Anyone have any luck with European Plums in the South? I’ve looked at Bavay’s green gage the last two years but never pulled the trigger due to disease fears.
The reason I am looking for a European-type plum is because I love the melting, juicy, sweet taste of good European plums. I do not like the thicker skins and the tartness a lot of Japanese plums have. But if anyone has any suggestions for Japanese plums or plum-hybrids that are similar to what I’m looking for, I’d love to hear about them.
Oh, and also, this might be pertinent to the question: I’m definitely willing to spray but I’m not willing to “baby” the tree. So maybe around 5-6 sprays during the season and an additional dormant spray is what I’m willing to do.
I would stick with the most disease-resistant plums in Georgia. I don’t think any European plums are included in that group, they are all rot and knot magnets. If you want to experiment you can always graft one limb to some other plum tree, but that is about as far as I would go. I have found Golden Transparent Gage to be the most reliable for me, it ripens later and rots less for that reason. Still, its a rot and knot magnet like all of them are.
I tried four supposedly resistant types. The Green Gage was the only one to last long enough to bare any fruit. All I accomplished by trying to grow them was infect ground with stem canker. Not only do I think you would be wasting time and money, but you would be increasing stem canker pressure on the plum varieties that you can grow by trying it. God bless.
Many of the pluots are extremely sweet and some have no tartness in the skin. If you let them hang they become very soft and lose firmness but are still very good (you can age them off plant too, but leave them on for some time after turning, 2 weeks maybe?). I have not tried a lot but Dapple Dandy is the toughest and most prolific one I have. Green it is terrible, ripe it is amazing. Will last about 5 weeks in the fridge. You can graft it on peach. Let it hang weeks after it turns color. It can’t hurt to try a graft. Patent expired.
My guess is that Spring Satin is the only plumcot that might work in Augusta Georgia area. Robusto is big and pretty good. Toole’s heirloom is good but more Chickasaw than Asian even though the fruit is descent size and sweet. The flesh is soft it has sour skin. The Auburn University and the newer Byron varieties have not done well for me, but if you don’t have as much disease pressure from a huge wild Carolina cherry population in the area, they might do OK for you. They will most mimic Asian plum. I can tell you that Byron gold is kind of on the tart side. Mariana, a common root stock on many Euro plums is a nice tasting plum but not hugely productive. The individual plums are small but really sweet for plums. See my posts elsewhere about my pollination issues with it.
Beyond the above, I recommend going with what is really reliable here, the improved Chickasaw types, which include Toole’s Heirloom, Guthrie, Odom and Excelsior. All of these except Toole’s Heirloom are carried by Just Fruits and Exotics even though I think they are out of stock on most of these for the season. God bless.
I don’t know if this helps and it certainly doesn’t prove ANYTHING, but I have had the following European Plum Trees growing for 2-5 years
Damson (not sure what variety)
Bradleys King (damson)
Green Gage Bevay
I know several of these aren’t suppossed to be good for anything but jelly, and I also know there are several versions of many of them.
my 2 Damson and Kind Bradley Damson are 4 and 5 years old. Last year I got my first 4 fruits set on my Damson but they fell off after about 2 months. They were getting large but certainly weren’t ripe.
Since I haven’t gotten fruit from any of them, and since most of mine aren’t the type of euro you want (sweet), this doesn’t help you much. But I will say all my trees have been healthy the whole time (so far) here in TN.
I got all these from various sources so unfortunately I can’t tell you much more than their name, especially since I haven’t got fruit from any of them.
One thing I can darn sure tell you, at least for me and my location, these Euros grow MUCH MUCH slower than Japanese Plums. They also take more years before first blooms. And when they bloom, they don’t have as many blooms and they are usually only on the oldest growth.
Doubt that helps much but I’m in the south and have some Euro plums so I thought I’d chime in.
Elevation and being further north and inland make your conditions very different from Augusta Georgia. But even if one gets the trees to survive, brown rot will get a lot of the fruit in our humidity before they ripen. That was a huge frustration with my green gage. I had to pick them so unripe to keep them from rotting on the tree that they never developed their legendary sweetness. God bless.
Like the real estate agent said, its “location, location, location”! Cityman, I think your summers are not too different from mine. I get fruit off of them but it requires a lot of spraying of synthetics if they are not all to rot. Also black knot takes a few years to set in but it can wreak havoc. So, you still have all the “rot and knot” fun to come I am still growing them but I wonder if I will continue. I have removed all but the later ripening ones since anything early is in prime rot season.
When they are true and fully ripe, there is virtually no tartness in the skin. They are both sweet and juicy, especially Methley, which is a sweet Juice Bomb here. Both are rugged for Asian plums. The only problem is Black Knot with Methley which might be manageable with pruning (and spraying, depending on how far you’re willing to go).
The few euro plums I’ve tasted (eg. Rosy gage) were actually quite gummy, and not really juicy at all, though I have heard that some euro plums CAN be nice and juicy.
I’ve added a bunch of euros to my orchard, but none of those have fruited for me yet.
I probably ought to just go cut my euros down, especially considering most of them were terrible tasting choices anyway from what I know now. You gave me a similar warning about two years ago when I was talking about how easy grapes had been for me to grow in my new orchard. You warned me that I’d have black rot show up in about 4 years and just like clockwork, I lost my entire grape crop my 4th year to black rot. You then told me about spraying myclobutanil the next year (last year) and you were right again…it made all the difference in the world and I got another good crop.
Point is, if you are as accurate about your black knot prediction then I’m in big trouble within the next year or two. It wouldn’t hurt me too bad to have my euro plums hurt or even killed by black knot, but it sounds like it often spreads to Japanese Plums too, and maybe even plouts. That would break my heart. So I may need to think a lot about that to do next. Thanks.
Here I have only had black knot on pluots, so yeah maybe you should pull them. I hate saying that though, I probably would wait till it’s too late. Only Flavor Supreme got black knot. On the same tree is 6 other pluots and they did not get it.
Yea…knowing myself, it is almost impossible to imagine myself going out and cutting down 6 perfectly healthy trees that are 2-5 years old only based on what MIGHT happen. I absolutely trust @scottfsmith entirely and as I mentioned, his predictions have come to fruition for me in the past. But like you said, until I see the black knot, its just too much for me to go cut those trees down! haha.