Fruit tree Newbie with Plum dumb questions

Years ago a co-worker gave my husband some plum and peach trees. We have no idea what variety these trees are. Only one of the plum trees is still living and that is remarkable that it is. Long story. So this neglected plum tree is actually growing this year and blooming. It has never born fruit and I’m guessing that it may need a pollinator. I’ve been looking at Methley just because it’s advertised as a pollinator and I have no knowledge other than what I read. Any suggestions?

A couple questions. Where are you located? It can help determine how much disease and pest pressure you face.

Also, can you guess if your plum is Japanese or European plum? Methley is a J. Plum. You want to plant the right type of plum to cross pollinate.

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Kathryn, nothing is a dumb question! Glad you’re interested in trying to get your plum tree to set fruit. Mamuang is correct, I see you’re in Athens, TX, zone 8a. Here is the deal with plums - need to know if what you have is a Japanese or a European plum, as neither will cross pollinate the other. Methley is a Japanese/European cross plum (but pollinates Japanese varieties). It is a low chill plum (doesn’t require a lot of chill hours to set fruit), it is also self-fruitful (many Japanese plums are, very few European plums as self-fruitful and require a cross-pollinator), and it has many very good qualities: It’s early (July or thereabouts), vigorous, heavy producer and the fruit is very good. So, if you’ve got a European plum, which odds are in your favor it may be, as it’s never set fruit, a Methley plum won’t help your cause :slight_smile: So, my suggestion is to buy a self-fruitful Japanese plum (like Methley, Santa Rosa, Weeping Santa Rosa which I think is a really excellent choice as the fruit is excellent, it is self-fruitful and it has a lovely weeping habit), and a nice European plum. Put one on each side of your unknown plum tree, and most likely, it will start to set fruit. I can’t recommend any European plums, as I am currently not growing any (save for my brand new MIrabelles, which just arrived), so hopefully one of our list members who grow European plums can advise you better. In fact, we have several forum members from TX, some are very expert, so I know you’ll get a few good recommendations. I am assuming Green Gauge will probably get recommended, as it is self-fruitful and good quality. I am taking it that it blooms, but no fruit forms, correct?

Patty S.

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Kathryn, I live in Beaumont, about 4 hours south of you. It is very doubtful it is a European Plum, I have never seen one for sale here. They do not do well in our heat and humidity. You will need to get a J. Plum that blooms at the same time as your plum. If it is blooming now you may need to get one of the early blooming J plums. It can be a bit tricky. I have a Mariposa that is starting to bloom. My Methley and AU Rubrum are still dormant and my Gulf Beauty just finished.

I would get a Methley or Santa Rosa since they are partly self fertile. Methley produces in May, early June in our area.

I also read your profile on about growing raspberries. They can be grown here but will need afternoon shade or they will die. It is the heat on the leaves that kills them.

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I have no idea what variety of plum it is. They were purchased years ago on a whim by people (us) that really had no interest in variety or actual requirements for growing fruit. We had horses that would get out and chew them down to nothing. The plum that is left is a grafted plum and it is growing true to the graft. My DH says it has bloomed before but I’ve never seen it so it must not have been too obvious. We have cleaned around it and fertilized it last year and it has a lot of new growth but saying that it is now only about 3 1/2 feet tall but well branched and full of blooms. No fruit ever. But then…it’s had a SAD life! According to the Texas A&M publications (which is BIBLE here :laughing:) the european varieties do not do well here due to low chill hours. We do get about 800 chill hours in our location. So I don’t know but I think I’ll go with a Methley and I will get plums from that tree, right? If after a lot of care this year and a Methley at its side I don’t get plums then will search the Euro line for next year. We have had an early spring and everything here is in bloom. Methley is available in local stores.

Thanks Gary. I’ve about settled on Methley and there are several in a local nursery that are just starting to bloom so hopefully will be on about the same wavelength. I think I’ll get one in the ground for a possible mate to mine. I wasn’t sure of Methley fruit…I’ve never heard of it but then I really am plum dumb. I am trying to increase my knowledge and this forum is fantastic. It surprises me that anything in Beaumont is still dormant. This weather has been a wild ride this last year. The Bradford pears here were blooming in December… I’ve been hoping that my peaches and figs don’t get nipped.

We have just planted more raspberries. The Heritage that we planted last year roasted until we put shade cloth on them and they did produce starting in October and into November. This year we put Caroline in afternoon shade and hope they do better.

Everything that met chill hours has bloomed. However, since it was such a light winter many things are still waiting for additional chill hours.
For the record, there are better tasting plums than Methley, such as Mariposa and AU Rubrum (according to reputation). The problem with either one of those is it might be what you already planted. I am hoping to make a good crop of Mariposa, Golden Nectar, and some Au Rubrum. I just hope they will over lap in their blooming. The Methley I harvested last year were good but a little bland. It was not tart which I like. If you like a little tartness to your plums go with Santa Rosa. I tried to buy a plum that was blooming in Beaumont but the three places I went were out of plums, plenty of everything else. If my methley or AU Rubrum does not start blooming by the end of the week (after heavy rains) I will look elsewhere for a blooming plum to make sure the Mariposa gets pollinated this spring.

Is it growing from above or below the original graft line?

I have a methley plum among others and it is my least favorite tasting plum. Late or weeping santa rosa is better. Burgundy plum is probably my favorite tasting. Burgundy is a great pollinator(J. Plums and Pluots/Pluerries) for me and sets well.

It’s growing above the graft line. There are some areas that are knarled from being broken but all the growth is well above the graft.