realenglishfruit

Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Category Archives: Plums & greengages

November tips – protect pears and plums from bird damage

A bullfinch, photo courtesy of Paul Starkey/flickr.com

A bullfinch, photo courtesy of Paul Starkey/flickr.com

Even though the trees will be looking bare, it’s important to apply cotton threads to pear and plum trees as soon as the leaves have fallen. This is a good method of deterring pigeons and bullfinches who otherwise will eat the fruit buds, essential for next year’s crop, in pears and plums. Ordinary cotton is fine, just wind it around the tree (slip the spool onto a rod or dowel to make things simpler) so that the threads are about six inches apart. What happens is that the bird flies towards the tree, doesn’t see the thread, touches it with its wing, gets a fright, and flies off. No damage to the bird is done, and it helps your tree!

Victoria

Victoria, photo courtesy of Karen Breslau/flickr.com

Victoria, photo courtesy of Karen Breslau/flickr.com

The most planted plum tree. Very productive, easy to grow, regular crops provided surplus fruitlets are thinned out by late June. It is suitable for fresh consumption as well as bottling, jam-making and processing. The tree is very sensitive to the disease Silver Leaf fungus. Avoid branch breakages or any other wounds that would enable the spores to enter the tree’s cambium layer.

Finally, if after all that, it looks you might have a crop of plums/greengages, thin the new young fruitlets, when they are the size of a small hazel nut. The fruits in singles need to be spaced 4 to 6 inches apart, depending on the variety. If one can find the time to this, you are more likely to have a crop every year.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Shropshire Prune

Shropshire Prune, photo courtesy of wimbornedesign.blogspot.it

Shropshire Prune, photo courtesy of wimbornedesign.blogspot.it

Also known as Shropshire Damson. It is the best flavoured of them all. It is excellent for preserving, bottling or freezing. Not suitable as a dessert plum. If well pollinated  and not overcropped, it will produce regular crops. The trees are not very big and suitable for gardens. Harvesting late September.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Rivers Early Prolific

Rivers Early Prolific

Rivers Early Prolific

Rivers Early Prolific is a small to medium sized, deep blue plum, which ripens in late July/ early August. Very suitable for jam-making. It is self-fertile and has a high level of resistance to silver leaf fungus.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Purple Pershore

 

Purple Pershore, courtesy of Pershore Plum Festival/flickr.com

Purple Pershore, courtesy of Pershore Plum Festival/flickr.com

This is another reliable cooking plum ready around mid August. It is self-fertile and flowers late and thereby mostly escapes the worst of the spring frosts. If over-cropping occurs, it will not crop the following year. It makes a large tree and therefore it is not easy to handle unless grown on a dwarfing stock. One of the few plums that is resistant to silver leaf fungus.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

President

President, photo courtesy of n_turan/flickr.com

President, photo courtesy of n_turan/flickr.com

If the tree is well grown, it is a regular provider of very large plums. These plums should not be picked before October in order to have the full flavour. It is self-sterile and needs a regular flowering pollinator. It is suitable for the North, but not as a single tree on a very exposed site. It prefers heavier, well-drained soils.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Ouillins Golden Gage

Ouillins Golden Gage, photo courtesy of pepinieres-gromolard.com

Ouillins Golden Gage, photo courtesy of pepinieres-gromolard.com

This is one of the most reliable gages to grow. It is self-fertile and late-flowering and quite frost-resistant. If grown well, it is a healthy and vigorous tree with good sized fruits, ready to harvest by mid-August. It is a dual-purpose (dessert/jam) plum/greengage and a regular cropper. Suitable for the North in a sheltered position.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Opal

Opal, photo courtesy of terentino/flickr.com

Opal, photo courtesy of terentino/flickr.com

A lovely plum to eat; the tree begins to crop quite early in life. It ripens by mid-August and the fruit is of good size. Does best with a pollinator, however it is partially self-fertile. This variety was raised in Sweden and therefore it is suitable for the North.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Old Green Gage

Old Green Gage, photo courtesy of mrdarcysheritagefruittrees.com

Old Green Gage, photo courtesy of mrdarcysheritagefruittrees.com

One of the best gages to eat. Unfortunately not a heavy or regular cropper. Bullfinches love the fruit buds, and wasps love the fruits! It is frost-sensitive and it needs a good pollinator. The tree is very vigorous and not easy to manage. Fairly disease-resistant.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order

Mirabelle de Nancy

Mirabelle de Nancy, photo courtesy of Joes Berma/flickr.com

Mirabelle de Nancy, photo courtesy of Joes Berma/flickr.com

One of the best of the various Mirabelle varieties. It is self-fertile, flowers very early and fruit is ready by mid to late August. Makes quite a big twiggy type of tree. Tends to overcrop, and it is frost sensitive. Good fruit for processing.

Click here to go to the Tree Varieties page, where you can select this and other varieties in a provisional order