Prairie Native Sand Plum harvest

This bush Sand Plum native to our frost prone dry kansas prairie is amazing. Producing like this in spite of our late freeze that killed my reliance peach blooms and damaged the pears etc. An amazing wild crop. They get sweet and tasty right before or at drop so the best ones for fresh eating are often on the ground. The tart ones make great jelly. Few disease or pest problems i have never seen black knot or things like that. I really should explore more and introduce the best selection i can find selected for bigger fruit and latest bloom time/best crop in bad freeze years. Then we could test them in more humid climates etc…

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What does it taste like? Its a very pretty fruit.

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Mildly/moderately sweet, good flavor. More flavor, and less sweet, than like a ripe store-bought plum. Soft flesh, very juicy. When ripe. I prefer the flavor over store plums.

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Nice looking fruit. If you need someone to trial some selections in Maine I’m your guy :wink:. Although I’m sure someone has trialed them in a similar climates in the past? The lack of black knot really intrigues me.

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Hey that sounds like a great idea! Lets do it! I am going to gather some seeds :slight_smile:

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Definitely my favorite jelly!

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Those Look pretty solid the ones I find have pure goo inside, but I love them
also the skin is thick and dark,
but do not get that many I think other people get to them though.

I haven’t yet but
Ever Dry them could with a oven set at 200 all day.(8 hours)

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After 10 years or so of frustration and no fruit from various European and Japanese hybrid plums, I removed/abandoned them all, and rely only on native Chickasaw plums (and the ‘Guthrie’ selection, grafted onto suckers from my larger/yellow-fruited local selection.
Yeah, I get some PC, but brown rot has been minimal, black knot has not been a problem.

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We have a similar plum on the beaches of the East Coast called beach plum. No black knot, and I’ve heard PC isn’t much of an issue if at all. We’ll see how my bushes do. It’s biggest downside is that it tends to not bear every year, whether it’s going biennial, variable pollination success, or some other factor. It’s also definitely more of a processing plum, but I’ve found some that are great for fresh eating. @Everett those would be worth trying in your location as well. There are good sources for seedlings (NH State Nursery) and “improved” seed lines (Oikos Tree Crops) where you can get them on the cheap. They would probably hate Kansas, as they seem to need coolish summers.

@PaulinKansas6b do the sand plums suffer from off years?

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Jay, I had a couple of beach plums from OIKOS. They grew OK here in KY but were not as tall as the ones I remember seeing on Plum Island (yeah, that one!). Small tart fruits with not much pulp, but I can see how they would make a fantastic jelly! One died, so the other had no pollenizer… bloomed annually for years afterward, but never again set fruit; I guess the Chickasaws nearby didn’t bloom in synch with it. I finally eradicated it, but it took several years to get rid of all the suckers.

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Thanks. I actually just planted 2 beach plum from fedco this spring and they seem to be growing nicely so far. I’d love to hear how they do for you!

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Some patches are different strains and bloom several weeks apart and some patches are more frost prone than others. The ones i am watching that best survive late frosts seem to produce heavy every year without alternate bearing. I want to keep better record of these things going forward, there are so many patches in the community.

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I have heard the fruit size can be small. When I lived on Long Island, NY, the ones I’d find there where about the size of a cherry with a similar pulp to pit ratio, but maybe those were exceptions to the rule! I have a bunch of seedlings of Oikos’ Nana strain, so I’m curious to see what comes of it. Worst case scenario, it would be easy to make jelly. I’ve also seen they can make a nice substitute for sloe plums form making sloe gin and liqueurs, which would also be very easy regardless of the amount of flesh. I picked the Nana strain because the small size makes it easy to tuck in odd spots that I couldn’t make work for much else.

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Nice! We may have to start a beach plum thread if there isn’t already one.

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There are a few threads already which has some good info. I hadn’t heard that they don’t get black knot…in fact I have read the opposite but we shall see soon. Black knot is a major plum problem in my location.

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Yeah, I found those pretty quickly. I sure hope there’s little to no black knot. That’s a lot of the reason I’m choosing not to grow Euro or Asian plums. Just seems like too much trouble. And yet I’m choosing to grow apricots and peaches, so go figure.

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@jcguarneri Yeah the relative isolation out here, or dry climate, could help with disease, ive never spotted knot, but hopefully Everett can evaluate these seed i send him if things go good, maybe they are super resistant but i bet his environment will be a great test.
I am only growing knot resistant Euros, hopefully their resistance combined with this sunny dry climate will spell success. I really want Honeysweet, its pretty rare yet. But I just got Kenmore it has a great resistant reputation.

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to be clear… I never claimed that Chickasaw plums were immune to black knot… just that it had not been a problem for me (at least not yet).

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I’ve only heard of Prunus besseyi called sand plums; these look more like American plum or some other Prunus. Is the term used generically for wild plums now?

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It is a very old term everyone around here, and their grandma, use for these native kansas short bush plums. They often grow on sand hills, and in sandy upland and high prairie pastures here, literally. The local national wildlife refuge info center display signs also call them sand plums. Also grow on bottomland, but another taller american plum also grows in the bottoms, which is less drought hardy and also at least the patches I know about tend to be more frost prone.