Plum Tree Varieties

A Quick Guide to Plum Tree Varieties

There are several different plum tree varieties, and it is a good idea to learn a bit about each individual variety before choosing a type plum tree to grow. Plum trees can have distinct differences. For example, some produce plums that are perfect for eating, while others turn out plums that are better for cooking. By learning a bit about the plum tree, you can choose which variety works best for your specific situation.

There is no question as to why the plum is a popular tree all over the country. In fact, plums are the second most popular homegrown fruit in America, just behind apples. One of the reasons plums are so desirable to home gardeners is their versatility. Plums have a number of uses besides plucking them off the tree and eating them on the spot. Plums are a perfect fruit to use in jams, jellies and preserves, and they are tasty when dried and can also be baked or stewed for a delicious dessert or side dish.

Plum tree varieties are generally divided into 3 different categories: European plums, Japanese plums and native plums.

European plum varieties are almost always oval in shape and deep blue in color with flesh that is firm and not overly juicy. European plums have a sweet taste that is at its best when used in jams and preserves.

Japanese plums are larger than the European varieties and usually plump and round in shape. The skin of Japanese plums is red, and their flesh is juicy sweet and at its best eaten straight off the tree. Some Japanese plums are sweet, while others lean toward a more tart flavor. This is a juicy fruit that is not a good choice for drying.

Native plums are also known as cherry plum hybrids. They tend to be much smaller than other plum tree varieties and are more tart than sweet. Native plums taste best when used in jams or preserves.

Planting Plum Tree Varieties
Both European and Japanese plum trees have similar planting needs. Plum trees like lots of sun, so they should be planted in a location that will provide full sun for up to 6 hours a day. As far as spacing is concerned, you want to be sure and give the plum tree more than enough space to achieve full growth. Sizes will vary depending on the type of plum tree you are growing, so determine this vital information before purchase the tree.

Plum trees do best when the soil in neutral, which means it should have a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5. If the pH is lower than 6.0, that means it is too acidic. This can be corrected by adding compost during planting. Tossing in a handful of lime can help reduce the acid level as well. European plums require a location where the soil is heavy and will drain well, so do not plant it in a location that is prone to flooding.

Always keep the area around the plum tree free of weeds and other invaders. It is a good idea to throw on a layer of mulch around the tree to protect the roots and deter weed growth.

There are a few dwarf plum tree varieties that can be grown in extra large pots or in a smaller city garden. These smaller plum trees still produce excellent fruit, and they can be a delight to grow for people who do not have a ton of garden space. Check with your local garden center for varieties that will do well in your geographic location.



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