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Super cold plums

 
                          
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So who out there is successfully growing plums in zone 4 or colder? Let's get all that experience down in one place here.

What varieties have been good?
Any tricks you've used to succeed in cold climates?
What are some good sources of planting stock in your area?

I'm Zone 3b (Canadian) near Regina, SK. Only been here a year and a half, but last year I planted Pembina, Grenville, American, and Canadian plums. I also potted up some Mustang cherry plums last year and I've got an Opata cherry plum ordered for this year.

I planted on a slightly north facing slope to delay flowering in the spring a little bit. We got down to -44 C here last week so they're being put to the test this year.

I ordered the Pembina and Grenville from Boughen Nursery up in Nipawin, They were good size trees for the money but a little "soft". I think they had been in a greenhouse most of the spring and even though I hid them on the north side of our garage for a few days they still showed signs of stress (last spring was also extremely dry and windy). For the American plums I got 10-20 cm sticks from Select Seedling Nursery out of Saskatoon, Mustang (~20 cm) from Treetime, and Opata is on order from Hardy Fruit Trees out of Quebec. Oh, and the Canada plum came from them, too.
 
pollinator
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Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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Indeed, we needed a plum forum. I live in zone 4b, quite sandy soil, and I tried a few but always been disappointed: they died or didn't fruit and most of them are cling stone type. On top of that, we live on a flat land, in very continental climate, so the temperatures vary wildly. We just has a serious cold snap with 2 weeks of -20-24F  below zero and in 5 days, we have +43 today but another cold snap is coming, so....
We are also very prone to late frost, of course, so I'm riveted by your attempts and took down the list. If they survive in zone 3, they should work well here, if I can even get them. Would you have some that are free-stone?
Mount Royal, Pipestone, Toka, Waneta and Black ice is pretty much what we have to pick from. Mount Royal is a European type and seems to work the best, but I got very few fruit before it died. Toka and pipestone also worked for 2 years, then they became infested by something that ate the leaves [tent caterpillars] and they are failing now.
Let's get a great forum going with lots of different kind: Several are bound to survive and perform!
 
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We live in northern Vermont, zone4a and have what must be a 30 plus year plum tree that gets a bumper crop every other year.  I think the trick is its planted on a northern slope and shaded somewhat to the south by a large apple tree. The trick there is delaying bud break and flowering that can get ruined by our frequent late frosts.

We're going to be planting some more plums this year and see if we can continue to have success.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Russell Apotheker wrote:We live in northern Vermont, zone4a and have what must be a 30 plus year plum tree that gets a bumper crop every other year.  I think the trick is its planted on a northern slope and shaded somewhat to the south by a large apple tree. The trick there is delaying bud break and flowering that can get ruined by our frequent late frosts.
We're going to be planting some more plums this year and see if we can continue to have success.



Would you know what cultivar you have? Do you do anything so it doesn't get curculio? We have a large number of wild cherries, and they get "the tent' https://entomology.ca.uky.edu/ef423
and gummosis https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/fruits/fegen/what-is-gummosis.htm [or perhaps canker] something awful.
 
pollinator
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I live in 4b and we have native plums growing all over the place.
 
Russell Apotheker
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Not sure on the cultivar as it was here when we bought the property. It definitely has some gummosis going on but I think that is more due to our woodpecker population vs borers. Regardless, it seems to handle itself just fine and remain productive. So I guess its entirely possible to raise productive plums in this zone if you have the right placement and variety.
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Trace Oswald wrote:I live in 4b and we have native plums growing all over the place.



Thanks, Trace. Last year, I got some little ones from Oikos. I can't wait until the snow is gone to see if they survived the cold snap. They are under the snow right now. I would love to have some. A few years ago, I saw a wild patch but something got into them and they all died. I'm looking forward to having my own. Do you remember if they were freestone or clingstone? The ones I remember were freestone when they were *really ripe*.
 
Trace Oswald
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Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:

Trace Oswald wrote:I live in 4b and we have native plums growing all over the place.



Thanks, Trace. Last year, I got some little ones from Oikos. I can't wait until the snow is gone to see if they survived the cold snap. They are under the snow right now. I would love to have some. A few years ago, I saw a wild patch but something got into them and they all died. I'm looking forward to having my own. Do you remember if they were freestone or clingstone? The ones I remember were freestone when they were *really ripe*.



I can't really remember.  I just remember they were small, but had very good flavor.  Monroe County Land Conservation Dept sells them for $5 each.  I should have lots of pits this year as well.  I'm happy to send you some this fall.
 
pollinator
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I also live in Sask. And out of those varieties that I have experience with is the Pembina which does extremely well and very hardy. I know of one tree that is many decades old and is now sending up thousands of runners in an abandoned orchard. My inlaws have one in their yard that grows like a shrub with many branches about 7 feet high, but that tree is bent to the ground every year with the tremendous amount of fruit on it.

I planted one at my previous house but moved away within 2 years but looking at it now it has grown well.

Currently I have 1 Pembina and 2 brook gold plums that I planted 4 years ago and should have a respectful harvest this year. Along with 2 trees that must be pushing 100 years old (no idea what variety) which my 95 year old neighbor remembers eating from as a wee boy.
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