Wild Plum Tree

All about the Wild Plum Tree

A wild plum tree is sometimes referred to as a shrub and sometimes as a perennial tree. The wild plum tree is also known as the American Plum tree and is commonly used for landscaping yards, plus it has a history of uses as both food and medicine.

The wild plum tree is a dicot, meaning that its seed have two parts. It has white flowers which appear early in the spring. Fruit and seed production are completed in the fall. The wild plum tree grows to be around twenty-four feet high.

The wild plum is vigorous and cold-hardy down to temperatures of 38 below zero. The tree is found across the United States and Canada, from New England to Utah and across Canada westward to Manitoba. The shrub is very adaptable and you can find it in pastures, beside the road, in woods and prairies. The tree is found in the wild and it is also often planted in yards as a landscape tree.

Native Americans, who lived on the prairies, ate the plums for food and they also boiled the roots and bark and used the substance to keep scratches and wounds from becoming infected. The plum was also used to treat conditions as diverse as diarrhea and mouth canker sores. The Teton Dakota used the early growth of the plant in prayers for the sick. Many people plant the wild plum tree to use the fruit to make fruit pies and jams and jellies.

Humans are not the only group to appreciate the food value of wild plums. Plums grow in thickets, which are frequented black bear, wild turkeys, foxes, deer, squirrels, ring-tailed cats and birds, such as the black-headed grosbeak. Planting wild plum trees is the perfect way to attract wildlife to your yard.

The leaves on the wild plum tree are bright green and the white flowers appear in groups of two to five. If you wish to plant the tree in the fall, leave plenty of time for it to adjust to the cold before winter. It’s good to cover the plants with at least six inches of straw or other mulch.

When planting a wild plum tree, wetting the roots increases survival. If you are planting in quantity, space your trees at least eight feet apart. Wild plums are not fussy about soil or temperatures. When your tree has grown to maturity, you can harvest anywhere from one-hundred to one-hundred-fifty pounds of fruit yearly. Or, if you prefer, you can leave the fruit for birds and other wildlife.

The most often planted cultivars of the wild plum tree are Underwood, Pipestone, Toka, Alderman and Waneta. While the tree is susceptible to certain diseases, such as branch cankers, plum pockets, black knot or stem decay, overall, the wild plum tree is highly resistant to most plant diseases. The plant can also be toxic to various insects.

Everyone loves the wild plum tree. It grows just about anywhere with little maintenance. It produces edible fruit that can be used to make many types of baked goods. The only real fault of the wild plum tree is that it is not terribly drought resistant. So, if you live in a very dry climate, hand watering is going to be in order throughout the summer.

If you don’t care about the fruit of the tree, the wild plum still makes a very attractive landscape plant. And, if you enjoy watching wildlife, you can see all types of animals and birds feasting on plums. You can’t really go wrong with a wild plum tree.


 

 


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