I went around the yard today looking at the apricots and J plums. If anyone is interested in relative bloom times, here are the results I recorded. The percent indicates (roughly) how many of the flower buds are open.
*- The one K1 rootstock that I benchgrafted and planted out. THe graft failed, but it grew a whole lot more than the K1’s which I kept in pots (some of which I planted out part-way through the growing season. Only the one I planted bare root is flowering, while the other 4 are not.
**- One tree had both labels and the other none- should find out which is which this year.
Goldcot- all open, with 80% done
Sugar Pearls- all open, with 20% done
OrangeRed- 95% (light bloom)
Early Blush- 80%
Autumn Glo- 80%
Laroda in the foreground (most flowers not open) and Lavina in the background (mostly open flowers). They represent two extremes, yet are situated right next to each other. The bushes in the extreme background are elderberries and an apple, with gooseberries and currants on the left, and Newberry canes on the ground.
My family liked Superior better. It has an interesting flavor and a ton of juice. I think I like Toka better myself, as it is much drier and has a different interesting flavor. A bit artificial, I can see how it would get the “Bubblegum” name. I severely over-cropped Superior, so mine actually has a limited bloom this year. In past years (before the over-cropping), both Toka and Superior got into the 16+ brix range. I have limited experience with most of the others. Satsuma was very good in it’s first year for me. Laroda was tart (even with high brix), but I think I picked it too soon.
Hopefully I can get a few more of these to ripen this year, assuming that the cold-snap doesn’t get them. I’m also grafting another 10+ varieties of J Plums, to keep the new ones rolling in.
I would like to ask, your toka plum ever set fruit yet?
If yes how is it taste? I like to know more info from Toka
Some web said toka like candy- sweet taste, sound is really
Interesting to me. Thanks Bob.
I’m not Bob but I think I can add my opinion here. I am around 60mi east of Bob in se ct. and had my toka produce last year. Some did have a slight taste of bubblegum and some did not. I harvested mine about a week or two after he did. Here’s a pic of mine and the sizes of them…
As far as Toka vs Superior goes, I grow both and think they are both great choices. Toka needs more pruning, aggressive grower in my yard on prunus americana roots, Superior is dwarfy, weeping habit, precocious bearer and larger fruit size. Superior is a more soul satisfying fresh eating experience- you can take a big juicy bite…Toka is also addictively tasty out of hand, and seems like a better culinary plum as well, more meaty flesh and semi freestone. Thank goodness I don’t have to choose!
Here’s a bowl from '15 of Toka with a few Superior, Alderman and VT plums on top, on the bottom row from the left is Superior, Toka, Alderman, Vermont.
I couldn’t harvest mine any later, as some animal ate most of what was remaining off the tree in one night. Another thing to throw out there is that when I severely under thinned Superior, they just didn’t ripen, at least not as early as they had in the past. I think it added a couple weeks to how long they hung on the tree, completely hard/firm. I’m not saying that this is necessarily responsible for yours being later, but it shows that there are some additional cultural factors in when they ripen.
Please do- I’m grafting several from you and it will be interesting to compare the orders next year. I’m guessing that yours will all be more compressed, just like mine are probably pretty close compared to people further south.
I have an aunt who has a fence row lined with seedling P. americana. Bubblegum is definitely a flavor in some of them, so it isn’t surprising that Toka has that flavor too.
I had some J plums from Costco last year that had bubblegum in their flavor profile. This was before I knew if you snooped around on boxes at Costco you usually can find the variety on the label. I wish I would have, as they were some of the best I’ve had. I might have to add Toka as a graft on my Superior at some point.
I was out taking another look today and noticed something interesting in the tops of the trees. The new growth at the top of the Laroda has flower buds all the way up. While the Lavina’s flowers only extend part way up the tree. Here’s a pic where you can see the difference.
I wonder if some plums flower on 1 year old wood, while others only make flowers on 2+ year old wood.
Laroda in the foreground (and to the right), covered in flower buds to the top and Livina in the background (and a bit to the left) with open flowers, then nothing in the top of the tree.
Bob thanks for posting. I have only three small plum trees, Producer, Rubrum, and Methley. They are still small and the only one that bloomed was the Rubrum. This is some useful information and I will be seeing later if any of the ones I have show these traits. Bill
A month and a few days later, my plum trees are just starting to bloom. Warm sunny weather for the first part of the weeks should really get them going, and I will post my observations then. Very little flower buds on the two Waneta I allowed to over crop last year, go figure, but plenty on Superior which was also loaded with fruit last year.
Here’s my list of plum bloom times, roughly in order from earliest to latest-
Northern Blue (not)
Prunus americana seedling
Beach plums (at least one week later)
Hope to share a harvest report in late summer, I promise not to be as long winded as last season!
You had a very compressed bloom- your plums were just starting to bloom 3 days ago and now your list is complete! I think the difference between my first and last was a lot longer. Toka was my last non-Euro plum by quite a bit, after Purple Heart by a decent amount. Maybe our Toka or Purple Heart are different. You sent me a bonus scion of Purple Heart this year, so now I’ll have PH from two different sources and can compare.
It’s funny that Superior was your first to bloom and it was around the middle of my list. I think that is mostly a factor of the types of plums I have- pure Asian plums and plutots seem to be a bit earlier.
Long winded isn’t bad- it just means lots of info!
Truth is that some are not yet blooming, or just beginning to. A shot of warm weather has sent my trees into overdrive, so I reckon they will all be blooming in the next few days,with exception of the beach plums.
Beach plums are just starting to open up their first flowers, 10 days or so after my early hybrid plums. This is the first season my beach plums have bloomed, one bush is only 2’ tall but loaded with flower buds, compact little guy. Hope there’s some fruit to try from these…let the anticipation begin!
The delayed bloom of beach plums would seem to make them a surer bet for frost prone areas.