Jessica Damiano is a master gardener and journalist with more than 25 years experience in radio, television, print
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.
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.
Recommended varieties: European: Richards Early Italian, Green Gage, French Damson, Stanley; Asian: Shiro, Seneca, Early Golden.