Damson Tree

A Beginner's Guide to the Damson Tree

The Damson Tree is a type of plum tree that is categorized as rugged and vigorous. The plum of the Damson is excellent for cooking and canning and the hardiness of the tree makes it a good candidate for a backyard orchard. The tree is compact and easy to care for - it can handle cold temperatures, generally resistant to diseases and adapts well to various types of soil. The tree is rated as hardy for zones 5-7. Many home-owners with a Damson Trees rave about it as a tree that takes no work and produces a very enjoyable treat and are quick to recommend it for others.

The Damson Tree has long been a part of human history in that there are references to it from the time of the Mesopotamian civilization through the time of the Greeks. It is said to have got its name from the ancient power centre of Damascus and was celebrated in Italy and the rest of Europe during later years. This variety of the plum grows wild in parts of Europe although the Damson plum is distinct from other categories of European plums. Other than this illustrious history of the Damson plum and tree it is worth noting that the plum tree is also a big part of Asian art and is often used as a symbol of independence. Moreover, the tree and its fruits attract butterflies and birds to the garden. The home-owner who seeks an elegant and meaningful addition to their yard is bound to find much to admire in the Damson Tree.

The tree is available as a standard that grows to 20 feet in height and as a dwarf that grows to about 10 feet in height. The spread of the tree tends to reflect the height of the tree in that the bigger variety needs about 20 feet of spreading space while the smaller variety needs about half that space. The Damson Tree needs well-drained moist soil and is not tolerant of drought conditions. If you are placing it is a container, choose a big container and be religious about keeping the soil moist.

It is best to plant your new tree in spring. The Damson Tree is self fertile but does produce more fruits when it has a pollinator and so experts advise planting more than one tree in one yard. The tree bears a white flower in spring around April-May and as the flowers tend to appear later in spring, the tree is able to withstand even unexpected frost. A new tree usually starts bearing flowers after the first year. This tree starts producing fruits after the first three or four years and you can expect to have ripe plums from August through October. Fertilizing the tree in late winter and early spring is recommended for nourishing the tree. Since the Damson Tree needs moist soil, you should also plan on mulching the base of the tree every spring with compost material, straw and manure.

In the early years, you may have to do some heavy pruning to help the tree take on a good shape and to encourage growth. The tree does not need any pruning or thinning once it is established and you only have to clear away dead or crossed branches as part of your annual tree care. Among the few things that can hurt the fruit production of this tree are fruit moths which you can fight with pheromone traps. Once you have your harvest of damson plums, you can have fun making your own jams and jellies and even plum wine. This is a fruit tree that can give you many years of great plums.


 

 


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