Greetings all: If you live in a part of the Deep South where bacterial stem canker pressure is just especially high as I do, it is nearly impossible to keep European type, Japanese type and Japanese X Chickasaw hybrids alive very long. I have tried most of the AU series and Byron series hybrids and of the ones I’ve tried only Robusto has survived 5 years under the stem canker pressure in my yard with no sign of disease. The pure or nearly pure Chickasaw varieties that were popular in the Deep South in the early and mid 20th Century are a lot more reliable. Many of these improved Chickasaws were never really commercial varieties but were informally handed down through family lines or locally distributed by a feed and seed store or the like. I have one such nameless Chickasaw that my father acquired from one of his relatives or from one of his costumers. I don’t know which. I do know that like all Chickasaws on its own root, it suckers profusely and its been passed down a very long time via root suckers. I think it would be a very good idea to see just how many distinct improved Chickasaw Plums we can come up with. Bringing these guys back is the key to making plums an easy enough fruit to grow that ordinary home gardeners can have success without a lot of frustration. Lets show photos and descriptions of our Chickasaw hand me downs. Thanks and God bless.
OK, I’m having trouble loading pictures now. I used to be able to load them directly from my FB page without them being to big. Now everything I try to shrink a picture, it comes back saying its too big. Any suggestions???
Great idea, I’m just getting started with Chickasaw plums so I don’t have any pictures yet (scions of Guthrie and Odom). I haven’t grown either of these yet but I have read several sources saying that Guthrie does not sprout as much as others so this one might be a good rootstock if you want to avoid the suckering.
This is the plum passed down through my family that I’m calling Toole’s Heirloom cut in half.
Toole’s Heirloom whole. The best ones are a little more orange and less red. This one was a tad over ripe for my liking.
This pic gives you a sense of the leaves.
Here is a general description of the tree: It has the typical lance shaped leaves of a Chickasaw plum. The trees are big for plum trees, about 20+ ft tall. It doesn’t get quite as big as a European plum, but it gets bigger than any of the Japanese types I’ve seen. It sucker’s profusely. Both in my yard and in my parent’s yard they will show evidence of leaf scald in late summer and will loose their leaves pretty early in fall, but it does not seem to hurt the vigor of the tree or fruit production. Judging from a tree that was in my aunt’s yard, this one while certainly not immune to stem canker will persist and bare fruit for several years with stem canker.
My biggest complaint about this strain of plum is that the blooms are very short lived even for a plum. If you don’t have good bee weather for the three days or so this plum is blooming, it’s just too bad for that season. However, in my yard, the blowers of heirloom seem to open right in the middle of Robusto’s bloom time. (Robusto flowers last over a week.)
The fruit is sweet and very soft when ripe. It’s my latest ripening plum in my yard, ripening towards late June and early July here in SE Georgia. The plum curculios like this one the best, and the trees are invariably way too big to get good coverage with pesticide.
Every year I have suckers to give away.
By the way, I’m very much of the opinion that you should try to get your Chickasaw type plums growing on their own roots. They are a much longer lived tree than the peach root stock that nurseries invariably graft them onto, and you can keep a strain going forever by transplanting the root suckers a few yards away from the parent. Plums are not easy to root but it can be done with cuttings taken in late September or early October. God bless.
Here is a Description of Exterior from the Just Fruits and Exotics website: Excelsior is a native plum discovered by George Tabor of Glen St. Mary’s Nursery. This variety has been around for awhile, but is winning favor again for it consistent bearing traits. Heavy production of beautiful golden yellow plums. Soft and sweet, Excelsior is excellent for fresh eating as well as for making plum jelly. Use Byrongold, Robusto, Segundo, Guthrie, Odom or Chickasaw to pollinate. Fruit ripens early-June. 400 chill hours. Zones 8B-9.
I think there may be two distinct plums with the name Excelsior. I’ve seen websites describe it as a bronze plum. There is a local feed and seed in Statesboro with some that just came in with a purplish plum pictured on the label. Be we all know that photos of fruit on labels from wholesale nurseries often have no connection to what the plant will actually produce. God bless.
Here is a description of Guthrie from the Just Fruits Catalogue with photo:
An improved Chickasaw plum that doesn’t sucker and is highly disease resistant. Guthrie plum is yellow-skinned with a tangy, sweet yellow flesh. Fruit is 1 1/2 inches across and makes a fabulous jelly. Use Bruce, Byrongold, Robusto, Segundo, or Chickasaw to pollinate. Ripens mid-June. Zones 8-9.
Here is a Description of Odom from the Just Fruits Catalogue: Late ripening native Chickasaw plum (Prunus agustifolia). Found in the North Florida area by Mr. Odom, an employee of Superior nursery. Beautiful red fruit is of large size, crisp and sweet. Trees have the disease tolerance of the native plum making it an excellent choice for organic growers. Use Byrongold, Robusto, Segundo, Guthrie or Chickasaw to pollinate. Fruit ripens late June early July. 400 to 500 chill hours. Zones 8B-9.
Note, Toole’s Heirloom originated from North Florida and is orange to red and late ripening. When I first saw this description, I thought maybe I had an ID on my plum. But there is nothing crisp about the Toole’s heirloom plum. God bless.
I have several Chickasaw plum trees that I started from suckers. The suckers came from my dad’s yard. The original tree was one I pick off as a kid and the fruit was awesome. Seemed to be a natural hybrid as most other chicksaws around here are small, red or yellow, sweet but not a lot of flavor. This particular plum was mostly orange, sweet and very flavorful. You can pick a little before they are ripe and they still taste really good. The mother tree was up rooted by hurricane opal but I was able to get suckers that came back. The trees started fruiting couple years back and when I tasted the plum, it was like stepping back in time.
The leaves on my chicksaw are smaller than yours. Yours almost looks like a Japanese plum tree. I will have to post pictures this summer of my trees.
Did you know that the chicksaw Indians used the roots to obtain red ink? When I pulled the suckers, I immediately noticed how deep red the roots where.
Agree completely. I don’t mind some frustration, or a challenge, but the tree killing hard to manage diseases are very discouraging.
Both Guthrie and Odom have fruited for me on 2nd year trees from mailordernatives.com. (whose trees were shipped in great shape at very reasonable prices) Very vigorous. They were similar tasting, with the Odom ripening a bit later. Good but not great plum flavor. Need to hang on the tree until starting to lose some firmness to develop the best flavor. Golf ball size to slightly larger. No diseases so far.
I know Lucky is growing several, I’ll give him a shout out to see if he catches this - Hey @Lucky_P!
coolmantoole, are you able to send seeds?, I would be interested in trading for some anytime you have them.
I don’t have plum seeds right now, but I can collect some this season assuming my tree produces OK.
While I’m happy to collect seed from my Toole’s Heirloom Chickasaw plum, I should point out that the seedlings will not be true to the parent. To my knowledge the only pollinizer around mature enough to bloom this year is Robusto. Given that, I’m guessing that the pollen parent to nearly all if not all of the seedlings will be Robusto. That would not necessarily be a bad thing since Robusto is a smaller tree that produces larger fruit. The fruit on Toole’s Heirloom is sweeter. But I suspect that lots of the seedlings may not have the fruit quality or disease resistance of either parent. But some will have both and may result in a new wonderful variety.
A better bet will be to get some root suckers from me. A sucker will result in a productive tree sooner and is a sure bet that it will have all the characteristics of a Toole’s Heirloom. I may have one or two left of Toole’s Heirloom that have not been spoken for yet. If not, there will be more next winter I’m sure. God bless.
I have fond memories of Grandma making wild plum jelly from these plums . I have some wild ones on my place . Never produce . I bought 50 seedlings 2 years ago . Put them in a row for grafting . I will probably let some bloom . I noticed some slightly different leaves on a few . So likely crossed on those . It will be interesting to see the fruit .
If you know where an isolated thicket of these plums are you should be able to increase your odds of getting a more pure chickasaw heritage plum from seeds. Even if you get a hybrid it might keep all the disease resistant characteristics.
There are likely pure ones in these seedlings . I know a few wild thickets . Poor fruit set seems to be common . One thicket sometimes has a good crop . I see American type in there also . So they could be mixed or the Wild Goose type segregating out both types .
It will be interesting to see what the fruit is like. It would be awesome if someone who had space to spare tried growing seeds from mine since right now the pollen parentage will be known to be Robusto. It would also be interesting to see what the Robusto seedlings produce since the pollen parent will be Toole’s Heirloom. I hope that my McKibben Chickasaw plum will start blooming and producing some during the 2018 season. If that’s the case, this will be the last season where all seedlings from either Robusto or Toole’s heirloom will be crosses between the two. I would try germinating seedlings and seeing if I can come up with something interesting if I had the space. But I am totally out of space in my yard, and what little space I do have, I want to give to something that is more of a sure shot. God bless.
The lack of fruit set in a wild Chickasaw plum thicket probably stems from the colony being made up of clones of the same tree and that the problem is the lack of a pollinizer. Try moving a plant from some totally different location to close proximity to the non-productive thicket, and it might start producing. God bless.
Yes pollination seems to be the problem . My wild ones bloom before my Japanese American hybrids . I have put blooming branches from other thickets and got some fruit to set . Hopefully the row of seedlings will bloom this year . That should get some fruit to set on older wild tree .
If you are willing to send some seeds, I’m willing to try. The Robusto x Toole’s Heirloom Chickasaw sounds interesting. I’ve got some Guthrie and Odom seedlings in pots. They are either Guthrie x Odom crosses, one of those crossed with a not so great chickasaw, or one of those crossed with a really good tasting Japanese seedling. Anyone interested?