Plum (Fan) Growing Guide
Crop Rotation Group
Moisture-retentive clay or loam.
Sunny spot, with excellent air circulation.
Yes, but it is important to choose varieties known to grow well in your area to reduce risk of losing blooms to spring freezes in cold areas.
Feed with a mulch of high nitrogen fertiliser in spring. Keep plum trees mulched with wood chips or sawdust.
Corridors within the orchard that are planted with clovers and other legumes contribute to soil fertility and attract pollinators.
Single Plants: 3.50m (11' 5") each way (minimum)
Rows: 3.50m (11' 5") with 3.50m (11' 5") row gap (minimum)
Sow and Plant
Plant in winter while they are dormant. This gives them a chance to settle and develop their roots before putting their energy into spring growth. Prepare a large hole by breaking up the soil and adding plenty of well-rotted organic matter. A wide hole is better than a very deep one. Mulch after planting, and encircle the trunk with a wire cage or protective pipe to protect the young tree from animal and insect pests. Young plum trees are at high risk for damage from insects that bore into the main trunk.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.
Some varieties are self-fertile; otherwise at least one other plum flowering at the same time will be required for pollination. Prune in late winter, before buds begin to swell.
Harvest when the fruit feels soft when gently squeezed. As fruit ripens, some fruits will fall from the tree, and others can easily be shaken onto cloths spread on the ground.
Plums can be affected by silverleaf disease– prune in dry weather in summer to help avoid infection. Plum curculios feed on buds, flowers and unripe fruits. Control by allowing hens to feed around trees, or shake branches to dislodge the insects onto a sheet then plunge into very hot water. Remove any fallen fruits as soon as possible. In humid climates, plums often develop problems with fungal diseases such as brown rot. Preventive sprays with organic fungicides are often needed to grow good quality plums.
Planting and Harvesting Calendar
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