answering Tom C about Ohio Plum trees

lsohDecember 6, 2013


I hope you see this message. I received an email from you via gardenweb, but the email said your return email address was hidden and that I could not reply directly, sorry.

You asked about Plum trees in Ohio.

The only plum tree I have is a castleton plum. I've only been growing fruit since 2010, so I've got a lot to learn. I planted the plum in a 14 gallon container spring of 2011. (Sorry, I lost track of root stock.) Spring of 2012, it had blossoms, but those and my cherries were lost to frost. Spring of 2013 my small tree (Will be keeping it at about 6' tall), was loaded with blossoms. Over 300 plums developed. I thinned about 1/3 of those. The tree dropped the rest I'm guessing maybe
1) The tree was too young to bear
2) Not enough water
3) Although it's supposed to be self-fertile, maybe it's not.

I'm guessing that normally a plum tree wouldn't even develop plums this young. But I grow most of my fruit in containers, and that naturally dwarfs the trees and seems to cause them to fruit younger.

I'd like to know what you're growing and how it's working out for you.

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Thanks for answering. Sorry about the email thing, I'll have to look into changing that. I planted a bunch of bare root cherry, plums, apples, pears and peaches last year and the year before. I also planted some container grown trees from Lowes. Some of those (container grown) died, but a peach and a Montmorency Cherry actually gave me some fruit the second year. They were both very good. I wasn't too excited about sour cherries, but I ate them fresh with a little sugar and they were great. I'm anxious to find out what all the other varieties I planted will actually taste like.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 8:44PM
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Here is a list of what I've planted (most were bare root mail order):

spring 2012:
Intrepid peach, Relaince peach, Cambridge Gage plum, Green Gage plum, Seckle Pear, Honeycrisp apple, Stark Golden Delicious apple, Methley plum from Lowes.

spring 2013:
Black Gold cherry, White Gold cherry (this had the most growth), Lapins cherry, Stark Surecrop pie cherry, Mesabi pie cherry, Meteor pie cherry, Veteran peach, Madison peach, PF 24 C peach, Contender peach, Jefferson plum (this had the second most growth), Green Gage plum, Rosy Gage plum, Seneca plum, Golden Transparent Gage plum, Stanley plum, Damson plum

I also planted some after thanksgiving this fall but it got pretty cold right away, so I'll have to wait and see if they make it. Those are:
Surefire pie cherry, Blue Byrd plum, Methley plum, Shiro plum, Superior plum, Geneva Mirabelle plum, and some honeyberries.

Deer have been a big problem, and I already have some black knot on some plums. I'm pretty close to the woods and didn't start spraying the trees til mid summer. I'm already planning my spray regime for next year.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 9:02PM
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I'm pleased that you found my reply.

In addition to the Castleton Plum, I also have a small Stella sweet cherry planted in a pot 2010. It produced about gallon of fruit this summer. I planted a black gold late this summer. I have ordered a Black Pearl Sweet Cherry for Spring.

Consider that I'm just learning and many of my experiments may still fail. But so far blue berries and black berries are working for me in pots. Strawberries are working in ground. My red raspberries are barely surviving.

I live about an hour and a half north of Columbus. If you don't mind my asking, what area do you live in?

I'd really like to hear how your fruit works out in the future.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 9:53PM
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I'm near Youngstown. How did the Stella cherries taste, and what size pots do you use?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 5:03PM
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From my perspective, the cherries were great. My cherries were ripe and fresh. Hard to beat that at the store. However, I can imagine that the *perfect* cherry would be better. I bought the additional cherry trees based on what I view as success with this tree. I selected different varieties trying to extend the harvest a little.

I have an archway of pvc pipes over which I drape bird net. Whatever is looking ripe at any given time gets dragged under the archway. That allows me to let the cherries hang on the tree longer to sweeten up. For the cherries, I also drape a sheet of clear plastic over that area of the bird net to protect the cherries from rain. I have no other experience, but the experts on this forum says that rain on the cherries causes the cherries to crack and rot. The bird protection, rain protection, and hang time probably all make a difference. Might not be possible with an in ground tree if the tree is not kept small.

I'm growing everything in 14 gallon pots. But an expert on this forum (fruitnut) grows a wide variety of fruits, including trees, in 5 gallon pots. The potting mix is very important. The bagged stuff isn't very good over time. If you are interested, I can share more info on that. But it sounds like you probably have lots of space and don't have to resort to pots.

I know it will probably be a long term effort, but please keep us posted on how your plants work out.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 7:43PM
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