Can Plum Trees be Grown in the Lower Mainland?

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by DavidB52, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. DavidB52

    DavidB52 New Member

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    Location:
    Coquitlam, B.C. Zone 8a
    There are three plum trees growing in our back yard. One is only about three years old. No idea of the type of plum; it was given to us by a co-worker. The other two are older, and were already there when we moved into this home. So far, I have never seen any of these trees flower. (How old does a plum tree have to be before it starts flowering?)

    Several tips of the branches are turning brown, drying up, curling up, and dying. (See attached photos.)
    I am wondering what this is and what can be done about it?

    Some people I have spoken to say they've had the same problem, too much rain, and it's a problem for apricots too. Even the guy at the nursery told me not to get an apricot plant unless I had room for it on the north or west sides of the house under a cover of some sort. Our weather here is just too wet. Even my aunt, who grows many things successfully, gave up and tore out her plum trees.

    So I have to ask: is there any point continuing to hold out hope for these plum trees?
    Or should I tear them out and make room for something that will actually produce here?

    If anybody in the Vancouver area is having success growing plum trees, I'd love to hear how you are doing it. What cultivar are you growing? Is it sheltered (even partially) from all the rain we get? Is it planted on a raised mound? etc. etc.
     

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  2. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Location:
    Burnaby, Canada
    I grow cherry, apple, pear, peach, and plum trees; and I find that the plum is the easiest to grow. The plum tree has 5 varieties grafted on it; I think that the Italian Prune is the most useful one, since it has a reliable crop of tasty and versatile fruit and no disease problems except easily controlled occasional appearances of Black Knot. The tree is not sheltered or planted any special way, but it is growing in a south facing back yard and receives lots of sunshine.

    The plum trees that you have may be sprouts from the roots of a grafted tree. Plum roots sprout freely, but what you get is only good for a rootstock, not for fruit production.
     
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  3. DavidB52

    DavidB52 New Member

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    Hi, vitog.

    Thanks for the info.

    I was completely unaware of that possibility (that the tree may have come from a root sprout.) And my co-worker left the company a couple years ago, so I can't ask her. Is there a point at which a person can make a decision about whether or not this tree will fruit? 5 years? 6 years?

    Also, any idea about the brown dying tips?
     
  4. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Not knowing what variety you have means not knowing how long it will take to fruit.

    The browning tips don't resemble any disease that I've seen on my plum tree, but they do resemble Fire Blight, which does affect plums. However, Fire Blight usually turns the leaves black. The way the leaves are curled up is typical of aphid damage, and aphids can transmit many different diseases. Have you checked the curling green leaves near the brown ones for aphids?
     

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