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Plum pollinator

Posted by heavyoilguy Z2 ALBERTA (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 30, 12 at 12:39

I have a Cherry plum tree, not sure of the name ,
Every year lots of flowers but no fruit, I did not have a pollinator close by,
Would a Double flowering plum be a good pollinator, ?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Plum pollinator

It can be a real problem with plums of any kind, even if the pollinator is right, it doesn't mean it will pollinate because the flowering time between the two can be out.

Double flowering plum is related to almond...I had almond nuts on it, blooms allot earlier then any other plums.

I would say the best bet is western sand cherry, or plant a bunch of other hardy plums, and hopefully get some cross pollination.


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RE: Plum pollinator

I found this article at U Sask many years ago (see link below).

My grandpa grew legendary plums (and me after him when I inherited his tree, until it died). It was a Pembina and I think it was pollinated by Nanking cherries that bloomed at different times in different locations around the yard.

My parents also used to grow decent plums in the country with lots of wild P. nigra growing in the bush nearby.

Here is a link that might be useful: U Sask plum pollination


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RE: Plum pollinator

I don't know about pollinating chums(cherry plums)..I don't know how different that may or may not be from pollinating regular hybrid plums like Pembina. BUT, I do know that native plums, either Prunus nigra or Prunus americana are supposed to be the only sure thing I think to pollinate hybrid plums. There is so much confusion over what does and does not pollinate well, but if P. nigra and your cherry plum bloom at the same time, I think it would be a safe bet.


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RE: Plum pollinator

I got a Prunus americana about 5 yards away from the cherry plum and didn't make any differant in pollination,...only had 3 cherry plums, [Opata]. Some years back, without the americana I had one's a larger crop.

Boughen Nursery say's..a cherry plum will not cross pollinate with a plum.

I almost have to believe it.

Cherry plum cultivars are hybrids between sand cherries and plums.

Bottom line,.. I find these are tough to set fruit.


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RE: Plum pollinator

Hmmm...interesting. That bit of info might be enough for me to not bother trying cherry plums, might as well save the room for something that isn't such a pain to get fruit off of.


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RE: Plum pollinator

I was flipping through an old Gardens West and came across an article on cherry plums. The information was coming from Rick Sawatzky, a U of S researcher who works with Bob Bors(so I imagine the info is as reliable as you can get).

He insisted that Prunus nigra is the best pollinator for chums. Apparently they did research with multiple graft plum trees and when the trees fruited it was obvious that the wild plum was the best pollinator.

He did comment on the fact that the bloom time is a little off. He said you can plant the wild plum near a sunny wall or pin some of the branches down close to the ground to encourage it to bloom earlier, at the same time as the chum.

I just can't believe how hard it is to find proper information on this type of thing! Looking at various websites and nursery sites I'm shocked at how many places list bad pollinators as the recommended pollinator for both hybrid plums and chums. So annoying for the person just trying to get their little orchard started. Can't this information just be more widely distributed?!


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RE: Plum pollinator

I don't think they know for sure what works.

I read, the western sand cherry, as said in my original post is still the best, see link, as it say's,..

It has been said that the sandcherry is the best pollinator of the cherry-plums, however the sandcherry can be later flowering. Improved pollination may result from pinning lower branches of the sandcherry to the ground. A second variety of cherry-plum may also serve as a pollinator, however good combinations have not been worked out.
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Mine hasn't opened yet, what I'm trying this year, I cut a branch of western sand cherry to force it blooming in the house and hopefully can hand pollinate the cherry plum.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cherry Plum


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RE: Plum pollinator

Jeeze, both articles from the U of S, saying conflicting information! Maybe they've changed their recommendations...the Gardens West article was from 2007, they may have done more research and decided western sandcherry worked even better.

Well, whatever works! I hope you manage to get fruit this year after all that work.


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RE: Plum pollinator

I did cut a branch but it didn't flower in the house,...think it had winter injury.
But,...luckily, some low branches on the ground flowered in the same time and I could hand pollinate, I just took a couple of branches and kind of shook/knocked/wiped the flowers over the others, only on a couple of branches and that did it! I also left the branch in a water bottle right beside but next day it was wilted already. As some of you recall, I bottle fed another plum branch to pollinate a plum tree, that branch held up and stayed fresh for about a week and bees really liked this plum, [Ivanovka].
Conclusion,...hand pollinate will do a fairly decant job with sand cherry.
Bees like to stay away from this cherry plum!

Here is the results,.. loaded on the branches I was working on, for about 3 day's total, I mean, I've done it 3 times with new branches every time. The many branches beyond had mostly no fruit or just one here and there.
Sept. 9, 2012

This one got a bit less treatment..
You can see two graft I put onto a plum root stock [2 stem] about a foot up.
It turns out the other plum on it's own root looks healthier in the leaves. This one really looks like it has the shot hole disease.

Sept. 9, 2012


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RE: Plum pollinator

This is great information, Konrad. My cherry plum never bears more than a handful of fruit, in spite of the fact that I have native plum, Nanking cherry, chokecherry and western sandcherry planted nearby. I do believe my western sandcherry's bloom time overlaps that of the cherry plum, but if the bees aren't active in the cherry plum, that would explain the low fruit set. I'll have to try the hand pollinating next spring.


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RE: Plum pollinator

I have a Nanking Cherry in my yard and a Pembina plum. Should I try hand pollinating the plum with the Nanking? The plum does set fruit but most of it aborts. Ideally I would like to get another plum but space is limited in the garden due to too many flowerbeds. :)


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RE: Plum pollinator

I would for a test, you nothing to loose, just do one or two branches, then you'll know for sure if it made a difference.
Hopefully they flower in the same time.


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RE: Plum pollinator

Konrad, how does the fruit on the Ivanofka compare with other asian plums? How does it compare with Pembina?


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RE: Plum pollinator

I would say it's nothing special, about the same as other Asian plums, the only plus side on this I found is that it's semi freestone and skin is not as bitter as most others, but then one needs to test this over several years because sometimes this can vary.


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