I was gifted 25 plum trees, I have to go dig them up tonight so I am not sure if I will get any replies by tonight but I am wondering what tips people have for plum trees? I am planning on planting them on the north side of my garden because I have crappy clay soil and I was reading about how trees will help break up and repair that soil with the roots. So anyway I am just looking for any tips or planting info on plum trees! Thanks!
Plum trees are great trees. They will give you a wind break to your summer garden. Over time they will provide enough leaf drop to greatly improve your soll. In the first few years, you can give your soll a helping hand and cop & drop under your trees anything that you can get a hold of so that they will help keep the weeds down as a mulch and transform into compost.
I tend to plant my trees about 2 inches above the rest of the ground and then mulch two inches and taper it to the surrounding ground. 9We get enough moisture by winter snows and rains the rest of the year.) Give it lots of water first few weeks and then weekly (if need be) for the first couple of years. You do not want your plants to be in a drought and missing water. They will become drought tolerant in a few years. I think that plum trees are still quite forgiving and will usually do fine with some neglect.
If you heavy mulch around your new trees, then you might not need to water if you get sufficient natural moisture as the mulch will trap the rainwater. Just keep an eye on them.
Where do you live? My plum trees have already bloomed and are covered with fruit --- to try to move them now would be a disaster.
Have the trees broken dormancy? If so, it's pretty hard on them to move them now.
I'd prune them back pretty hard to make it easier on the root system to not have to support so much canopy. You might as well prune them on site so you don't have to transport all that extra tree mass.
Keep the root ball cool and out of the sun until you can get them back into the ground. Maybe bring a stack of old towels, wet them down pretty good, and wrap the root ball in a wet towel while you transport them.
"The rule of no realm is mine. But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, these are my care. And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything that passes through this night can still grow fairer or bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For I too am a steward. Did you not know?" Gandolf
Michelle - Thanks for the tips! I was planning on heavily mulching them because we live in a very dry climate, we get 10-12 inches of rain a year on a good year, on bad years we get 7-9 inches of moisture.
Marco - I am in southeastern Colorado, they are just starting to get buds of leaves on them and the lady who has them is going to rip them out as she does not want them, from what I understand they are saplings and 2-3 feet tall (but I wont know for sure until I get there tonight to dig them up) so they are really young and probably not fruiting yet. I was going to take lots of buckets with water to keep the roots wet in between me digging them up and then getting them planted once I get them back at my place, but I am hoping to have them back in the ground asap. Thanks!
Be sure to take some root ball soil along with the tree. dig around the trunk at least one foot out from the trunk, then down and under to cut the roots loose.
I like to use visquene (4 mil or 6 mil plastic) to wrap the ball in, I use twine to tie the plastic close to the trunk so it all holds together.
When you plant, use the standard twice as large as the root ball hole, be sure to not plant any deeper than where the dirt is when you dig them.
A few sources (Dave Wilson nursery and Michael Phillips) advocate planting plums in thickets. With 3-4 trees per station with each tree within ~18" of each other. Supposedly it aides in pollination.
In full disclosure, I have planted my plum trees in this way but it is too early for me to opine first hand on whether this is beneficial. Perhaps Bryant has a view (hau BR!) as he is very knowledgeable about fruit trees.
Best regards - OD
"This is it, but if you think it is, then it isn't anymore..."
Bryant- Great tips and I was planning on doing them except they ended up being in her sheep pasture so I couldn't leave big holes all over the place, so I had to take them as bare root saplings. So I am hoping they take well and don't completely die in my soil. It ended up being like 50+ saplings, so I am going to end up sharing them with my parents and a neighbor of mine.
O Donnelly - I have tons of them to experiment with, so I am going to plant some close together, some farther apart, some all alone. She says I can come every year and keep getting more, and she is going to try and get some peach saplings for me as well though she said that might not happen. Either way I can't complain about getting 50+ free trees! Even if they don't all live I know some of them will if I take care of them.
Plum trees do well in clump plantings, I think 18" is a little close as that will encourage branch crossing which can damage those branches.
I like to plant Plum trees around 3 feet apart for clumps because it makes pruning crossing branches easier.
On our farm I currently only have two plum trees but this year I will be making some cuttings so we end up with two to three clump plantings.
I am also going to create about ten new fig trees so we might not have such a disaster as we had this year with our two brown turkey trees dying back from a late freeze.
We will also be waxing buds around Feb. to prevent a frost kill back like we experienced this year.