BlackIce Plum - And minus 32 degree temps

Last year we planted BIP, along with various other fruit trees /bushes from our local Conservation Districts annual seedling sale. The BI Plum is grafted onto Myrobalon rootstock. It was 5 feet in height, with a stem diameter of 3/4 ". It was developed @ UOW for northern growers. It claims to have great cold hardiness, but our temps have been close to single digits the past weeks, and last night temps got down to -32 degrees with more cold in the forcast. The only protection it is getting, is a row of pine trees from the west. I am worried it might experience some die-back. We have a 4 year old Santa Rosa ,and an Italian Plum planted in a more protected area by our home and GH. They are doing great and never suffered any die-back. I am in zone 4b MI. What should I expect with this variety for surviving this brutal winter.?? Wish I could tredge out through the snow to inspect it. Also the fruit is descibed as having excellent flavor. Is anyone growing this variety, and if so how would you describe the taste? Flavor?? Is my Santa Rosa a good pollinator??

Thank you,

1 Like

I was considering getting one, but many reviews I read said it really was not that hardy so I would be worried about it. I decided it was to risky for zone 5b.

I’ll let you know how mine turns out. Bought it from Grandpa’s last season. As of 2 weeks ago it was looking pretty good.

I just read up on some of the reviews for BIP and it’s questionable hardiness. Some said it does not do well with wet feet . We have it planted where it gets good drainage. Also maybe it is the early spring freezes that kills it?? I will keep my fingers crossed. Kinda makes me wish I would have planted it in a pot and kept it in the gh.


Sounds good Sean. What zone are you in, and what has your winter been like so far? Thanks for the replies Drew and Sean.


I don’t know of any fruit tree that does well with wet feet?. Let us know how it does. As I was hoping to get one, if it makes it this winter at your place, sounds like it will do fine here. Cool about the Santa Rosa. I’m adding a weeping Santa Rosa this spring.

Zone 5. Winter has been decent. Couple of days in negatives, but about average for us. I was worried after last year with many days well below 0 hence the reason I bought that tree.

When I say it looked good 2 weeks ago I meant I walked out to it, no broken branches, bright green when I scratched the end of the branches, etc. I thought for sure the worst was behind us at the time but looking now it seems we probably have one more day. I can check later this week and see. After last year’s weather I did the same checks and my findings matched what the spring had in store for me. 2 nectarines, one dead, one killed to right above the graft, and one very alive Splash Pluot.

For some reason some zone 6 areas in Michigan were hit hard. One night -16F here, and 30 miles north, still zone 6 it got to -26F. I hope next year we have a more normal winter!

I will keep you posted. I do know the Conservation District does not replace any trees that do not survive, so I would be out of luck on that end. But the trees were in excellent shape and very good quality. I paid 22.00 , and that was a good price. I think I am going to order a Toka from them.


Sorry about the nectarines… :frowning: I really hope your trees pull through for you this season. I know how it it feels to loose trees or bushes after a brutal winter or spring.
I will try to venture out to inspect the trees once my hubby plows a path for me. I am getting another order ready for more cherries, plums, peaches and apples. Keep me updated on your BI please.


I have a black ice plum. It’s been here for 2 growing seasons. This winter the coldest has been -23F here at the house twice so far which is the warmest low for the winter I can recall after 40 years of living here, but our winter is not over yet. Last winter was much colder but the black ice came through ok and even had a few plums, but the blueberries took a big hit. Where it’s planted is in a low area so I am sure it gets even colder there. Also I put it in an area with a lot of clay which does not make it a happy camper. I think I will have to move it.

I can’t tell you about cold hardiness but I can tell you that I just love this plum, it’s very juicy and sweet. I planted mine in the Spring of '13 and got three plums off of it last year, would have been four but a bird got to that one before me.

Oh and I forgot to say that the 2009 ed. of the fruit and nut inventory book says that it is self fertile. I doubt it but can tell you I got plums and the only other plum that bloomed was a toka/bubblegum with a total of six to eight flowers. My burgundy and sweet treat plueery didn’t have any flowers.

Good to hear your BIP survived a few winters for you. I hope it pulls through this one without much or no damage to it.
It is incouraging. Thank you.

Yes, I want this plum, and so it’s nice to hear some good results. You know anybody could get a bad tree sometimes it is more a reflection of the nursery and not the tree.

I heard so many good things flavor/taste wise about BI… I am happy you at least had some to taste . I hope you get lots more this year!! Get them before the bird do!! :slight_smile:

Agree… I am placing an order for another one with our local CD seedling sale this spring.


Any updates on the hardiness of this plant @barefootgardener ?

Hi Jesse,

Unfortunately my BI Plum tree that I posted about succumbed to our hard winter. It died just above the graft line. I placed another order that spring for two more BI trees. I planted both in large container’s for their first year so the roots could develop more. They are in front of my GH where they get full sun, and, protection from the winter winds. I went out last weekend when the weather was warm and inspected them. So far they look like they made it and are looking good with no die back that I can see. The tips on the branches look good. The months of Nov. and December were pretty mild, but, January and February temperatures had a some days below -20 . And this past week has been pretty cold with brutal winds. I am hoping they continue to do well through the spring with little or no die back. I am very excited to see them get through the winter and look forward to spring blooms. Not sure if I will get any fruit, but, it would be nice… I also planted a Bubblegum Plum (Toka?) last season, and that looks good so far also.

1 Like

Any follow up on these BI Plums? I am trying to choose a few varieties. Well wishes, Carole

@NatureCarole In z5 iowa you should be okay to plant many plums. We need someone from iowa to jump in as far as disease resistance as that is a huge issue and you need to make sure to get a rootstock that likes your soil.

Many z5 plum options but toka and superior are good partners (These bloom before euro plums and are american x a plum hybrids) these you could try along with black ice if you wanted.

Euro plums like the prune varities do good also Mt royal, seneca, empress, stanley, castleton i would go for something that is later blooming myself
Or the gages like bavays gage, opal, oullins gage, or any of the other gages you really enjoy, they yield less and take a while to get going i guess.

Please check out disease issues for your area and all these trees

1 Like