Plums in Maine

Plums are coming in, starting with Underwood and Opal. Plum pie last night-yumzah! I did not spray this year (previously used surround for PC) so some trees hae reduced or damaged crops, but always interestin to see what varieties can produce without intervention. Superior is one(4th leaf tree with 60+ fruit and little pc damage), but it will be another few weeks before those are ready. My hybrid plums are 4-7 years old, on seedling prunus Americana roots, and all are bearing fruit, some have croploads that necessitated propping up limbs! I was counting on the plum curculio doing more thinning for me!
I planted out seeds from last year Toka crop, fourth leaf tree had 1000 fruit or so (and they were sooo flavorful) these are now some nice looking young tree shoots. Most I plan to use as understock, but I would like to let some fruit to trial these Toka crosses for fruit.
Wine from last year’s crop was finally bottled, probably will be the favorite of the 4 fruit wines from last year as the plum flavor and aromatics really shine.




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Toka seedlings


Looks good, thanks for sharing!


You ever try growing Purple Heart plum up there?

Matt, I got Purple Heart scions from John Meader (his dad introduced the variety) in 2014, and top worked it onto some p. Americana pollinator trees in my orchard as well as a few bench grafts. I got to try the fruit at Johns, found it somewhat similar to Santa Rosa, though it wasn’t dead ripe. None of my plums suffered from -25 f low this past winter, or a mistimed pruning just before that cold snap in feb. No peach bloom this year though…

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I’ve got Alderman and Superior…Also have Satsuma (the bloomed after roughly -15F to -20F) … Also have Lavina that hopefully blooms next spring. I have a (now huge) Alderman seedling that looks more like a wild plum then like its parent. I think it was pollinated by a wild plums (they grow near my house). The plums on it seem to be small (Alderman are huge if thinned).

I’ve got some Superior plums (grafted to apricot) that are the biggest i’ve ever seen…possibly new world records :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Jesse those photographs are wonderful. And. . . you are in Maine! What a great job you’ve done! I had a couple of houses in Maine, one in York Harbor, where the deer ate every fruit tree I ever planted. No deer? How do you do it? I even had electric fence for a while. Very impressive and save me some pie!

Thanks MrsG! Critters can be an issue- porcupines have been the worst, with deer and voles rounding it out…my orchard surrounds our home on 1.87 acres and I try to be vigilant. A fence might be in my future at some point. The plum trees all took a serious beating from hungry porcupines a few years back- I had to go on night patrol to get rid of them! And that was when they were much smaller trees, too- the Superior just about got stumped!
I will update this as they ripen…might need some help with ID as a couple lost labels.

Have you got Underwood to fruit yet? Whaddaya think of the taste? It’s supposed to be a good pollinator for Purple Heart. Thanks.

Underwood is the first pic. Taste is good, maybe a bit of apricot with the typical sour skin. Medium small size-think silver dollar One of my smaller 5th leaf hybrid plum trees, compact yet somewhat upright habit.

Very nice atmosphere. Like a travel-fruit growing piece in that your photos transport me to another world, although we are both northeast growers. But your northeast is another country. I love your next to wildness approach to growing fruit. Your cooler temps probably discourage brown rot.

Plums only bear fruit here about every five years. I never dreamed they would grow in maine.

My trees are planted quite densely, 6-8’ in staggered rows at that same spacing, idea being that this would help pollination. Now I realize this might be too tight, contemplating removing trees or more aggressively heading back the larger more vigorous ones. I have started to graft over some of the varieties as I figure out preferences and what works here.
My site is on a good site for orchard culture- north face and about 3/4 up the hill with plenty of airflow- not so pleasant in the winter when the winds come howling down from Mt Washington, however!

You’re near Mt Washington? Wow… i watch the weather obs in the winter there…amazing winds and cold… I can see how you don’t get crops every year if you get a taste of that kind of weather…what is your altitude where your orchard is?

Wow, plumtastic!

They don’t do well here because we usually a week or two of warm weather in the winter which causes the plums to break dormancy and bloom and then it turns cold again and freezes them.

I am a little over 1000’ elevation, with direct exposure to the Presidential mnt range.
Plums do bud out before most other fruit, I think we have had good fortune with no hard freezes during bloom the last few years. Perhaps it is our northern exposure helping delay things a bit as well. The little bees and or wasps that pollinate really go nuts for the bloom! The wood and dormant buds seem plenty hardy here in z5a, no damage despite the -25 this Feb. We are going to get rewarded by the precosity that some of the Japanese and hybrid plums are showing in their 4th leaf.
I am excited to start trialing some more euro plums-16

new varieties in a nursery row, ready to get planted out this fall or next spring.