Jessica Damiano Jessica Damiano, Newsday columnist

Jessica Damiano is a master gardener and journalist with more than 25 years experience in radio, television, print and online media. She has worked on Newsday's interactive endeavors since 1994, and currently is Deputy Editor overseeing Newsday.com's Lifestyle and Entertainment coverage. Jessica enjoys toiling in her garden -- a never-finished work in progress -- and helping local gardeners solve their horticultural problems in her Garden Detective column, which appears every Sunday in Newsday. The Garden Detective blog was awarded a 2008 Press Club of Long Island Society of Professional Journalists Online Features Reporting Award. Jessica lives in Glen Head, NY, with her husband John, daughters Justine and Julia, dogs Maddie and Miguel, and a whole bunch of perennials, vegetable plants and weeds. Show More

Planting: Plant bare-root trees when dormant, ideally in October. Container-grown or balled and burlapped trees can be planted in fall or early spring. Stake newly planted trees and secure with stretchable fastener.

pH: 6.5

Years until fruit bearing: 5

Pollination: Some are self-pollinating; others are not. Consult the plant tag for details and ask nursery personnel for companion suggestions.

Pruning: Prune plum trees in late spring, after the trees have flowered, when the size of the crop and placement of fruit is apparent. Prune employing the method for apple and pear trees, but also cut the top off the central leader after the tree has grown 4 or 5 inches in the first year. Thereafter, prune only to remove watersprouts, crowded limbs and those that threaten the vaselike shape of the tree. This may not need to be done for several years.

Fertilizing: Apply a 10-10-10 product after flowering in spring.

Harvest period: July through September, depending on variety, when fruit begins to soften. Remove plums with stems intact to prevent damage. Storage: Will keep in the refrigerator for two to four weeks.

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Recommended varieties: European: Richards Early Italian, Green Gage, French Damson, Stanley; Asian: Shiro, Seneca, Early Golden.