Contents

What fruit comes in Damson and Mirabelle variety?

A plum is a fruit of the subgenus Prunus of the genus Prunus The subgenus is distinguished from other subgenera (peaches, cherries, bird cherries, etc.) in the shoots having terminal bud and solitary side buds (not clustered), the flowers in groups of one to five together on short stems, and the fruit having a groove running down one side and a smooth stone (or pit).

Plums may have been one of the first fruits domesticated by humans. Three of the most abundant cultivars are not found in the wild, only around human settlements: Prunus domestica has been traced to East European and Caucasian mountains, while Prunus salicina and Prunus simonii originated in Asia. Plum remains have been found in Neolithic age archaeological sites along with olives, grapes and figs.

Plum cultivars in use today include:

  • Damson (purple or black skin, green flesh, clingstone, astringent)
  • Greengage (firm, green flesh and skin even when ripe)
  • Mirabelle (dark yellow, predominantly grown in northeast France
  • Satsuma plum (firm red flesh with a red skin)
  • Victoria (yellow flesh with a red or mottled skin)
  • Yellowgage or golden plum (similar to greengage, but yellow)

The taste of the plum fruit ranges from sweet to tart; the skin itself may be particularly tart. It is juicy and can be eaten fresh or used in jam-making or other recipes. Plum juice can be fermented into plum wine.

Plum tree species – an overview

Plums are a remarkably diverse group, comprising several different species and sub-groups which are often difficult to distinguish one from the other. Some of the major plum groupings are described here.

Prunus domestica – European plum

This is the European plum, widely-planted in Europe and without doubt one of the most flavoursome fruits that can be grown in temperate climates. They come in a range of attractive colours, from yellow to pink to purple. The flesh is almost invariably a golden yellow – this is a good way to distinguish them from Japanese plums. Although perhaps not quite as popular as apples, they make ideal garden trees, usually requiring less attention than apple or pear trees.

Opal plums

Whilst European plums do not store particularly well, the fruit usually ripens over a 1-2 week period, during which time the tree can be picked daily to ensure a steady supply of fruit.

European plums are grown commercially on a small scale in the UK, France, and Germany and are available in European supermarkets for a short period in the summer. They are also grown in the USA where they are mostly used for canning and preserving.

Prunus domestica is not indigenous in Europe, and is thought to be a natural hybrid of the cherry plum and the sloe which were introduced to Europe from the Middle East.

European plum trees are easy to grow in most climates – see our plum trees for sale.

Prunus domestica – Gages

Although now usually included within Prunus domestica, it is convenient to consider the Gages as a sub-group of European plums because of their interesting and sophisticated flavours.

Golden Transparent gages

Gage trees and flowering times are similar to the mainstream European plums. Gages tend to be either green or golden/yellow in colour, with pale green or pale yellow flesh. The green gages are easier to distinguish being invariably smaller and rounder than regular European plums. Yellow gages are usually larger and look more like plums.

Gages prefer slightly warmer growing conditions than other European plums to bring out their full flavour, and their natural home is France where have been cultivated since the Middle Ages having been introduced from Italy. In France the many different varieties of green-skinned gages are known collectively as “Reine Claude” in honour of Queen Claude, the wife of Francis I who ruled France from 1515 to 1547 when these plums first became popular. The term Reine Claude, as in for example, Reine Claude de Bavay, means a gage plum.

Gages are named after Sir William Gage, an Englishman who popularised one of these varieties in England in the 18th century. Gages were subsequently introduced to the USA in the late 18th century.

There is a further distinct sub-group within the Gages known as the transparent or diaphanous gages. These fruits have a translucent skin and if held up to the light the outline of the stone can be seen inside. The most well-known are Early Transparent Gage and Golden Transparent Gage.

Gages have a distinctive rich sweet flavour, sometimes considered the most refined of any plum species.

Prunus salicina – Japanese plum

This is the plum that you are most likely to find year-round in supermarkets, with large-scale production in California (where almost all of the USA’s production is centred) as well as China, Chile, and the warmer areas of Europe. The fruit has a longer shelf-life than European plums, and is better-suited to being transported around the world. However the flavours are generally less interesting than in European plums, and the fruit is less versatile, being almost exclusively for eating fresh.

Japanese plums are usually not self-fertile (whereas many European plums are self-fertile). Japanese plums and European plums will not cross-pollinate each other, partly because their flowering periods do not overlap.

The plums are usually round, and either golden yellow or dark red in colour. The flesh is usually dark red in the red-coloured varieties, which is a good way to distinguish them from European plums which invariably have yellow or green flesh. Japanese plums prefer a warm dry climate, and may flower too early to be grown successfully in temperate climates.

Flavor King – a well known Pluot

Prunus salicina actually originates from China, but was introduced to the rest of the world via Japan and then California – the term “Japanese plum” is therefore something of a misnomer. The species is sometimes also called Prunus triflora because it produces flowers in sets of three (hence triflora) instead of in pairs like Prunus domestica. One useful consequence of this is that trees of Prunus salicina trees are often more productive than Prunus domestica because they produce more blossom and can set more fruit.

Several plum-related inter-species hybrids have been developed using Japanese plums, e.g. Pluots which are typically 3/4 Prunus salicina and 1/4 Prunus armeniaca (apricot).

Prunus insititia

This is a diverse group of lesser plum species, but closely related to the European plum. Most of them have good disease resistance, and will cross-pollinate with European plums with similar flowering times.

Damsons

English Damsons

Damsons originate from Damascus in Syria and the name comes from the term “Damascene plum”. They are primarily used for cooking, although they can be eaten fresh when fully ripe. Damsons are small round or spherical fruits, nearly always blue-black in colour. They have a rich spicy and very attractive flavour when cooked, which is quite distinctive. Damsons will cross-pollinate with other European plum varieties, and are usually self-fertile.

Perhaps surprisingly given their origins in the Middle East, Damsons are very well adapted to maritime climates and in the UK the centre of commercial damson production is the Lyth valley in Cumbria, north-west England, notable for its wet climate.

Bullaces

Bullaces are essentially small damsons, often with a rounder shape, and used for similar purposes.

Mirabelles

Mirabelle de Nancy

Mirabelles are grown particularly in north-east France. The fruits are very small, the size of large cherries, and typically either bright red or golden yellow. Mirabelles can be eaten fresh, but are primarily used for making jams and similar preserves, as well as fruit tarts (“tarte aux mirabelles”). They are also the variety most often used in plum brandy and similar plum-based spirits. Mirabelles are closely related to Damsons but the fruit is much sweeter.

Mirabelle trees are hardy and grow well throughout Europe and North America. They flower at around the same time as mainstream European plums, with which they will readily cross-pollinate. The fruit ripens in mid or late summer. A characteristic of Mirabelles is that they are usually partially self-fertile.

Saint Juliens

Saint Juliens produce small rounded fruits, usually a pale green colour. They used to be used for drying, but nowadays Saint Juliens are most commonly used as a rootstock for many other Prunus varieties. The reason is that Saint Juliens produce naturally smaller trees than other plum varieties, a desirable characteristic for commercial orchards and gardens, yet are widely-compatible with them. In essence, you can graft a flavoursome Prunus domestica variety on to a Saint Julien rootstock, and you have the same fruit but on a smaller tree, which starts producing crops within only 3-4 years.

Prunus cerasifera – Cherry Plum

Cherry plums are closely related to the European plum (more so than to the true cherry). The most commonly-found varieties are tomato-red or bright yellow in colour but they can also be green or almost black.

Cherry plums

The fruits are similar in size to Mirabelles, with which they are easily confused. However Cherry Plums are reliably self-fertile whereas Mirabelles are usually only partially self-fertile. Cherry plums also flower much earlier in the spring, and the fruit ripens in early summer.

Traditional Cherry Plums are sometimes known as Myrobalan plums, and can be used as rootstocks for many European plum varieties.

The modern cherry plum varieties available in garden centres are often a bit larger than the traditional varieties, and might have some relation to the Japanese plum (Prunus salicina).

Prunus spinosa – Sloe

Sloes are very small blue-black fruits, rather like small Bullaces. They are common in northern European hedgerows, and are believed to be part of the ancestry of the European plum. It is traditional to wait until the fruits have been tenderised by a good frost before picking, and they are commonly used for making fruit spirits.

Other Prunus species

Although not considered further in this article, the following popular fruits are all related to plums:

Prunus armeniaca – Apricots.

Prunus persica – Peaches and Nectarines.

Prunus avium – Sweet cherry.

Prunus cerasus – Acid or Tart or Sour cherry.

Prunus dulcis – Almond. It may seem surprising at first that plums and almonds are related, but almonds are in essence a type of plum where the nut (inside the stone) rather than the flesh is eaten. The characteristic flavour of almonds can also sometimes be detected in cooked European plums, particularly the popular English Victoria plum.

We would like to thank Hamid Habibi of Keepers Nursery for advice on this article.

Pick of the plums

Plum meringue pudding (serves six)

A lovely old-fashioned English pudding that is remarkably light despite containing bread.

  • 180g (6oz) sugar
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) victoria plums
  • 200g (7oz) stale bread, with no crusts
  • 60g (21/4oz) butter
  • 2 eggs, plus 2 egg whites
  • a squeeze of lemon juice

Place half the sugar in a saucepan with the finely grated zest of the orange, its juice, the cinnamon stick and 150ml (5fl oz) of water. Bring this combination to a simmer and then remove from the heat. Halve and stone the plums, and add them to the syrup. Bring back to the boil and simmer gently for five minutes or until the fruit is just cooked. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/ gas mark 4.

Cut the bread into small cubes and place in a bowl. Drain the fruit and pour its juice over the bread cubes. Leave these to soak for ten minutes. Cream the butter in another bowl. Separate the eggs and add the yolks to the butter. Add the drained fruit to the butter mixture, together with the cubes of bread. Turn this mixture into a shallow ovenproof dish and bake for 35 minutes or until set.

Beat the four egg whites – with a pinch of salt and the squeeze of lemon juice – with an electric whisk to form soft peaks. Continue whisking, adding half the remaining sugar in a slow stream until the mixture forms stiff, shiny peaks. Fold in the remaining sugar. Spoon this meringue on top of the pudding. Turn the oven down to 150°C/300°F/ gas mark 2 and cook for 20 minutes more. Serve warm.

Plum tatin (serves six)

A bit of apostasy here as I have railed against people making tatins out of anything that comes to hand, be it pineapples, shallots, endives or bananas. I normally hold out for a tarte tatin to be made only of apples but, faced with some slightly tart and firm victoria plums last year, I found this an extremely efficacious treatment.

An ovenproof straight-sided sauté pan with a 24cm (91/2in) diameter is essential.

  • 100g (31/2oz) unsalted butter
  • 115g (4oz) light-brown caster sugar
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) victoria plums
  • 150g (51/2oz) puff pastry

Smear the softened butter over the sides and base of the sauté pan. Sprinkle the sugar over the butter, shaking the pan to get an even distribution. Halve the plums, jettisoning the stones, and place them, cut-side down, on top of the sugar, wedging them tightly against one another in concentric circles.

Place the pan on the highest heat possible and allow the sugar and butter to caramelise to a rich, deep caramel, moving the pan if necessary to ensure the colour is evenly spread. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool a little. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7. Roll out the pastry very thinly into a disc that will comfortably fit and lift it over so that it covers the pan.

Place the pan in the oven and bake the tart for 20 minutes so that the pastry is fully risen and cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave for ten minutes. With a strong oven cloth covering both hands, place a large serving plate inverted over the pastry and flip the whole thing over. Sit the plate down and carefully lift the pan off to reveal the beautifully caramelised plums beneath. Should one or two plums be stuck to the pan, a little repair work with a spatula is usually very effective. Serve tepid with a little pouring cream.

Baden plum cake (serves six to eight)

I am indebted to Roz Denny for this brilliant recipe culled from her Modern German Food (Simon & Schuster, £8.99), a less than inspiring title, I must admit, and the first time a German recipe has featured in this column. But it is further evidence that plums are an intrinsically Saxon sort of fruit.

  • 200g (7oz) flour
  • 7g (1/8oz) sachet of fast-action yeast
  • 40g (11/2oz) butter, cubed, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 5 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 80ml (21/2fl oz) lukewarm milk
  • 450g (1lb) victoria plums, stoned and quartered
  • the grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 25g (1oz) flaked almonds, lightly toasted

Butter a 22cm (9in) round spring-form tin. Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl before adding the yeast and then rubbing in the butter as though making shortcrust pastry. Mix in three tablespoons of the sugar and then make a well in the centre. Beat in the egg and then slowly add the milk, working the mixture with the fingers until you have a soft sticky dough. Form this into a ball and work until it is smooth enough to knead.

Turn out of the bowl and knead with the heel of the hand for three or four minutes.

Pat out the dough to fit the tin and press it in, pushing it into the sides. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise until doubled in size – about one hour. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/gas mark 4.

Sprinkle another tablespoon of sugar over the dough. Arrange the plums in circles, skin-side down, on top of the dough. Sprinkle the plums with the last tablespoon of sugar and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until beautifully risen, when the plums will be soft and juicy. Sprinkle the surface with the lemon zest and then the almonds. Cool the cake for five minutes before unmoulding from the tin and cooling on a rack. Dust the surface lightly with icing-sugar and serve with cream.

  • Rowley Leigh is the chef at Kensington Place, 201 Kensington Church Street, London W8 (020-7727 3184)

Pest & Disease Control for Plum Trees

Every fruit tree has the future potential for disease and insect damage. Factors such as location and weather will play a part in which issues your tree encounters. Disease-resistant trees are the best option for easy care; and for all trees, proper maintenance (such as watering, fertilizing, pruning, spraying, weeding, and fall cleanup) can help keep most insects and diseases at bay.

NOTE: This is part 6 in a series of 10 articles. For a complete background on how to grow plum trees, we recommend starting from the beginning.

Crown Gall

Trees appear stunted and slow growing; leaves may be reduced in size, little or no fruit. If tree is dead, inspect roots for hard, woody ‘tumors’. Note: many things can cause stunted trees.

Control

  • Consult County Extension Agent

Bacterial Canker

Appears on branches and trunk as gummy cankers and water-soaked areas. Fruit develops dark, deeply sunken areas, causing them to be more likely to get ‘Brown Rot’. Cool, wet weather after blooming favors development.

Control

  • Consult County Extension Agent

Black Knot

Appears as hard black knobby growths on twigs and branches. Will eventually girdle and kill branches.

Natural Control

  • Prune out and burn.

Scale

Usually on bark of young twigs and branches, encrusted with small (1/16”) hard, circular, scaly raised bumps with yellow centers, may also be on fruit. Sap feeding weakens the tree.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Chemical Control

  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Tarnished Plant Bug

Yellow-brown winged insect may have black spot or red stripes. Injects toxins into the buds and shoots causing ‘dwarfed’ shoots and sunken areas (cat facing) on fruit.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Chemical Control

  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Leafroller

Pale yellow or ‘dirty’ green worms. Leaves are rolled and webbed together where insects feed. Eventually becomes skeletonized.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew

Chemical Control

  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Aphids

They are the size of a pinhead and vary in color depending on the species. Clusters on stems and under leaves, sucking plant juices. Leaves then curl, thicken, yellow and die. Produce large amounts of a liquid waste called “honeydew”. Aphid sticky residue becomes a growth media for sooty mold.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Chemical Control

  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Brown Rot

Fruit turns brownish with lighter spots. Quickly becomes soft, rotten and unusable.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray
  • Fall clean up of all fruit and debris.

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Fung-onil™ Fungicide
  • Bonide® Captan Fruit & Ornamental

Bacterial Leaf Spot

Appears on the undersides of leaves as black or brown spots. Often the center falls out leaving a hole with a red halo. The leaves may turn yellow and fall. Fruits also get spots, sunken areas & cracks.

Natural Control

  • Serenade® Garden Disease Control

Green Fruitworm

Bluish-gray moth. Larvae are 1’ long, usually green or brown with white sports and body stripes. Feeds on young leaves and young fruits. Disfigures the fruit.

Chemical Control

  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Plum Curculio

Adult is brownish-gray 1/5” long, hard-shelled beetle with long snout and 4 humps on back. Cuts a crescent shaped hole under the fruit skins and lays eggs. Worms hatch and tunnel into fruit. Premature dropping of fruit can occur.

Natural Control

  • Post harvest clean up.

Chemical Control

  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Oriental Fruit Moth

Gray moth, 1/2” long. Larvae are white with a brown head, 1/2” long. Larvae burrow into twigs and fruits.

Chemical Control

  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Cherry Fruit Fly

This fly is very similar to Apple Maggot. Adult similar to housefly but smaller, larvae are yellowish-white worms. Eggs lay under fruit skins, larvae tunnel making railroad pattern. Small pinpoint sting marks visible on fruit.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew

Mites

Pinpoint size, many different colors. Found on undersides of leaves. Sap feeding causes bronzing of leaves. Severe infestations have some silken webbing.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® All Seasons® Horticultural & Dormant Spray Oil
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Chemical Control

  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Rose Chafer

Beetle has ½“ long, tan wings with reddish-brown edges. Long, thin hairy legs. Skeletonizes leaves and flowers. Present in large quantities in June & July. Worst on sandy sites near grassy areas.

Chemical Control

  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Borers

Appears as a thick, gummy substance (sap) leaking from round holes on the trunk or in a crotch of the tree. Worms with brown heads and cream-colored bodies tunnel thru trunks that will kill the tree.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew
  • Use a fine wire to try and mash or dig them out.

Chemical Control

  • GardenTech® Sevin® Concentrate Bug Killer
  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Japanese Beetle

Adult is a metallic green beetle. It skeletonizes leaves. Larvae are a grub, which feeds on turf roots. Check turf product labels for timing of control of grubs. This is more of a problem east of the Mississippi river.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew
  • Traps

Chemical Control

  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Powdery Mildew

Whitish-gray powdery mold or felt like patches on buds, young leaves and twigs. Leaves may crinkle and curl upward. New shoots are stunted. Over winters in fallen leaves.

Natural Control

  • Serenade® Garden Disease Control
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Leafhopper

Various colors and similar to aphids this small, active, slender-winged insects are usually found on the underside of leaves. Retard growth, leaves become whitened, stippled or mottled. Tips may wither and die. This insect carries virus of certain very harmful plant diseases.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Chemical Control

  • Bayer Advanced™ Complete Insect Killer

Thrips

Tiny, slender, fringed wing insects ranging from 1/25 to 1/8” long. Nymphs are pale yellow and highly active and adults are usually black or yellow-brown, but may have red, black or white markings. Feed on large variety of plants by puncturing them and sucking up the contents.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray
  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew

Coryneum Blight

Small reddish-purple spots appear on young leaves then enlarge and eventually dropping out of the leaf blade leaving a “shot hole.” It appears on fruit, usually in clustered as light brown spots or lesions with dark purple margins.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Fung-onil™ Fungicide

Scab

Spots on young leaves are velvety and olive green turns black; leaves wither, curl and drop. Fruit also has spots, is deformed, knotty, cracked and drops.

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Fung-onil™ Fungicide

Leaf Curl

Leaves become thickened, puckered and twisted with a reddish-purple color along puckered areas. Turn yellow and drop, may completely defoliate and causes weakening of tree. Any remaining dead leaves should be removed in the fall and all debris removed from the area.

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Fung-onil™ Fungicide

Blotch

Fungus disease that is spread by rain in spring and early summer and can appear as early as 2-3 weeks after petal fall. Patches of dark green to black, circular or irregular in shape, may merge together to cover a large area of the fruit surface. Sometimes it can be rubbed or washed off, but may leave a brown discoloration on fruit. Little damage is done to the flesh.

Natural Control

  • Prune for air and light, clean up fallen leaves and fruit.

In This Series

  • Introduction

Getting Started

  • Location
  • Planting
  • Soil Preparation

Care & Maintenance

  • Fertilizing
  • Pest & Disease Control
  • Pruning
  • Spraying
  • Watering

Other Topics

  • Harvesting

Plum trees pests & diseases, growing plums in pots

Plum Pests and diseases

Silverleaf Is the most serious disease of all that affects Plums and related trees. It is guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of any would-be fruit tree grower because there is no cure and it usually proves fatal. But try to be reassured that this disease is not that common and is often confused with a bad outbreak of mildew which causes a similar effect with the silvering of the leaves. Silverleaf can be distinguished from mildew by the main branches dying back; when these branches are cut into a red ring can be seen inside the wood. If this disease takes hold the only cause of action is to remove main branches that have been affected but usually you will lose the tree at which point it must be taken down and burnt. You can replant fruit trees in the same area but they should be unrelated – apples, pears, quinces are a safe option.
It is often advised that no pruning should be carried out in the winter for plums and gages because of the ruisk of silverleaf infection. But sometimes it will be unavoidable at which time the pruning cuts should, where possible, be protected with arbrex. Unless you know you have silverleaf in your vicinity then I would not worry about it too much.
Aphids Are the problem you are most likely to encounter with plum and gage trees. They cause curling of the leaves which become sticky and distorted and may become streaked with yellow. Uusally it is the ends of the branches and growing tips that are worst affected. Severe infestations can seriously affect the trees’ ability to grow so you should be vigilant and not allow these tiny terrors the opportunity to set up home. Prevention is better than cure and if you can apply a good systemic insecticide from late April onwards, at intervals directed by the manufacturer, then your trees should remain nice and clean. This will also deter other creepy crawlies such as caterpillars.
Soapy water sprayed onto the foliage is an old remedy that can also work but is not much use when aphid colonies are widespread and established. A good winter wash is worth applying during the dormant period as this will kill any overwintering colonies.

Plum moth

This is the culprit to blame when you cut into a seemingly perfect plum only to find a maggot or grub merrily chomping away inside tucked up near the stone. Nothing is more annoying during plum-time! Understanding the life cycle of the insect is key to providing effective control. The adult moths lay their eggs on the flower buds just before they open in late winter or early spring. The emerging grubs burrow into the fruitlets just as they have set and make their way inside. This leaves a hole so tiny it is just barely visible when the fruits are mature. Because the larvae are safe hiding inside the fruit a contact insecticide is of no use. You need a systemic insecticide – one that gets taken in by the sap of the tree and kills the grubs as they feed. And timing is important too. It is no use applying too early or too late. The key time to apply it is when the eggs are being laid so aim for late winter and early spring. You only need to apply the once, this should kill the emerging larvae and provide protection for the year as this particular insect only has one generation a year.

Growing plums and gage trees in containers

Will be covered fully in a separate article. But is is an easy and very satisfying method of cultivation for these fruits. Although of most value for those short on space it is equally appropriate even if you have acres of room. Nothing is nicer than a good plum tree close at hand on the patio. As long as you choose the correct dwarfing rootstock the trees are actually encouraged to yield earlier in life than they may do in the open ground. And crops can really be quite heavy – as long as you choose the right rootstock. It is no use trying to grow a vigorously growing tree in a pot.
So make sure you opt for Pixy which is nice and compact and eminently suited to life in a container of between 20-24”. You can grow it as a small bush tree or a column style tree.

The selection of varieties should be based on criteria already described earlier in this article. The fact that the tree will be grown in pot or container will make no more difference. All varieties will be suitable and greengage trees can especially satisfactory because they seem to enjoy the added warmth and protection. If you already have plum trees elsewhere perhaps you will try something a bit different to the norm so as to extent the range and interest of your plantation.
Siting is important – the maximum amount of sunshine is of great importance not only to promote the greatest crop but also ensuring those fruits are as sweet and succulent as can be. A sheltered locality will mean the container is less likely to blow over in strong winds And also try to make sure an easy water source is nearby so you can easily provide the amount of water required to ensure the trees wellbeing.
General purpose composts are suitable but my recommendation for container growing will always be for a loam based compost. Never use garden soil ‘though.
General aftercare as described previously will also apply in most cases. But feeding is better applied as a tablet or pellet which can be acquired from your local source, or as a foliar feed.

Fruit Tree Pests & Diseases

Growing fruit is an enjoyable and rewarding past time, however even the most avid and vigilant of gardeners may occasionally encounter a problem. To help you tackle any challenges posed by mother nature we have put together a range of fact sheets that will assist you in the fruit garden with pest and disease management.

The following tables have been designed to aid diagnosis and treatment of common fruiting problems. We hope to update it as more information becomes available.
for information on soft fruit pests and diseases.

Apple and Pear Pest, Diseases and Disorders

Symptoms Possible Problems Symptoms Possible Problems
Leaf distortion/
Marking on leaves
Aphids
Apple Mildew
Pear Leaf Blister Mite
Pear Leaf Midge
Spider Mite
Apple Leaf Miner
European Pear Rust
Scale Insect
Tortrix Moth
Blossom Damage Apple Blossom Weevil
Apple Mildew
Leaves/shoots
dying off
Apple/Pear Canker
Apple Mildew
Fireblight
Frost damage
Maggots in fruit Apple Sawfly
Codling Moth
Pear Midge
Holes in leaves Green Capsid Bug
Winter Moth
Marked/
distored fruit
Aphids
Apple Sawfly
Apple/Pear Scab
Bitter Pit
Brown Rot
Green Capsid Bug
Winter Moth
Disfigured/
cracking bark
Apple/pear Canker
Fireblight
Woolly Aphid
Scale Insect
Fruit Drop

Apple Sawfly
Codling Moth
Frost Damage
Incomplete Pollination
Pear Midge
Winter Moth
Fruit/June Drop

Fruiting disorders Biennial cropping

Apricot Pests, Diseases & Disorders

Symptoms Possible Problems Symptoms Possible Problems
Leaf distortion/
marking on leaves

Aphids
Silver Leaf
Spider Mite
Powdery Mildew
Scale Insect

Discoloured/
cracking bark
Bacterial Canker
Leaves/shoots/
branches dying off

Apricot dieback
Bacterial Canker
Frost damage
Silver Leaf

Marked/distorted fruit Aphids
Brown Rot
Holes in leaves Bacterial Canker Fruit drop Frost damage
Incomplete pollination

Cherry Pests, Diseases & Disorders

Symptoms Possible Problems Symptoms Possible Problems

Leaf distortion/marking on leaves

Aphids
Apple Leaf Miner
Silver Leaf
Spider Mite
Scale Insect

Discoloured/
cracking bark
Bacterial Canker
Leaves/shoots dying off

Bacterial Canker
Frost damage
Silver Leaf

Marked/distorted fruit Aphids
Brown Rot
Green Capsid Bug
Winter Moth
Holes in leaves Bacterial Canker
Green Capsid Bug
Winter Moth
Fruit Drop Frost Damage
Cherry Run-off
Incomplete Pollination
Winter Moth

Cobnuts & Filberts Pests Diseases & Disorders

Squirrels are the most serious pest since they can quickly devour a whole crop. Netting is usually ineffective as they can chew through it. Galvanised wire netting is effective but can lead to problems of zinc toxicity. The fruits can be attacked by Nut Gall Mites, Nut Weevils and Winter Moth larvae. The trees are generally free from disease.

Figs Pest, Diseases & Disorders

Squirrels and birds are the most serious pests. The trees are generally free from disease but occasionally suffer from Coral Spot (dead twigs become covered in pink pustules). Disease twigs should be cut back to a healthy bud and the prunings should be burned.

Peach, Nectarine & Almond Pests, Diseases & Disorders

Symptoms Possible Problems Symptoms Possible Problems

Leaf distortion/marking on leaves

Aphids
Peach Leaf Curl
Silver Leaf
Spider Mite
Powdery Mildew
Scale Insect

Maggots in fruit

Plum Fruit Moth

Leaves/shoots dying off

Bacterial Canker
Frost damage
Silver Leaf

Marked/distorted fruit Aphids
Brown Rot
Holes in leaves Fruit Drop Frost Damage
Incomplete Pollination
Plum Fruit Moth
Discoloured/
cracking bark
Bacterial Canker

Plum, Gages, Damson & Cherry Plum Pests, Diseases & Disorders

Symptoms Possible Problems Symptoms Possible Problems

Leaf distortion/
marking on leaves

Aphids
Apple Leaf Miner
RustSilver Leaf
Spider Mite
Powdery Mildew
Scale Insect

Blossom damage

Frost Damage

Leaves/shoots dying off Bacterial Canker
Frost damage
Silver Leaf
Maggots in Fruit Plum Fruit Moth
Plum Sawfly –
(See Apple Sawfly)
Holes in leaves Bacterial Canker
Green Capsid Bug
Winter Moth
Marked/distorted fruit Aphids
Brown Rot
Green Capsid Bug
Winter Moth
Pocket Plum
Disfigured/cracking bark Bacterial Canker Fruit Drop Codling Moth
Frost damage
Incomplete pollination
Plum Fruit Moth
Winter Moth

Quince & Medlar Pests, Diseases & Disorders

Symptoms Possible Problems Symptoms Possible Problems

Leaf distortion/
marking on leaves

Aphids
Quince Leaf Blight
Spider Mite
Scale Insect

Blossom damage

Apple Blossom Weevil

Leaves/shoots dying off

Apple Canker
Frost damage

Maggots in Fruit Apple Sawfly
Codling Moth
Holes in leaves Green Capsid Bug Marked/distorted fruit Aphids
Apple Sawfly
Brown Rot
Green Capsid Bug
Disfigured/
cracking bark
Apple Canker Fruit Drop Apple Sawfly
Codling Moth
Frost Damage
Incomplete Pollination

Sweet Chestnuts & Walnut Pest, Diseases & Disorders

The sweet chestnut is relatively free from pests and diseases. Most pests of walnuts, including the Walnut Leaf Gall Mite, are not too serious and can cause mostly cosmetic damage. Walnuts are susceptible to some diseases including Walnut Blight, Walnut Leaf Blotch, Honey Fungus and Grey Mould.

for information on soft fruit pests and diseases.

USING CHEMICALS SAFELY – ALWAYS READ THE LABEL

When using chemicals it is most important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions precisely. Only use on the fruits that are listed on the manufacturer’s label. An accurate weighing machine and measuring cylinder should be obtained. Chemicals can be wasted by making concentrations unnecessarily strong or by making them too weak and ineffective. Furthermore, if chemicals are too strong they may cause damage to the foliage.

Only spray in the early morning or evening when the weather is dry and calm. Avoid spraying when fruit canes and bushes are in flower, to reduce the risk of killing helpful pollinating insects such as bees.

Plum Tree Diseases: Indentifying Common Plum Diseases

Problems with plum trees are many and diverse, resulting from wind spread virus, bacterial and fungal spores also distributed by splashing water. Plum tree diseases may slow or stop production of the fruit crop. As such, control plum disease at the first opportunity after discovery for the health of your fruit producing plum trees.

Common Plum Tree Diseases

The most common plum tree diseases include black knot, plum pocket, brown rot, plum pox virus, perennial canker and bacterial leaf spot.

Black Knot Plum Disease

Black knot is a plum tree problem that begins as a velvet green knot in spring then turns black and swollen. Black rot may girdle limbs and in severe cases form on the tree’s trunk. This plum tree problem gets progressively worse without treatment and may halt useable fruit production.

Plum Pocket Plum Disease

Swelling, discolored, hollow fruit signals the plum disease called plum pocket. Hollow fruits may be infested, itching to burst and further spread this plum tree problem. Once established, the disease returns every year. Fungicides may help, but prevention is most effective.

Brown rot is another of the plum tree diseases that affects the fruit. Homeowners are often unaware of a problem until green and ripening fruits display spots of the brown rot. In worsening stages, fruits become mummified and cling to the tree. They produce spores in spring.

Plum Pox Virus

Plum pox virus is normally transmitted via aphids but can also be spread through grafting of affected plants, including peaches and cherries. Once a tree is infected, there is no treatment and the tree should be removed to prevent further infections to nearby plants. Symptoms include discolored rings on leaves and fruits. Controlling aphids is helpful too.

Perennial Canker on Plums

Plum tree diseases, such as perennial canker, are spread by a fungus, infesting wood already damaged by insect, mechanical or winter injuries. Sites with poor drainage encourage the collection of spores in damaged spots on the tree, as do excessive wounds.

Plum Tree Leaf Spot

Bacterial leaf spot attacks the leaves, often appearing unnoticed on the leaf underside. Continued infestation results in the plum tree problem of further leaf damage with holes surrounded by the red ringed bacterial indicator.

Additional Plum Problems

While not technically a disease, plum curculio is a common problem with plum trees. This snout beetle pest and its young can wreak havoc on these fruit trees, causing extensive fruit drop and decay or scabbing of the fruits. Spraying trees with suitable pesticides is your best option in combating these pests.

Various methods of control are available to the homeowner. Proper planting of resistant cultivars may be an option to correct plum tree problems. If you are putting in a new orchard, find out which cultivars perform best in you area. Your local County Extension Agent is a good source of this information. Do not plant new plum trees near older, diseased trees. Proper pruning of diseased branches is a worthwhile control.

Plum and prune

Description

Plum, Prunus domestica, is a deciduous tree in the family Rosaceae grown for its edible fruits. The plum tree has an erect growing habit with a spreading canopy. It possesses large, thick, oval-shaped leaves which are darker in color on the upper surface than on the lower and which often have a serrated edge.The tree produces buds on terminal spurs on the branches with each bud generally producing 3–5 flowers. The fruit is a fleshy oval fruit with a single seed contained within a stone. The color of the fruit varies with variety and fruits can be purple, blue, green, red or yellow. Plum trees can attain a height of between 6 and 10 m (20–33 ft) and can live for periods in excess of 50 years if properly maintained. Plum may also be referred to as European plum and originates from Southwest Asia
Plum tree
Plum tree
Plum blossoms
Plum foliage
Plum fruits
Plum leaf ‹ ×

Uses

Plum fruits are commonly consumed fresh or used to make jams or jellies. Plums may be dried to produce prunes.

Propagation

Basic requirements Plums grow best in areas with warm summers and require a summer temperature between 20 and 30°C (68-86°F) for the fruit to mature. The trees also have a chilling requirement to break dormancy. Plum trees grow best in well-draining sandy loams in areas that receive full sun but can will grow in a variety of soils as long as water does not sit on the surface after heavy rainfall. It can be beneficial to plant the trees on elevated land to allow cold air to drain away. Trees will grow optimally in soils with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 Propagation Plum trees are propagated vegetatively to maintain the desirable genetic characteristic of the parent. Plum rootstocks are commonly used but plum may also be grafted onto peach, Japanese apricot and almond rootstocks. Plum trees should be planted in full sun. Plant bare root trees in a pre-dug hole which is slightly wider than the root ball. Backfill the hole so that the tree is planted to its original planting depth ensuring that the bud union is above the soil line. It is usually possible to identify this from changes in the color of the bark. If planting multiple trees they should be spaced 2.0–2.5 m (6.6–8.2 ft) apart. Most plum varieties are self fruitful but cross pollination may be required for fruit set. Plums are pollinated by honeybees and it can be beneficial to maintain bee hives in orchards. General care and maintenance Plums should be pruned annually, including the year of planting and are best trained to an open center. When the tree is bearing fruit, it is important to thin the fruits to prevent the tree from over-bearing. Aim to have 1 fruit every 15–20 cm (6–7 in). This allows fruits to become larger and prevents the tree from reducing production the following year. Trees should be watered regularly during the growing season to aid with fruit development. During dry periods, water trees every 10 to 14 days. Apply water deeply and widely, to at least the width of the canopy. Trees will also benefit from the application of a nitrogen fertilizer in Spring. Harvesting Plum fruits should be allowed to mature on the tree. Fruits can be picked by hand when the skin has turned the color typical of the variety being grown.

CABI Crop Protection Compendium. (2014). Prunus domestica (plum) datasheet. Available at: http://www.cabi.org/cpc/datasheet/44278. . Paid subscription required. Ogawa, J. M., Zehr, E. I., Bird, G. W., Ritchie, D. F., Uriu, K. & Uyemoto, J. K. (eds) (1995). Compendium of Stone Fruit Diseases. American Phytopathological Society Press. Available at: http://www.apsnet.org/apsstore/shopapspress/Pages/41744.aspx. Available for purchase from APS Press. Parker, D. (1999). Plum. Clemson Cooperative Extension. Available at: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/tree_fruits_nuts/hgic1358.html. . Free to access. Strang, J. (2012). Plums. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Available at: http://www.uky.edu/Ag/NewCrops/introsheets/plums.pdf. . Free to access.

[ID] Mirabelle plums

I am a bot whose sole purpose is to improve the timeliness and accuracy of responses in this subreddit.

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Original Post:

Author: /u/Illegalplum

Mirabelle plums

I’ve seen conflicting info about the illegality of Mirabelles, hopefully you guys can give a bit of clarity.

Last year, we found a groove of odd fruit trees on our land, and after some research and consultation with an AG prof, determined they are Mirabelle Plums. We made some jam, and it was amazingly delicious.

This year, we are hoping to capture the whole yield, which will produce a vast quantity of jam, which we were thinking about selling at a farmers market.

But, it seems Mirabelles are illegal.

Most of what I have been able to find suggests that it’s only illegal to import them, but some suggests they are illegal to even possess (trees and fruit). I can’t imagine it would be taken as seriously as cannabis or such, but I’d rather not be on the pointy end of some dumb law.

Any insight?

Thanks.

Let’s Get Plum Crazy!

Everything you need to know about cooking with plums! How to pick the perfect plum variety, store it, and what flavors to pair it with.

It’s time for our next ingredient spotlight, and this time we’re looking at plums! Admittedly, I never used to like plums. But for the silliest reason. When my sister and I were younger, we each had our “favorites”, and these favorites could not overlap. If her favorite color was purple, mine had to be something else. If she liked dogs, I liked cats. And guess what? She really liked plum. That’s the silliest thing in the world right?

Well anyways, I bought a variety pack of plums for the photos in this rundown today, and quickly fell in love with greenages (read on for more on those)/have realized the huge mistake I’ve made in dismissing plums all my life. So for the next two weeks, I’m making it up and cooking these little flavor bombs into everything. But first, here are the basics of what you need to know about plums!

How to pick the perfect plum

Plums ripen from summer to early autumn, with different varieties ripening at different times. Pick a plum that’s heavy for it’s size and isn’t too soft. A soft plum is probably overripe.

Varieties of plums

Plums were one of the first fruits we humans domesticated, which means we’ve have thousands of years to breed new varieties of plums. There are way too many to list them all here, but here are some of the main varieties you may come across.

  • Blackamber: A really popular one. These have a dark purple skin and a light yellow inside.
  • Damson: These are also purple-skinned, but are a bit more tart, making them great for jams and baking.
  • Greenage (or Reine Claude): Small and bright greenish-yellow, this variety is ultra-sweet, though a bit hard to come by.
  • Mirabelle: Small and yellow, these are also super sweet.
  • Satsuma: Red skin with bright red insides.
  • Prunes: Prunes (dried plums), are made with freestone varieties of plums (the seed is easily removed, as opposed to clingstone varieties). And their well-known laxative properties? That’s just because they’re loaded with fiber and sorbitol, a sugar alcohol.

How to store plums

If your plums are hard and unripe, store them in a brown paper bag at room temperature for a few days. This helps concentrate the ethylene gas near the plums, causing them to ripen faster.

Once your plums are ripe, store them in the fridge and eat within a 3 to 5 days. They perish quickly so keep an eye on them!

Plum flavor combos

Not sure what to pair plums with in cooking? I always turn to the Vegetarian Flavor Bible for flavor combo ideas. Here are a few ingredients that pair really well with plums!

  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Lemon
  • Honey
  • Oranges
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Sesame
  • Other stone fruits (cherries, apricots, almonds, nectarines)

Plum Nutrition Information

per 1 plum (66 g)

  • Calories: 30
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g,
  • Fiber: 1 g, 4% of your Daily Value (DV)
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • 10% DV of Vitamin C: A water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant to fight against potentially damaging free radicals (molecules with unshared electrons that float around wreaking havoc) and an important cofactor in collagen synthesis.
  • 5% DV of Vitamin A: Provides the provitamin version of this fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it comes from a plant source and your body converts the plant pigment into active Vitamin A. It is essential in many components of healthy vision, as well as immunity and cell growth/differentiation.

Plum

Plum, any of various trees or shrubs in the genus Prunus (family Rosaceae) and their edible fruits. Plums are closely related to peaches and cherries and are widely eaten fresh as a dessert fruit, cooked as compote or jam, or baked in a variety of pastries. The European plum (P. domestica) and the Japanese plum (P. salicina) are grown commercially for their fruits, and a number of species, including the purple-leaf plum (P. cerasifera), are used as ornamental plants for their attractive flowers and leaves.

plumPlums on a tree.Peter

Trees of some plum species reach a height from 6 to 10 metres (20 to 33 feet), while others are much smaller; some species are small shrubs with drooping branches. The flower buds on most varieties are borne on short spurs or along the terminal shoots of the main branches. Each bud may contain from one to five flowers, two or three being most common, and often give an appearance of densely packed, showy flower clusters when the trees are in full bloom. Each flower features a hollow cuplike structure known as the hypanthium, which bears the sepals, petals, and stamens on the outer rim and surrounds a single pistil. After fertilization the hypanthium and its attachments fall off, leaving the ovary to develop into a drupe fruit. As the fruit grows, the outer part ripens into a fleshy juicy exterior, and the inner part forms the stone, or pit, which encloses the seed. The fruits show a wide range of size, flavour, colour, and texture. As trees come into bearing, they do not require much pruning and can be grown satisfactorily in a home fruit garden if diseases and pests are controlled.

Plums are widely cultivated throughout the world, and many varieties are adapted to a range of soils and climatic conditions. The common European plum (P. domestica) probably originated in the region around the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea and is at least 2,000 years old. Another Old World plum species, probably of European or Asiatic origin, is the Damson plum (P. insititia); ancient writings connect early cultivation of those plums with the region around Damascus. The Japanese plum was first domesticated in China thousands of years ago but was extensively developed in Japan; from there it was introduced to the rest of the world. Japanese plums have a longer shelf-life than most European varieties and are thus the most common fresh plum sold commercially.

pruneDried plums (Prunus domestica), commonly known as prunes.© Szabo/.com

Plum varieties that can be dried without resulting in fermentation are called prunes. Such plums have firm flesh and contain high levels of sugar, qualities that favour their being preserved by drying, which is done in dehydrators or in the sun.

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