Thoughts on small elephant heart plum tree

Hello again everyone. As always, your thoughts and opinions are super appreciated.

I bought this elephant heart plum tree, one year after the other trees are planted. Almost all my other trees are bare root. The elephant heart plum tree was a potted tree that was from a local nursery who purchased it through Dave Wilson nursery. Unfortunately, I lost the tags and do not know exactly which route stock it was. When looking at the website, it looks as if it would be a citation or myro 29c.
Because it was potted, it was already a year old.
I have fertilized the same as all of the other trees. I will post some pictures of a few other trees that were planted as one year old, bare root trees during the same time. So theoretically, they should be the same age.

Here’s my question. Why is it so small? Do some trees just grow a lot slower than others? Looking back at photos I planted it in 2019.
That would make it a five or six year old tree. I would like good size tree 12 foot tall by 12 foot wide or something close to that.

Should I rip it out and try a new one? Could it possibly be on a dwarfing rootstock?
Or should I just be patient and flood it with nutrients?

Elephant heart plum tree

Other trees planted at the same time


Nice trees, excellent job with the pruning!

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Have you seen any leaves try to come out below the graft union? If it’s burgundy, it’s citation.

Some species of trees do grow faster than other. Some rootstocks grow faster than others. Some cultivar (cultivated variety) of the same species grow faster than others. The term “vigor” is used.

Is your tree producing fruit? How thick is the trunk diameter? Looks like your big trees are 4 inches caliper and little tree is 2 inches caliper.

Another edit: Well done with pruning, I’m also shooting for that shape w/ my trees.

Thank you :pray:.

Yes, it is roughly 2 ish inches in Caliber. It only produced two plums last year. :disappointed:
No it has not tried to produce any shoots underneath the graft union.
I guess I could be thankful that it’s not a giant 20 foot tree. haha

I have multiple types of Dave Wilson plum/pluot/aprium/pluerry for 2 years in ground. Most of them push at least 2 feet of new growth first and second season.

The most vigorous tree is Flavor Supreme Pluot which grew over 5 feet per season. Despite being reduced to a stump twice by deer and wind damage, it still managed to get to over 2 inch trunk caliper at ground level. 2 years in the ground, I would bet Flavor Supreme will be bigger than your elephant plum tree. Only issue with Flavor Supreme is it may not be the most consistent fruiter, especially if you don’t have many plums around for pollenation.

What is your fertilizer and watering schedule for your trees? If your tree rootstock is Citation, this rootstock is known to be more sensitive to drought conditions compared other rootstocks. I would give it more water than the peaches. If you don’t get 1 inch rain per week in summer I would water it. The soil under the wood chips should be moist. If your soil is very sandy, moisture retention will not be as good as clay i would water it more frequent still.

It’s a good time now also to give high nitrogen fertilizer. This can be free with saved urine. 4 parts water to 1 part urine, which can be given to your tree each week over a 2 ft diameter surrounding the trunk. Keeping your ground moist under the wood chips, with lots of nitrogen may invigorate your tree.

Looks great!

My elephant heart is tiny as well, but it has only been in the ground since last fall. From some of the posts I’ve read it can be a very slow grower with certain rootstocks.

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Ok makes sense. It is in sandy soil and the rest are in more loam. I will give it another year and water a little more frequently and fertilize a little better.
I don’t know how my wife would feel about the urine situation. :wink:
I actually tried it about four years ago for my vegetable garden and then she found out. Wasn’t happy about it. Lol. thanks for your input!

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Diluted urine in vegetable garden is a lot different than under tree canopy. I would not use urine direct on foods for human consumption. :slight_smile:

BTW, if your tree is on citation root, I read it was prone to droughts, so if sufficient watering on sandy soil was an issue, it could explain size difference after few years. Not sure your exact location but its probably not much an issue in east coast USA where most places get 40+inches of rain.

Citation (Cit.)

Peaches and nectarines dwarfed to eight to fourteen feet, apricots and plums dwarfed to twelve to eighteen feet. Very tolerant of wet soil, but not drought tolerant (induces early dormancy in dry soil) so needs very regular water in hot climates. A top dressing of mulch can help maintain soil moisture. Resists root-knot nematodes. Induces heavy bearing at a young age. Very winter hardy. Strong and well anchored. Pat. No. 5112 (Zaiger)

Thanks for the research sockworth. I will definitely water more this summer. I’m sure that’s the problem. All of the trees are on the drip system including that one. I will just add a new section or hand water that specific spot from now on. It’s just kind of crummy. That is my favorite plum out of all of them. But hopefully the tree will grow more As time progresses.

Last year I was finishing up my bachelors and my entire yard didn’t get much attention. :disappointed:

I was also wondering if maybe it was the mixture of wood chips? All of the trees got a equal mix of branches and leaves that I picked up from a tree trimming service. As I got towards the end of the pile, it was mostly just stump shavings or branch shavings with very little green or small branches.

In fact that tree ended up with only chipped wood. No small branches or leaves. I am sure that is also making a difference. I plan on getting 4 to 5 bags of cow manure, compost, and mixing it into the mulch. Any other suggestions?

I think wood chips are perfectly fine. I use it too. It’s actually good for water retention, as long as you water deep. If you water shallow, maybe the water just get the wood chips wet and evaporate off.

True. I was just thinking that because it was pure wood with no small branches or leaves.
As in pure carbon substance with no nitrogen substances to help.
I am going to add a decent amount of cow manure and see if it works. Probably will fertilize with fish fertilizer as well. I’m just afraid that the wood chips will absorb the fish smell. :joy: and my backyard will smell like a swamp for the next several years. Lol

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Ha, you should get her this part tongue and cheek book. Urine is almost a perfect NPK for plants out of the tap.

Haha. :laughing: honestly I may just start saving a gallon on the side of the house and claim it’s Mountain Dew. Lol.

On a serious note though I am going to research into it a little more. If anything I will use it for my bushes and flowers around the house.

Honestly I save every drop I can but I have lots of random stuff I can give it to. Not very smelly except the watering part since it dissipates quickly. Arizona ice tea gallon jugs work nice since it has a large diameter opening and doesn’t draw attention.

I put it in compost, ornamentals, fruit trees, you name it. It’s free fertility that gets literally flushed down the toilet.

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Haha. Ice tea jugs. Love it. I will give it some researching and maybe a try. Do I need to add anything to it in addition if I use it on fruit trees? P or K ? Or even other nutrients?

I normally just only dilute w/ water. 1 part human-derived liquid gold and 5 parts water. I would not give more than 1x per week. Other nutrients come from breakdown of wood chips. You could add other stuff from time to time like dissolved epsom salt or extra fish fertilizer.

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