Purchasing plum trees for the first time

Hey Marcus, I don’t know if you still have any root suckers but I would love to try your family’s Chickasaw Plum. It sounds like a great native Plum.


Please remind me in the fall. Suckers are still popping up, so I won’t know how many I will get until then. God bless.


Hey I just got a Shirley plum tree but I cannot find any information on it…I saw online that generally a plum tree needs another plum tree to pollinate, is this true for the Shirley plum. Also, how long does it take to bare fruit.

I don’t know anything about that type of plum. I did a quick search and saw a few references to it but no details. Where did you get it?

Most plums require (or benefit from) having another plum tree nearby for pollination, but not all plum trees will pollinate each other well. It would be useful to know if the Shirley Plum is a Japanese or European type plum for instance. (or if it is some type of native plum)

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Are you sure it’s Shirley? Maybe Shiro?

I called the nursery and they verified that it was indeed a Shirley Plum tree. He told me that it is a grafted tree and it matures in June. It produces red fruit and it is a self pollinating tree. Thank you everyone for the help

Shirley is a J. plum according to Seedsavers. Cummins at least used to carry it. Can’t find my more recent edition then a 12 year old one.

I am going to add my two cents although I have very limited experience with plums. Be careful getting dwarfing rootstock on plums - from my limited experience they will runt easy. Second all of the varieties I tried (which were limited) were early bloomers and subject to frost damage. I have no idea how bad frost damage is in N. Alabama but after seeing zero plums I pulled all my trees except one and it has produced one plum in five years and it is self fertile. Get advice on which plums are late bloomers and frost hardy (if there are any) from people on this board. What good is the best tasting variety if it never sets fruit? If you call Starkbros they will tell you what rootstocks they use for plums. They will not tell you what rootstock is used on the tree you buy, Example they use 3 or 4 varieties of rootstock on apple trees most are not Wooly Aphid resistant. I need that characteristic in my rootstock so I do not buy apple trees from Stark Bros. They use two varieties of peach rootstocks, both of which work in my area - so I buy peach trees from Stark Bros. I have ordered from Ison’s and the tree I got what nice sized - there price is very reasonable for small orders. Best of luck with your trees.

Alan did you say you live in California or New York? I noticed you talking about Santa Rosa on this page. I am planning on replacing my Shiro plum with a Weeping Sana Rosa tree and have seen mixed opinions on zone compatibility on it.

If I had your chill hours I’d grow a European sweet prune. But maybe you already are …

I am growing green gage and Bavay’s Green gage already. Earlier this year I bought a Nadia cherry plum. I decided to get 4 four in 1 pluot tree and one weeping Santa Rosa for pollination which is why I asked. 2 of the 4 are the sweet pluot combo and 2 are the regular combo so I will have 8 pollinators there. I had a Shiro plum but read it was not as good as other plums like the weeping Santa Rosa.

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I was raised and grew fruit in CA into the late '70’s but have been in NY for 40 years. My experience is mostly S…CA, but my sister has an orchard in coastal far northern CA and my brother has one in Hawaii, both of which I have tended and planted trees. I more recently installed an orchard of trees from my nursery in another brothers soil in New Hampshire. I have a sister that lives in Denver, but she’s so busy raising her two young children she hasn’t delved into orcharding yet. Her mother has property that might work but I haven’t visited them yet- 2nd marriage of my father.

Do you know if a Weeping Santa Rosa would survive in somewhere like a New York?

I don’t know, certainly in here in southern NY an hour’s drive to Manhattan, Santa Rosa tends to get cambium damage from untimely cold. The toughest J. Plums I manage are Shiro and Methely, but Methely is a black knot magnet. I would suggest you graft weeping SR onto a Shiro. I suspect that the trunk is where the fatal damage occurs. I need to follow my own advice, I like Santa Rosa and my only tree died this cycle, probably from a very hard freeze in the last week of March. Winter was not exceptionally cold.

J. plums are as easy to graft as anything and when done at first growth I’ve had grafts become the size of 3-year trees the first year of growth when grafted to a young, well established tree of high vigor.