Zone 3/4 plums

In preperation for my grafting bonanza this year I went and summarized the massive cold hardy plum post from gardenweb.

Thought some might find it helpful here as well.

Black Ice
I think black ice is a MUCH better plum. Will freeze down too in a testy winter, worse then Mt. Royal. as a asian/hybrid with bitter skin and clingstone, it was the sweetest, [around 16brix] aromatic tasting plum so far tasted. But.I could only handle a branch or so for fresh eating…still prefer a good European prune plum without bitter skin, [not runny] which has a longer shelf live and much easier for processing. Thinking back…the Sapalta 07-01 …if it was more productive I would prefer because its free stone, around 16 brix also and delicious and no juices running out like Black Ice. If you leave the black ice on tree till they start darkening up and falling off the skin is not sour at all. I like all plums I can eat bowls or sour cherries so I maybe a bit numb to the taste. very fragrant taste, perhaps not suited to some taste buds but wife and me, [kids gone] liked them. Seems fairly easy to pollinate. Bernie tasted one of my Black Ice also which comes from the same branch, he was also impressed, [said the skin is bitter] (said Green Gage is even better) …perhaps when the plum is very sweet it’s not pronounced. Mid august.(Konrad – z3/4)

This is a very nice quality plum. Skin is not getting a chance to turn black though looks more like a Santa Rosa plum. once picked they darken a bit. It’s been windy here they aren’t getting a chance to ripen on tree. Still amazing tasting the parts that aren’t damaged I just sliced them up cut off the dents. Flesh is very nice right to the pit. Very watery and flavourful my rank for this plums over all flavour is very high . Not sure how much longer the rest will hold on for and how black they will turn. I can’t say to much about these except they taste good and look amazing with big fruits hanging off. I think they are similar in size to pembina or supreme maybe a bit more round shape. had flowers before the apricots this year. We had a crappy summer but these did bloom very early this year maybe a month ahead of Edmonton your about 350km north of me. They are mushy turning black and falling off the tree. If you want hard crispy black ice they will be red in color still and picked early. Biggest plums were a bit smaller than tennis balls . Impressive for Calgary they look even better if they can survive winds until big enough and fully coloured up. They are heavy super juicy round plums that are very mild sweet tasting that blow up with juices when you bite them. So far I think the best plums in my yard behind mt royal (early - mid august) (Mattpf – z4)

Is better (than Brookred) (Mattpf – z4)
just horrible in pollination, you’ll get the odd fruits at times but never loaded in my experience. (Konrad – z3/4)

You’ll be lucky to get fruit ever. i was sick of my brookred. Last year I must have spent a solid 8 hour day one day top working it with,toka,waneta,mtroyal ,Italian,native plum, a few unknown varieties apricots and superior . This year I finally have plums hanging off it. Mostly on the branches I grafted but there is a few brookred hanging. Last year I got two brook red plums they cracked I didn’t get to eat them. aphid magnets Early august. (Mattpf – z4)

Damson Jam with honey…has a little astringency similar to choke cherry. Since they were only about half size because too many on the branches, [above picture] made the stone picking, [small pits] out of the cooking pot a cumbersome process…the first and last time!
Cooked, [put in blender to cut skin which I don’t like to see in jam] cooked more until not runny without jell, a messy bloody job lol. Mid September. (Konrad – z3/4)

Damson White
e very soft ones were not bad, more flavourful then most Asian plums. Mostly Clingstone when on the firm side… they fall off easy when ripe!. Mid september. (Konrad – z3/4)

Ewing Blue prune plum
[large domestica]. think I picked it too late, little soft, not firm as I would expect in a domestica, texture was similar to a Asian plum, not bad overall, [free stone] …need more years to evaluate. (mid-late august) (Konrad – z3/4)

clingstone, , is a nice plum and growing in the sun was reading 9 brix. Mid august. (Konrad – z3/4)

Green Gage
Green Gage…as suspected, better crop then my two Mt. Royal trees. They NEED full sun otherwise its a crappy plum and sugar level is way down…hanging on longer doesn’t bring them up by much, sun does wonders to them! They love sunny Alberta but this year we’re heaving more showers…well sun between, weather still better then allot are facing with weeks of clouds! Usually they’re ripe by the first week of Sept. OH wow…things are so early this year, some Green Gages can be eaten already, this is a record year…very warm spring pushed things ahead and good summer heat, [between the showers]. These plums are by far the best tasting I’ve ever tasted, no bitter skin, sweet/wonderful taste and melts in your mouth without runny juice coming out… 15 % sugar/brix. Best eating Green Gage is when ripened on the tree as long as you can…just before falling off… deep/dark yellow are sweeter and more delicious …but they only get like this when in the sun most of the day. Bernie said it’s even better than Black Ice. more exposed to sun or just by hanging on longer get yellow and taste so much better, are freestone then, most green ones are semi free and cling stone. About one month of harvest time, the longer on the tree the better they get, some of these which were inside the tree with less sun aren’t as tasty. Mid august to mid Sept (Konrad – z3/4)

I tasted greengage today for first time and it was really good flesh melted was very sweet and trees overall were fairly productIive. Mid august to mid September. (Mattpf – z4)

Gypsy (Cherry Plum)
this one proves to be the best of all in size and taste and early ripening (vs Manor, Epsilon, Omega, Sapalta seedling 07-01 …from a local breeder, nice plum but I’ll have to ask first, New Oka) skin bitter! Tasted better last year with less rain and less plum on tree, only about 9 brix also. Early – mid august. (Konrad – z3/4)

is a very fine plum, firm and semi freestone (Konrad – z3/4)

Prunus domestica. very old cultivar, freestone. Early September. (Konrad – z3/4)

Kubanska Kometa
most were small and got tossed into the garbage…didn’t even saved the seeds, [they need thinning] a little disappointing in the quality, they were exposed to hail more then others because the graft is on top of the tree…so they got knocked back quiet a bit…a new plum has to be evaluated for about 5 to 10 years. But it’s a terrific producer, might be a good pollen source for others, lots of rain here hasn’t helped getting sugar level up. These showed only 9 brix. Early august. (Konrad – z3/4)

prunus Domestica, wasn’t pleased with flavour…kind of yuck… Mid September. (Konrad – z3/4)

La Crescent
I pulled out all my Underwood, Lacresant, and Wanetas this fall as they were taking up space I could use for better fruit(Konrad – z3/4)

(Apricot X Sandcherry) and the pink flowering plum found on a abandoned homestead in southern Alberta, similar to american, has always held its fruits, even better then american! None of my p. americana and nigra has any, one of my seedlings has the first time, eagerly awaiting for its taste, probably in the category of a wild plum but I’m still thrilled it actually put on fruits at minus 7C. not sure why never got introduced, it is a very good plum, perhaps they couldn’t pollinate it readily, some growers have a real hard time to get fruit set but this 3rd year for me I’m very happy with the fruit load, not sure what does the pollination…the more the better, other wild plums and especially other cherry plums seems to do a good job. Early September. (Konrad – z3/4)

Mount Royal
the fruit is best. Is a prunus domestica. They all have ability to fruit them selfs but will do way better faster too if you have another domestica pollen source. European plums are all this type . And they bloom later than any of those other plums which makes them probably the most suitable for Calgary. If I could redo my mini orchard I would definitely have gone with a lot more domestica. Mt royal is perfectly hardy to Calgary. Never gets die back here I’ve had one 4 years and did a few more last year and grafted tons of it. handles zone 4 easily. only one branch set good close to the ground and wall, protected more from the frost, the rest of the tree has about 2 dozen. Another tree away from the wall has nothing. one of the finest plums if left on tree well after they turn soft. one of the best tasting I’ve had definitely in my top 2 tasting plums so far. They are super slow growing is the major downside. Early to mid September. (Mattpf – z4)

I don’t think he had them long enough to see how it does in a real test winter, it can freeze down, many times for me and my buddy in the city of Edmonton who lives in the river valley, [low spot] has a hard time with Mt. Royal. Only shelter and high elevation will work. firm prune plum, semi freestone. Is a better tasting plum (than Pembina). Green Gage…as suspected, better crop then my two Mt. Royal trees. Starting just as Green Gage finished. Mid to late September. (Konrad – z3/4)

one plum hiding on it that somehow survived the hail with only minor scarring. The plum was small but the flavour and texture were really good. My daughter said it was the best plum she had ever tasted and even my husband was impressed. It was very sweet. Mid august. (Violetjune Zone 3)

Hail damage made them not ripen properly I think but for what I tasted, concluded that I think Mt. Royal is still a better plum.
Here is a Opal info: Opal European Plum Midsummer. Wisconsin plum breeder Brian Smith noted that Opal is the hardiest European plum available. Bob Purvis reported it to be hardy to about –33°. Some years ago we sent 25 trees up to Alaska. Kevin Irvin, then vice president of the Alaska Pioneer Fruit Growers Association, arranged the order. He wrote to me, “This plum is hardy in Anchorage, AK, and ripens dependably every year.” One of the first Europeans to fruit in the season. Good quality, reddish-purple, medium-sized, round, semi-freestone. Firm yellow flesh. Medium-sized vigorous tree. Excellent cropper. Prunus domestica ZOullins x Early Favorite. Alnarp, Sweden, 1948. 3. ME Grown. (3-6’ bare-root trees). August? (Konrad – z3/4)

Here in Fairbanks that made last winter (which was really a non-winter by our standards), so we’ll see how it goes. (squarepegman z2/3)

Patterson’s Pride
great for pies & processing, [better storing too] not like most others like Pembina/Supreme too soft watery/runny! proves to be the best as cold hardy plum, I believe it’s a zone 2, with minus 7 degree this spring after flowering it still has hanging fruits, one of the best processing plums, firm, not soggy and semi freestone, the only drawback…a late ripening plum, some years it doesn’t quite make it, a unique weeping plum and tree keeps very low to the ground. champ of a plum when it comes to processing as a Asian Hybrid, totally freestone, not mushy. . ese are the only one’s I know of in the Asian hybrids which get better the longer they stay on, still firm and skin not very bitter, can eat them whole. Early to mid September. (Konrad – z3/4)

(or Supreme) is still most reliable. Mount Royalis a better tasting plum. prone to split (Konrad – z3/4)
is similar to Supreme but cracks easy I found…got rid of my Pembina, flesh is sweet juicy (Konrad – z3/4)

Petite Sour de la Mont Royal
I am very happy with my Petite Sour de la Mont Royal also. It has been through 4 winters now with no dieback at all, even being in a less than ideal location with some north wind exposure and in a low place. It does have good prevailing west wind protection though. I agree with Konrad that it may be the hardiest European type plum. (katie77q)
Is a offspring of Mt. Royal from Hardy nursery in Quebec…and yes, possible hardier then Mt. Royal. tasted very similar to Mt. Royal. Late august early September. (Konrad – z3/4)

aphid magnets (Mattpf – z4)
just horrible in pollination, you’ll get the odd fruits at times but never loaded in my experience. (Konrad – z3/4)

Prunus Nigra B
B I added on because it was taken by Bernie near Winnipeg along the river growing wild and probably not diluted with other species. Best pollinator. (Konrad – z3/4)

Ptitsin #5
they fall down easily, pick most of them when they do and ripen in the house for about 3- 4 days…they don’t get soggy like most Asian plum/hybrid get, nice firm aromatic and free stone, a must have for tough growing condition! they seem to taste better after a couple of days in the house…the flavor! They don’t spoil easy like most other plums. Ptitsin is a good pollinator…the #5 which I have is one of the better ones, fragrant plum, free stone and stays firm many day’s. The only problem is, they fall off very easily, then I usually pick most and after about 2 or 3 days in the house they’re nice to eat. (Konrad – z3/4)
Ripeing early august 2016 (Mattpf – z4)

Sapalta cherry plum seedling 07-01
set some fruit even at around minus 7C at the orchard. This one is really sweet and I love the marbled flesh, anybody wants it I can give out bud wood but comes with a warning from the breeder…doesn’t pollinate easily and short shelf life, eat right off the tree it is very nice with 15 brix, Thean had 17 brix this year in the City. One huge plus…it’s’ free stone! I can eat the whole plum with skin when this sweet. Early august. I let a couple of Sapalta 07-01 ripen longer and just picked…was reading a whooping 19 brix! Early-mid august. prone to split (Konrad – z3/4)

prunus domestica from Finland seems to be hardier then Mt. Royal…will have allot more plums to pick then Mt. Royal in town, smaller but good. is similar to the blue Damson. a little smaller then Mt. Royal but hardier it seems and spring frost resistant, had no Mt. Royal on a separate tree right beside, good alternative to Mt. Royal I think for tougher growing condition…not as sweet but not bad either. Also Good for pies…semi freestone, 14 brix, about 2 weeks earlier then Mt. Royal. Mid august. (Konrad – z3/4)

starting to drop, not bad…about a average plum…showed 12 brix, cling stone. Early-mid august. (Konrad – z3/4)

Sprouts sunshine plum
Clingstone. You have to keep them a while for them to get softer, then they are fairly good and more juicy! 14brix . Early-mid august. (Konrad – z3/4)

Russian. put on more than six feet of growth. They have terminal buds now; maybe they’ll survive. (Konrad – z3/4)

(or Pembina) is still most reliable. year it does split also…I really don’t like it too much, [by the time you pick it and bring to the house she’s runny/soggy!!] This Supreme picked today and given away to neighbors …wife was saying, graft ALL Asian plums over to European prune plum…actually, one branch I put on already this spring, this branch will be cut off next spring. Mid August. (Konrad – z3/4)

what I tasted was very High quality. trust me you want waneta over toka. aphid magnets. probably are the best tasting I have. pretty good tasting plum it’s semi freestone and crunch makes it something I’m not really used to. they lasted about a week on the counter . Toka is the best tasting plum out of all I have here the taste is extreme flavour . I did my last pick of toka yesterday. Fruit are like big cherries and can be picked before they are soft and get better a few days sitting out. I’ve heard some people saying bad things about this plum on this forum . It’s one of the best tasting fruits .size and productivity might be an issue. Seems to be a super fast growing tree and a super long bloomer . One problem I had with them is they fall very premature and Calgary winds knocked off a lot so might be worth setting up something to catch fruit and prevent damage from hitting ground.
Mid august to early September. (Mattpf – z4)

Has intense nice flavour but I was disappointed with the small fruit, guess we don’t mind so much when compensated by taste. got a nice crunch to it, very solid, for some reason this year with taste, I wasn’t dancing up and down lol. I think too much rain made them different, last year it was better. Early to mid September. (Konrad – z3/4)

is very hardy mine did so well I planted a second last year and grafted tons to everything because it’s so productive and a tad bit later than the rest. It’s rated one of the best will produce year after planting. It’s amazing. trust me you want waneta over toka. it amazes me. It grows more fruit than it does new branches only one year after planting and the tree it self is beautiful the fruit are big high quality fast yielding trees. Here in Calgary they grow like a charm. aphid magnets . clingstone good for fresh eating Mid august to mid september. (Mattpf – z4)
so far it’s a terrible aphid magnet. I pulled out all my Underwood, Lacresant, and Wanetas this fall as they were taking up space I could use for better fruit (Konrad – z3/4)

I pulled out all my Underwood, Lacresant, and Wanetas this fall as they were taking up space I could use for better fruit average or below, cling stone …didn’t do a reading but was pretty spicy, not enough sugar, need a couple more years before I make a decision if I’ll be swinging the ax lol. Mid August. (Konrad – z3/4)

seems Asian hybrid, originated in Quebec, cling stone, fair tasting but this could be the wet season. [no splitting!] Early September. (Konrad – z3/4)

Bug Control
i used copper spray in winter and fall I probably will spray again in spring as we had a very wet last summer. It helps with black not and bacterial issues caused by moisture. I do use horticulture oils for aphids but realized water from the hose If properly done is just as effective or more because it doesn’t kill the good bugs. I will definitely use a dormant oil this spring after I spray copper. We had an aphid epidemic here last year this will help I hope . Besides that nothing special. Biggest challenge in southern Alberta is winds. You put a lot of effort into babying the trees onlybto come home to all your plums bruised on the ground. I used seven last year with horrific results. One week later the yard was covered in dead earthworms. I sprayed trees and rain washed it off few days later . After that the aphids got even worse about a month later. (Mattpf – z4)

So far I didn’t have to spray anything except last year for aphid problems on some young trees with rapid growth spurt… have used sevin, little soap and horticultural oil. (Konrad – z3/4)

As an aside. Consider plugging your info into: Great way to keep track of your plantings and the more info that gets in there about flowering times, fruiting times and zones the better.


Hi ! Thank you for that summarization. I’d like to know if you have curculio problems (because I do!!). Last season, I bent the branches of my Black Ice/Lydecker in hopes to taste some fruits before the tree dies of canker. I think I’ll try graft some Black Ice branches to my Red Star plum.

Yes, I had bad curculio. I probably only had 5% pollination success. Of the 5% that gave fruit I got I probably lost 95% to curculio. I am working on my pesticide permit so that I can be allowed to buy Surround. They will not sell it even though it is only Kaolin clay. I"ll probably give it a few more years to see how things go and then consider tearing out my plums and just go apples/pears if I continue to have such severe disease pressure and poor pollination.

I didn’t know we needed a permit to get that product. That’s a bummer. Plums are probably my favorite fruits. There has to be some solution. Plant a more attractive variety nearby, use some sort of pheromone trap, etc…

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That Startovaya post on Gardenweb was mine…just an update; it did not survive the winter, which was quite mild by Fairbanks standards. The quest for a hardy P. domestica continues.

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Here in zone 2 my small Waneta has 2 plums this year. I hope they make it thru the summer so I can taste one.