I have an unknown plum tree which is approximately 12 years old. For approximately 7 years the tree has developed a large amount of small fruit that gradually fall off within a month while they are still green. The fruits rarely develop larger than 1/2" to 3/4" in size before turning yellow and dropping. I do not know the variety. Rarely, a few fruits develop larger but are quickly picked off by birds or insects. Until a couple of years ago there were no other plum trees in the area. Even still, this tree is rather isolated from the rest. There is always an abundance of pollinators swarming the tree while it is in bloom.
Do fruit trees set small fruit even if they have not been pollinated?
Yes. And then the unpollinated fruit drops off (the “June drop”).
As with most things in life, there are some exceptions!
Yes. For several years I had a Satsuma plum and a Shiro plum trees.
There were two years when Satsuma flower buds were killed by late freeze, Shiro, which has hardier buds, went on to bloom abundantly and set tons of small fruit. All those fruit turned yellow and dropped. Many when they were very small, others sized up a bit before turning yellow and dropped.
Without pollination, fruit cannot fully develop.
Thanks for clarifying.
Unfortunately, I do not know whether it is a European or Japanese variety. I will need to place a self-fertile variety of each in close proximity.
Where are you in zone 6?
Location will help people here give you better answer when you have fruit tree questions.
Also, when the tree leaf out, take several pictures of the tree including leaves, the bark and post here. Some people may be able to tell you if it Euro or Asian.
Located Near Lake Erie,
Attached is a photo of the tree. The creek is encroaching on the tree… I found a brief glimpse of it within a video after it was newly planted. It had several fully grown fruit then… they are round and greenish yellow. Looked to be about 2 inches wide
Some people take a bouquet of blossoming plum branches in a bucket of water and set it near the tree while it is in blossom, or even run a feather duster or dust mop through both of you can’t cut branches. Wild plums would work fine for this if you have a source. Insects can also cause fruit drop, I believe.
True - trees are smart enough to drop fruit if it’s damaged early.
If you cannot put in another tree, learn to graft and people here will send you scion. I’m harvesting right now. All I have are Asian. I think it is Asian but can’t confirm. I can send you scion right now. Graft when the tree blooms. So you have some time to purchase a grafting knife and parafilm to protect graft. And time to learn. Look on YouTube to see videos on grafting.
You won’t have fruit this year but will have some next year. Store scion in the fridge until it’s time to graft. I can prep pieces for storage for you (disinfect and coat scion with pinene to lock in moisture ).
Drew, I’m just seeing your post now. Thank you for the generous offer!
I do have room for additional trees, and plans for quite a few to go in this year.
This plum was identified as Asian variety. I have couple additional Asian plums. However, they are not within close proximity. Also, there are many other distractions for the pollinators between. Before identifying, I grafted a scion from both an Asian and European variety to the tree. I looks like the Asian variety is taking. I may place a couple blossoming branches near the plum as well.