Today's plum notes

The first season my Flavor Grenade pluot bore fruit I was delighted with its very high brix and potential to eat as crisp fruit candy- unique among J.plums I’ve tasted (it was my first pluot and still the only one to bear profusely).

I remember Scott saying that to his palate, FG was a sweet nothing. Well, this year it’s just a nothing here, as is one Scott loves- Laroda. Both sucked last year as well and since its first year, FG has been a dud 3 or 4 years running. Once the fruit might have gotten good if I could have protected it from yellow jackets- but it tends to crack, so not so easy.

This year we’ve had lots of sun during summer but endless rain in spring, which is creating a problem with stonefruit of many split pits. However, that is no excuse for all of these plums failing to get brix high enough to make them enjoyable to eat.

A plum that Scott said he doesn’t like, Ruby Queen, has been quite good, although yellow jackets are going after every flaw in the skin. Fortune has been appealing at sites where I’ve tasted it.

Here in NY, after trialing it for 5 or 6 years, I would highly recommend Ruby queen as the best deep purple flesh late season plum, unless you want to take your chances with Elephant Heart.

My giant EH died this year after providing, by far, it’s most amazing huge crop of incredibly sweet, luscious plums last year. In the course of 20 years growing it at various sites, I can say it’s not a reliable producer, tends to have fruit flawed by pitch pockets when it does but that when it’s good… it’s very, very good. The queen of J. plums, IMO.

Plums have suffered at many sites this year without any clear single answer why. Just lots of either dead or struggling trees. Sometimes I believe the problem is bacterial spot, but there were no symptoms on the EH.

That is the second Elephant heart I’ve lost on my property in the last 20 years or so. I will plant another. I have enough room to spare for this temperamental lady.


Not for me, just about three hours south of you… My pluots have been fantastic this year, and it’s my first year to get a reasonable crop on most. Cracking was a huge problem with Emerald Drop (I lost every single one of them) and with Flavor Supreme, still FS was such an amazing tasting plum to me and to everyone who tasted it. Splash, who many think is just sweet, but no flavor, was like that early in its season, but the last few I picked last week had a very nice flavor (obviously not as strong/good as FS, but enough for me to keep the tree). On top of that, it seems crack resistant, not a single one cracked. GeoPride is very sweet and has more flavor than Splash, sets very well and is definitely a keeper for me. Flavor Grenade is still hanging on the tree, but yesterday I found two that have fallen inside the bags and were fairly ripe (apparently they have fallen a week or more ago), and they were so sweet, not sure about flavor yet, but their sweetness, ripeness time and good fruit set are enough for me to plant a second tree. Dapple Dandy is still hanging on the tree, but I found a couple that were partially rotted, the intact parts of them were very sweet and flavorful; to me not less than FS. So, now my problem is that I don’t have enough space to add more pluot trees :blush:


Same here, except ornamentals seem to have been hit harder. Lots of people have told me they lost trees, shrubs, and other perennials. My mother has a nearly dead forsythia that was on the property when they bought it over 40 years ago. Like most forsythias, it had to be butchered every year just to keep it under control.

I figure most of the carnage is from the ground being saturated from last july to this july. Spring water logging is normal, but not a whole year of it! The ground was so saturated for so long that my diversion ditches failed. One ditch was empty while water bubbled out of the ground just 20’ below it. I’m surprised there aren’t more losses. Of course, many things that survived and looked healthy in the spring now have fungal issues.

My most shocking loss was my first plum tree I planted over 15 years ago. It was a very strong tree up to this point. I was debating what to do with it. With a 28’ spread, it was not practical to net it from the birds. My only regret is losing some of the grafts before I could back them up.


Plums do seem to be more weather dependent than peaches etc. Last year Shiro was boring for me, this year it was great. Weeping Santa Rosa was always excellent, until this year when most were boring. If there is so much difference even at one location you can imagine that different climates will have strong variety preferences, more so than peaches etc.

There is only one plum that has been very good to excellent in every respect every year for me, that is Satsuma.

@alan my Laroda has always been very tasty for me, it just doesn’t like to fruit so reliably. It is a more intensely flavored version of Santa Rosa.

I got a couple Dapple Dandy this year, they were boring; they were pretty good last year, though not as good as Flavor Supreme. Flavor Supreme was fantastic every year, both fruits :slight_smile:


It has the texture of a Santa Rosa, but mine get very large. They are only starting to ripen now. Does that sound right for the variety? The SR’s were done a while ago and were wonderful this season. There’s a chance Laroda’s later plums will improve, but I doubt it.

I did no summer pruning of my Satsuma, initially so I’d have plenty of graft wood but then just out of neglect so fruit was pretty much in full shade with 3-5 ft of canopy above a lot of it. The fruit was still good, but I ate some fruit from a tree in open sun that I’d managed better at a client’s orchard and it was almost as good as the best Elephant heart, maybe as good. However the fruit was lightly cropped by the tree.

The only good Shiros I get lately are off nursery trees with limited root structure. Still pretty boring.

Reema was outstanding again (about Shiro’s season), but the leaves got way too much bacterial spot on my main grafts (a third of a 25 year old Shiro). I grafted it to a Stanley in a shady part of my property that bore only a few plums but the foliage remained healthy, which given the shade is surprising. At least I will have some good graft wood from it next spring. I have to leave all the upright wood on the tree for the wood on the Shiro to try to keep it alive and productive. Next year it gets copper.

I wasn’t too impressed with Oullins this season- good, not greatm Mine gets too much shade but a client has one with full sun which cropped heavily. And least it was appreciated enough that they harvested all of it from a substantial tree on Myro.

Le Montfort was fine for being so early.

I ate some good Green Gage today, but I’m not expecting them to become great. I didn’t thin them at all and there are way too many plums in ratio to a lackluster canopy. My bad there. I’m the mother who lived in a shoe.

I will be greatly relieved when harvest season is over- and then a bit melancholy. However, I’m getting a lot of pleasure out of it all as well.


@alan @scottfsmith How long did you let your DD/FG hang on the trees after they colored? One thing I experienced is that pluots hang on the tree in “ripe” status for long time… and the longer they hang, the more flavor and sugars they develop. I started picking my Splash on July 27 and finished on Aug 20, the ones picked close to Aug 20 were much more flavorful than earlier ones. GeoPride started July 27 too, and I still have more than half the crop on the tree. I have not started picking DD and FG (except ones that either fell on their own or got disease), and they have already developed good color (crunchy, tart sweet status); I like plums when they loose most of their tartness, and they are a different fruits then from tart ones.

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Yes, August is too early for FG. However, some are ripening unevenly and dropping off the tree. There’s lots of split pits, so we shall see. They are just very hard to protect here- from rot, from wasps, from whatever. They hang in an attractive state for too long.


I agree, all the pluots (except the green/light yellow ones) look very attractive on the tree after they develop color. That’s why I bag all mine; and I know bagging is very tedious and just is not an option for those who have many trees to take care of like you :blush:


I tried my FG at all levels of ripeness, at some point they started get soft and lose flavor. I agree they need to hang for quite awhile to be best, but too long and they lose flavor.

I don’t have much data on DD as I only have small grafts. This year I had to pick them a bit early due to wasp damage but they were super bland, I didn’t even finish eating them.


Too bad… I know you are one of those folks with too many trees to bag…

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It is not too hard to protect from wasps, I just wasn’t doing it. Now I am, I recently bought a bunch of new traps which don’t fill up with water like my old ones. My peaches coming in now have only minor damage of any kind. They are actually coming in too, since Mr. Groundhog decided to check out my trap a few days ago :grin:

The wasps have gone from a minor annoyance to a major problem as more and more have established around my orchard. Next year I will have to give a higher priority to maintaining traps.


Yeah, I just set up traps today because of what they are doing to my plums and nects. I believe they are going to get crazy bad if I don’t set up about 20 traps and keep them going for a few weeks. I use the victor reusable traps, what are you using?

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I use these ones:

The ones I used to use had holes all over and the rain would pour in. These ones also get rain in but not nearly as much. Maybe the Victor ones are better – rain is my biggest problem, it dilutes the bait until it doesn’t work.

I have six traps going now and I am doing pretty well but probably need 10 or so to really nail 'em.


I tried them, didn’t like. My wasps didn’t either.

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I had a few new ones this year. The only one that stuck out was Inca. To me DD is fantastic as usual, and the worst for me has always been satsuma. I find it bland. About the only plum I don’t like. One must try them themselves and decide. It seems what is good here isn’t over there.


Or sometimes, even over the next hill.


The thing is that plums on myro should be among the last species to suffer from wet feet- or so I used to believe. However they fared no better than peaches in poorly draining sites.


I have a vastly different results between E plums in full sun and J plums in partial shade. My J plums usually bloom about 7-8 days ahead of E plums.

This year, like @alan said, spring was very wet. It rained before, during and after bloom time. It was also too cool 40’s for bees want to work in many windy, rainy days.

J. plums, all but Beauty barely set fruit. Beauty is not good for wet weather. Large plums filled with water and prone to rot. Tasted was bland. Shiro was good this year but had only a few. Groundhogs ate the rest.

The lone surviving Lavina tasted very nice. Wish I had more. “Superior” turned out to be not the real Superior. Waiting for Laroda and Toka, a few fruit each, to ripen. No pluot or Nadia setting any fruit this year.

Some E plums set surprisingly well but not Green Gage, French Improved or Empress (their fruitlets all fell off). Only mirabelles have started to ripen. They have grown on me. Consistently sweet. Everyone I gave them to love them. The rest of E plums will ripen in Sept.

I sprayed Indar 3-4 times but still see some rot on both E ana J. More black knot this year, too, on both E than J plums.

I enjoy eating E plums more than J plums. Even in a wet condition, E plums here usually produce sweeter fruit. Several varieties are fragrant/aromatic. To me, they have more character than being just sweet and juicy.


@Drew51 Do you pick your Dapple Dandy firm and let them ripen on the counter? Or do you wait for picking till they start softening?

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When a few start getting soft, I pick them all. It’s a tough call. I only had one so far that was damaged. It ripened around the damage. I still did not harvest the crop here, soon though!
I like DD a little firm, but still wait till the most advanced soften. It’s tough, it they are not ripe when harvested they will counter ripen very well. I tend to like all plums, a lot, well the Asian. I’m not really fond of the euros that much, still will grow some someday, maybe? I would if I had more room. When not ripe DD is not very good at all, it has to be ripe. Some do not like it, and I can only think it is local, here they are darn good! Hoping the other Dapples are just as good, and I will grow some out too. I have been doing this but keep losing the seedlings. I only have one that made it this year.