Budding/grafting Wild American Plums

Has anyone tried it? We have a lot of them with their annoying root sprouts. Pretty sure we would have to spray for sucking bugs though. Seems like they murder the wild plums. We have one lowly Methley plum. But the hard rains usually take flowers and fruits off it. 8 years and not a single plum

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Hi Darren,
Yes, I have used p Americana for multiple grafts as my rootstocks and they typically accept most any plum variety. I grew up in W Tn where we once had many natural plum thickets but by time I finished high school most were going extinct. I never really understood why. So I have been collecting seeds and scions from many different places across the country. It would be nice to collect a few from you. I am starting a multiple species thicket here with various varieties I have received, so adding some from you would be most welcomed. Let me know if they may be possible.
Dennis
Kent, wa

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Yeah I just did a few grafts on wild plums this past spring. Toka and Superior both seem to take well. I think the superior graft put on 5 ft of growth! And that was on top of the original wild plum which was only two or three feet tall iirc. So it can definitely work.

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@dannytoro1

Yes you can graft about any plum to them.

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Perhaps you need another Japanese plum for pollination.

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Originally there was a Santa Rosa out there with it. But the Mrs. had an accident with the mower and it never came back. I thought some of the wild plums would pollinate it. It is right next to a huge thicket of mixed persimmons and plums.

I had a Methley plum that grew well. As it grew the leaves got lighter in color till July and the leaves were white. It continued till early fall then died. I guess I was lucky to loose a tree before I found out it wouldn’t fruit.

I’ve been interested in american plums due to their supposedly high resistances to the various diseases/pests that affect plums. Can anyone recommend a good variety from a nursery?

Yeah. Ours grew well at first. And the last few years a branch here or there would die off. Still growing albeit slowly.

@dannytoro1 I noticed you live in South Georgia. In my part of Georgia Chickasaw plum, Prunus angustifolia, is much more common than any other wild plum. Plum Curculio are a persistent and problematic pest. Every Japanese or hybrid plum graft I’ve tried has worked on Chickasaw, though most of my experience is with Chickasaw hybrids like Robusto. Sometimes the graft will end up being significantly thicker than the Chickasaw rootstock. They do sucker like crazy. @coolmantoole has a lot of experience growing fruit in South Georgia, and an interest in growing heritage fruit.

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Occasionally we see Plum Curculio. We get more sucking bugs, leaf hoppers and scalebugs

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There are American plum cultivars out there, but they tend to be astringent and aren’t as appropriate for southern Georgia as Chickasaw plum (Prunus angustifolia) cultivars would be which are not astringent. Southern Georgia is outside the American plum native range, but it is very much in the Chickasaw plum’s range. It’s likely way more resistant to disease in our climate and much less likely to have problems getting enough chilling hours. One thing Chickasaw and American plum cultivars will have in common is that they will need to have wild type present for proper pollination. They just don’t seem to be very cross fertile with one another or with the hybrids. I have several Chickasaw cultivars as does Haldog. I have suckers, but lots of people are already asking for suckers, and I can no longer promise some of them. But I probably have enough Toole’s Heirloom and Ms. Bessy to to discuss a trade. I have scion for lots of different plum varieties including 5 Chickasaw plum cultivars.

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Hi Marcus,
Would you want to exchange a couple of your Toole’s Heirloom and Ms. Bessy and native Chickasaw for some of my natives here? I also have a graft or two from the Wisconsin area that I could trim back this winter for a trade. I grew up in W Tn where Chickasaw’s grew plentifully for most of my childhood, but when I visited recently they had vanished, presumably from some type of blight. The fruit of one of my natives is similar to Stanley, but slightly smaller. Another’s fruit resemble Robusto. Also have Wild Goose, and a native cherry plum that is my earliest and longest and most prolific bloomer. I am looking for ways to expand my native varieties for improving cross pollination in a local thicket I am starting. Let me know what you can trade.
Thanks
Dennis

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Hi Dennis. Wild stands of Chickasaw plums are vanishing everywhere because highway and powerline ROWs are being maintained with herbicides rather than through mechanical means. In addition, highway departments used to plant them for stabilization. Now they are actively removing them because they attract deer and other wildlife to traffic.

I’m curious to know what you mean by a native with fruit similar to Stanly. Are you referring to a European plum seedling? Or possibly a Euro seedling which established itself in a non-cultivated setting? If so, there is likely zero chance that it could survive S. Georgia conditions. And bringing a Euro into my orchard again could whip up another round of stem canker which then could spread to the more resistant cultivars before I spot the disease and remove it out the yard.

Pm me and we discuss the possibility of me sending you Toole’s Heirloom. It would probably do fine in many parts of Washington. Thanks.

Marcus Toole

Saw your video on Chicksaw plums. Reminded me as days of youth in North Florida. When we looked in shadier areas for the more sweet; yellowest plums. And we roamed the woods like heathens…lol

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Same here… there were numerous thickets of Chickasaw plums along the field roads in my native east-central AL. One, we always homed in on first, 'cause it had the largest, sweetest, yellow fruits.
There are still occasional Chickasaw plum thickets to be found here in southern west-central KY, mainly along gravel or just-recently paved county roads. I have one clump of a large yellow-fruited plum from a sucker I transplanted from a roadside thicket about 5 miles up the road, and a thicket of a smaller red-skinned Chickasaw that I rescued out of the cowpasture at the edge of a block of clearcut pines when we first moved here 30 years ago… those are nowhere to be found now.
I have grafted ‘Guthrie’ and some of the AU hybrid selections onto stems in my native Chickasaw thickets, with good success.

Years ago, when I’d make a yearly pilgrimage to Tifton GA for the Southeastern Veterinary Pathology Annual Conference, I’d see thickets of what I figured were Chickasaws, that looked as though they had been purposely planted, along the side of I-75 south of Macon.

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Like Lucky I have used my natives as rootstocks and it seems almost any variety is compatible. I thinned out my neighbors patch by pulling out all the root suckers, grew them in a planting bed for a year and next spring I plan to graft other wild and hybrid varieties to them. There’s still a few natives I want to collect seed or scions from to add to what someday will be a thicket that represents each part of US, Canada and Mexico. I need more from the Midwest such as SandHill, and a few more from the SE to complete my desired collection. I’m almost certain that the three natives I have here are hybrids that retained their thorns. I’m thinking that’s the case since they resemble other larger domestic fruits in size, color and taste. My largest native trees were just saplings spreading by root when I built my house in 1994. After I lived here about 10 years they began to fruit. My neighbors thicket all resemble the fruits of my Stanley tree. Between the three natives the fruit and the foliage are distinctly different, but the growth habit is very similar, short spreading habit and root suckers to spare. Once I have each native collected and growing on my property I will contribute each variety to my offsite thicket that right now has about 20 of my mixed native plants growing. The offsite area of about 1/2 acre straddles a nearly perennial creek that’s spring Fed from a highway cut project. The excess road ROW was left fallow. With the creek flowing thru it, and all day sun exposure, it strikes me as an excellent candidate for putting it to higher beneficial use. The terrain is too rugged for any other purpose and too steep for city mowers to groom so I look forward to clearing out the native brush and replacing it with wild plums. Probably a 3-5 year project. This is one of the most interesting threads of the forum.
Dennis

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I really never paid attention to the Plums; other then noticing like the Persimmons they were being ravaged by those annoying little green stink bugs.And consequently dropping plums early. The persimmons do start to ripen before being attacked.