Wild American Plum Trees

jennifergibbons(7)March 16, 2007


I recently found a huge thicket of Wild plum trees. I would like to transplant several to my property. What is the best way to ensure a successful process? Are these trees easily transplanted? what is the best size to try to move? Thank you for any information given!!

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Hi Jennifer-

This is a case of "be careful what you ask for". "Wild" plums are pretty good at adapting, and once you have them rooted on your property you will probably always have them.

I don't know just what you call a "wild" plum, and there are several I'm sure, but what I think of is the Italian prune start given to us several years ago as a root sucker about three feet long.

My benefactor broke off a chunk of root that had sent up a three-foot tall whip and carried it around without moisture for a week in the trunk of her car. It was another week before I planted it.

It took hold at once. I practiced pruning on that poor tree, and just as it started to bear we had to have the sewer dug up. The little tree was lifted with a backhoe and set to one side. Then upon replacement the crotch was split; I tried to cable it up, but no go. I ended up cutting off about 1/3 of the tree.

But it bore nicely, the fruit was superb, and it was delight to see, so we kept it. We brutally pruned the bottom a couple of years ago to improve visability (it's on an alley) but it didn't seem to mind. I eat preserves I made from it last fall every day. We have a positive orgy of prune-plum eating for a couple of weeks every year.

The negatives? It suckers like crazy. Cut an inch off of the top and it grows two inches at the bottom to compensate. It's almost like quack grass. I just dug up several feet of root (with a dozen or more suckers sprouting willfully) which had invaded my wife's roses, and she may forgive me ...

I saved the whips to give to my friends, but I make them sign a waiver first.

Good luck,


    Bookmark   March 17, 2007 at 9:06PM
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Joeray(Z9 LA)

Mark, where are you located? I'm just wondering if a Italian plum would grow here in the Deep South (South Louisiana). My grandparents used to live in Southern Mississippi and they had wild plums growing around them and producing in abundance; some were red and some yellow, if I recall correctly. My grandparents would pick boxes of them for us when we came to visit. But in later years, all the plum trees disappeared, for what reason I don't know. This was 50 years ago.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 12:21PM
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Hi Mark,

Thanks for the information!!.....Im not sure what "kind" of wild plum they are (my husband says when he was a child he would eat them all the time: He is from the south) He tells me they are small(maybe the size of large grapes) and reddish-yellow in color. I have dug up about 20 (we live on 45 acres) and have planted them throughout the land...Guess I ll just have to wait and see what happens!!fingers crossed...

    Bookmark   March 18, 2007 at 2:20PM
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Playing the odds, you've probably got P.angustifolia, aka 'Chickasaw plum' - for me, it's the most dependable fruiter; I've given up on the named, grafted varieties, and just enjoy the smaller, tasty fruit of the Chickasaws.
Like Mark says, it does sucker like crazy, so once you get it established, it's going to form an ever-expanding thicket, as new stems will pop up well away from the originals you transplant.
I originally 'saved' two or three small sprouts the first year I bush-hogged my cow pasture, and moved them to the orchard to use as rootstocks for named-variety plums - not a good plan, as it suckers profusely, but as the years have gone on, it's worked out OK, since the Chickasaws fruit almost every year, and the Jap. hybrid and European plums are a total bust almost every year.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 12:43PM
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If you ever had any inclination to expand the genetic diversity of your plum population, OIKOS Tree Crops, linked below, carries a number of different wild plum species/selections, including some Chickasaws and hybrids.

Here is a link that might be useful: OIKOS Tree Crops

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 12:45PM
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I'm in Montana, Joe.

Sorry I didn't answer you earlier- I thought I had, but evidently didn't follow through on the two-step posting process.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 9:07AM
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Bob Gough is well qualified on stone fruit. Here's some of his stuff:



    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 9:11AM
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I am wondering if anyone can offer any suggestions on where to plant American Plum Trees. I will be planting three trees in the next couple of weeks. I am worried about the roots and how that might affect anything around my house including pipes, the property, neighbors property, etc.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 3:35PM
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I just received an order from Gurney's Plants for 2 native plum trees and I was wondering if these were the ones you were discussing? I am tired of spraying things, so thought I would try natives and see if I could go "spray-free"...plus, I heard they have much higher anti-oxidants than their hybrid counter-parts.
does this description sound like what you are talking about? Thanks!

Native Plum Tree
Winning Flavor, Huge Yields

(2 customer reviews)

The Native Plum is covered with yellow-red fruit in late summer. You get 2 plants for pollination, but plant more for an attractive screen- 8-10 feet tall, 2- to -3 ft trees.

Many of the fruits are native species that grow wild in various parts of the country. They are very adaptable and generally carefree. May are delicious when eaten fresh, others make excellent desserts and wines.

Zones: 3-8.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 10:27PM
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I would like to know when you spray or if you do a wild plum tree and what do you use. I have 4 wild plum trees in my yard and they are full of green plums now. Is it to late to spray?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 6:25PM
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Ilive in southwest mississippi and would like to know where can i find some wild plum trees?and what would be a good height or size to get

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 2:07PM
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I have the small tree, with small fruit.
Some call it Indian plum.
But it has not spread more then 12X12 feet patch in 10 years.
Marknmt, could you sent me a foot or so of the root of your plum.
I will sign a waiver.
Or if you could tell me where I can buy one.
I have a 30 acre family farm, with 4 house in which family member live.
If need be, I will mow around the tree.
If I find it as good as you say, I may graft it on to 3 fruitless tree I have.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 8:56PM
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This touches on something I have been wondering about. If we find a plum tree in the wild that produces fruit that looks like Chickasaw Plums or American Plums, aren't we actually looking at a unique tree that is almost always a hybrid created by cross pollination by bees? Don't plum trees in the wild have the same incredible genetic diversity as the apple trees that one might find at an abandoned farm, which are also the result of generations of cross pollination?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 12:41AM
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