Some plums are self-fertile but all plums will yield better if planted with a second variety for cross-pollination. Japanese plums need to cross-pollinate with other Japanese or American hybrid plums.
Order bare-root, rather than potted trees, if possible.
A well-established tree will yield up to 2 bushels of plums.
Select a site that offers loamy, well-drained soil in full sun.
Avoid frost pockets.
Set the tree in the prepared hole keeping the graft union an inch above the soil line.
Space standard-size varieties 20 to 25 feet apart, dwarfs 15 to 20 feet apart.
Water young trees heavily every week through the first season.
Train Japanese trees to an open center shape; train European trees to a conical shape with a central leader.
Japanese plum trees benefit from a moderate fruit thinning; do not thin European plums unless the crop is especially heavy.
Plums are relatively pest-free, but may be visited by the plum curculio, black knot disease, and brown rot. See our article Fruit Pests and Diseases for controls of these problems.
Harvest European plums when they are tree-ripe. They will be a little soft and should come off easily with a slight twist. Late maturing varieties should be near ripe with firm flesh for storing for a few weeks.
Pick Japanese plums slightly early and allow them to ripen in a cool place.
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