Best Tasting and Easiest to Grow Plums

John Bunker shares his picks for the best tasting and easiest to grow plums. John sells fruit trees through a mail-order nursery cooperative in Waterville, Maine.

| August/September 2002

John Bunker tell readers about the best tasting and easiest to grow plums.

Visit this story's main page to learn more about the North American Fruit Explorers and growing America's best fruit.

John Bunker sells fruit trees through FEDCO, a mail-order nursery cooperative in Waterville, Maine. One of his specialties is plums: He's grown more than 30 varieties on his farm in Palermo, Maine.

John encourages potential plum growers to do their homework and find out which varieties best suit their tastebuds and climates. Cultivated plums in the United States generally fall into three categories, he says. "Each has its special qualities and quirks."

European-type plums include the prunes and damsons: "Italian" and "Stanley" are two of the most famous. They are usually self-pollinating, so you can get by with one tree in the yard.

European-type plums are upright and can grow to be quite tall. Prune them to a central leader (in a pyrarnidal shape). For a shorter specimen, keep the leader cut back. Most varieties are hardy to USDA Zone 5, some to Zone 4. They are susceptible to black knot, a black bubble-gum-like fungus that wraps itself around branches and can kill a tree. In case of black knot, remove and bum infected branches. Get rid of any infected wild cherries in the vicinity.

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