Treatment to keep plums from falling off

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by dino, Jun 18, 2012.

  1. dino

    dino Active Member

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    Location:
    St-Albert, Alberta
    Botanists:

    Pass that freeze-distilled stuff, please.

    I hope I don't offend (hitch-hiking). In my view, this is simply the best botanical forum. I'm sorry it's fallen on semi-hard times.

    I'd like to talk about a plum in zone 3. Possibly brookgold, fruit's yellow c/w red blush, roughly 3 cm. long.

    Here in Alberta parkland, we had a record-smashing mild winter. And decent precip. this spring.
    Super flowering, and super fruitset, except for trees that bore prodigiously last year.
    The plum has a huge number of ovules still clinging. Some, but not many have swollen yet.

    My question: what treatment (water, fertilizer, hormones) do orchardists give plums to keep fertilized ovules from dropping off ?

    I still have time (a few days?) to apply any special treatment that may help. This tree has never produced anything close to a bumper crop.

    dino
     
  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    (re: semi-hard times: this thread remains current)
     
  3. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    My experience with plums is that fruit set is most dependent on the suitability of the variety to the local climate. I have several varieties of plums, some of which set a good crop practically every year and others that set a poor crop most years. The weather at blossom time and shortly thereafter seems to be the biggest factor. Even if the bees are out and doing their job when the blossoms are ready, some varieties (Japanese in my case) won't set a good crop unless the weather is warm enough when pollination takes place. For example, I've tried many kinds of techniques to get my Santa Rosa plums to produce more; but the only time that I got a good crop was a year when spring was late in arriving. That year the weather warmed up suddenly late in the spring so that temperatures were higher than normal during the time that the plum trees were blooming and setting fruit. I have lots of mason bees and several varieties of plums for pollination; so that situation stays the same every year; the only difference that year was the higher temperatures. Every year I get lots of little plums that look like they were pollinated, but most of them invariably drop off later. I'm not aware of any way to improve the situation. On the other hand, I have a couple of varieties of European plums that produce an excessive crop practically every year.

    If there were a treatment that increased fruit set for Santa Rosa plums, I would expect BC fruit growers to use it; but I only see California grown Santa Rosas in the stores. Of course, it's possible that your plums are just not getting cross-pollinated. Do you have a variety recommended for that?.
     
  4. dino

    dino Active Member

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    vitog:

    Thank you for your interesting reply.
    I'm rather single-mindedly focused on what I can do in next week to improve ovule retention.
    We're enjoying a left-coast downpour just now. Thanks for sending it our way.

    So:
    -water's taken care of,
    -fertilizer recommended seems to be equal parts of N-P-K
    -and I can't find anything about hormonal supplements
    Doesn't seem to be much more to do but pray. The tree & fruit are remarkably disease-free.

    vitog, since you brought up Japanese plums: I have a question. There is (at least) one (big black delicious fruit) that's hardy here in zone 3. Can someone possibly name the variety?

    dino
     
  5. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I made a quick search of a couple of prairie nursery sites, but the closest to a black plum was Pembina, which is dark red.
     

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