earli-Majic, which begins ripening just a few days later.
Do other varieties get more black knot there than Methely? Maybe there aren't a lot of native cherries and high disease pressure. Here there is innoculum in the wind everywhere with infected natives in most every hedgerow. Growing plums here means the added maintenance procedure of cutting out black knot every couple of months and there is consistently twice as much work to do on the Methelys.
I've never had black knot, or any other disease on any of the 7 different varieties that I grow; and the only thing that I spray for is plum curculio and borers. I stick to varieties that are adapted to my area, and stay away from the rest. You grow a lot of varieties that I can't grow. We can't grow cherries here, and if that's what enhances black knot, then maybe that might be why you have it and I don't. Methley is still a very bland tasting plum here. My nephew just took his out, and I'm going to do the same with mine.
No it isn't the cherries we grow for fruit that is the problem, it is choke cherries that are indiginous to the area and there is no affective spray regimen to control it. Not surprised to have a pest you don't face.
What varieties of plums do you grow? I'm surprised you haven't had to deal with brown rot on any of them.
We do have choke cherries, but have never equated them with black knot. I grow a number of the AU varieties, Rubrum, Rosa, Producer, Roadside, Methley, Santa Rosa, Ozark Premier.
I might get several plums with brown rot, but not enough to require spraying for. Rubrum was my biggest producer thiis year with over 140 lbs. from one tree and I had only a handful with brown rot
Ray, I wonder a bit if your Methley is not the wrong tree. Its not the greatest tasting plum but its perfectly reasonable as grown here. I'm not nearly as hot as your are, but its a common plum to see southern nurseries selling.
I certainly prefer Ozark Premier and Santa Rosa to Methely but here Methely is actually sweeter than SR.
I bought mine from Cumberland Valley and have never gotten a mislabeled tree from them. It is a widely sold plum, but most nurseries describe it as mild tasting, and for the ones I've eaten, that's a correct description. It may be sweeter in cooler climates, but not here.
I do prefer the Santa Rosa over Methley but not by a lot. There may be a common parent in there breeding. The Santa Rosa is a very shy bearer here but the Methley is very productive. No problems with black knot so far. I prefer the Superior over most all J types.
I'm surprised Santa Rosa will survive in any zone colder than straight 5. I get a lot of cold related cambium damage on it here on trees in the nursery. Just a few stone throws south I don't see this.
How long have you been growing it? Trees take a lot longer than Methely to become productive- I used to think it was a shy barer also.
Hman I planted 10 Santa rosas in 2006. only 2 made it past 2009 with a low temp 0f -30. those 2 laughed at -22 for 4 days last winter and gave me baskets of good plums. Why the other 8 died is a guess. they were planted in 1 row,row was mounded ,trees that lived were #2 and #7, I filled in with peach and metyley and they are doing well. If I had only planted the 8 that died I would be positive santa wouldn't grow here. Last year I did harvest a nice young buck rubbing velvet off on #2.
How do you like the flavor on those AU plums? Which are the best? Any that are poor flavor?
The best of the AU plums is Rubrum. It's a strong grower and heavy producer of large sweet plums. It's also a good pollinator for the other plums. Producer, unlike its name, does not produce a lot of plums, and the plums are tarter than Santa Rosa. Roadside, which is supposed to be self fruitful, sets very little fruit. Mine blooms profusely and also has Methley next to it. They both bloom at the same time, so you would expect heavy production. Although the plums are very sweet, I only get a handful. Rosa has been the weakest grower of the lot for me, and as you would expect, the weakest producer. The plums are average in flavor.
If you like sweet plums, I'd get Rubrum, and I'd plant Santa Rosa(SWEET TART) next to it for extra pollination.
If you like very tart plums, then get producer.
Rave, winter hardiness is always somewhat mysterious- the soil might have been wetter in part of the row- or some other difficult to gauge difference.
In Z4 or even close to 5 a test winter can reach -30 and that would be a real test for any J. plum. But there are lots of variables, I've had serious damage to SR at probably -15. It depends also on when the cold comes. Trees that can take -20 in Jan are sometimes killed by 0 in March.
Yep... Methley are mostly worthless here - especially if you let them ripen good... Bland, mushy, not real sweet... Brown rot magnets too...
The only situation where they are somewhat worthwhile....
Before anything else comes ripe..
Throw away all fruit that ripens for the first 2 weeks...
Then... pick them just as they ripen while still tart and they are decent...
Ray thanks for that report on your AU plums. I have Producer and Roadside but no fruit yet. I have heard few really positive reports on any of them as far as flavor goes, but yours is the first report on Rubrum I recall hearing. Overall I have been finding some of the California Japanese plums in fact do great so am going more in that direction. Santa Rosa, Satsuma, Mariposa, and Laroda are all looking good for me. Many of them don't work so well, its hit and miss but the hits are really good.
Scott, please tell me about Laroda and Mariposa.
Scott, The only AU plum that I'm keeping is Rubrum. It's been a real winner for me. The rest are being replaced by 2 pluots, Flavor Grenade and Flavor Queen, and plumcot, Spring Satin. I don't know how well the pluots will do, but I have big hopes for Spring Satin. I've looked at the Califonia plums, especially Mariposa. I know you're more into tart plums than I am. I'm very curious as to how Mariposa tastes.
Mariposa is a red-fleshed plum like Satsuma. Laroda is similar to Santa Rosa but a lot later. I haven't gotten a lot of fruit off either yet, but I didn't have any rot etc problems like many of the CA plums.
Methley and Satsuma are highly rated here in PNW. Santa Rosa has more problems.
bberry, how long did it take for your Methley's to start producing? I planted a 2-ft bare-root Methley from Burnt Ridge Nursery in 2010, and it's now well over 12 ft tall but has yet to bear fruit. The Toka I planted next to it in 2012 as a 2-ft twig already bore 3 plums this summer!
I've seen only minor tip dieback so far despite -20F winters, and have only found 2-3 branches with black knot since it was planted. Love the tree, just getting impatient wanting fruit!