Plum trees can be planted in almost any type of, provided that it is reasonably well drained and clear of perennial . Even fairly heavy clay soil will be quite suitable, but in this case it is wisest to incorporate some well rotted into the ground during preparation.
When ordering plum trees from a nursery, bear in mind that due to their somewhat droopy habit of growing “bush” shaped trees are not really suitable. Only half-standard or standard trained trees should be planted, apart of course from the fan trained shape which will do very well planted against a wall or fence. Like cherries, there is a certain amount of pollinating difficulty with plums, and the varieties mentioned later have been chosen to complement each other for this purpose.
The tree, two year old preferably, should be planted in a hole approximately three feet across so that the roots can be well spread out and deep enough, say 6—9 inches deep, so that when the earth is filled in, the union where thehas taken place remains just above soil level. The planting is best made in November but if this is inconvenient, any time up to the end of February is suitable, provided that the weather is favourable.
Pruning plum trees amounts simply to removing cross-growing blanches, the dead wood and generally making the tree shapely. A minimum of pruning however should be undertaken as the open cut ends of the branches allow the “Silver Leaf” disease to enter which will sooner or later destroy the tree. Any big cuts that are necessary must be cleanly made and the exposed end of the branch painted with white lead paint to seal it off. Pruning should be done during the summer when this disease is less likely to strike.
Silver leaf disease
This disease enters the tree through open wounds left by pruning. Care should be taken to paint any cut branch ends with lead paint to seal the cut. Whenever possible prune in the summer when this disease is not so common.
Rivers’ Early Prolific – A smallish plum ideal for jam making or any type of cooking. The season for this variety is the latter end of July and the tree is self-fertile.
Victoria – A favourite dessert plum of good flavour and ready at the end of August. Take care to prune cautiously as this variety is rather prone to “Silver Leaf” disease. Self-fertile.
Early Laxton – A yellowish dessert plum ready late in July. This variety needs help with pollination and fruits well if planted near to a Victoria plum.