The flowering plum tree is a term used to refer to a wide variety of plum trees both native and introduced into the United States. The most common plum is the garden plum. Other varieties include the Newport plum tree, Purple Pony plum tree, Japanese flowering plum tree, white flowering plum tree and the ornamental purple leaf plum tree.
The most sought characteristic of the flowering plum is the beautiful fragrant blooms. In spring, they fill the tree with clusters of white, pink, or purple flowers that last for days, and the sweet aroma stretches over long distances. The leaves emerge after the flowers fade and by summer change color from a shiny green to a shade of burgundy before falling off. The fruit begins to appear in late summer and grows in clusters. The fruits are small and, once ripe, turn red, pink or purplish
The flowering plum is an ornamental tree used for decorative purposes in yards and landscapes. The appeal is from the changes that occur on the tree throughout the season. The flowers bloom and fade. The leaves change colors and then the fruit develops. This keeps a yard or landscaping interesting to watch as the changes take place over the summer.
Plum trees are susceptible to stresses, insects and disease. These problems can be controlled with proper care and maintenance of the tree. Watering, fertilizing and regular pruning are important steps in good tree care. Young trees need more water than established ones. Good well-drained soil, slightly acidic with a pH of between 3 and 6, will aid in producing flowers as well as fruit. Fertilize before flowers begin to bloom and reduce when the tree has produced its fruit.
Pruning is recommended for overall tree health and for cosmetic shaping of younger trees. It's important for fine structure and overall life-span. Prune plum trees right after flowering to promote good health. If pruning is done to control tree size, it is recommended to prune in the winter. Pruning can reduce the possibility of certain types of defects or structural problems. Broken, diseased, or dead branches should be removed to prevent further decay-producing fungi from infecting other parts of the tree. The removal of live branches is sometimes necessary to allow more sunlight and circulation of air through the treetop. Removing branch stub is important to promote proper healing of wounds that may have occurred to the tree.
Black knot is the most serious disease of ornamental plum trees. Hard black long knots form on the smaller branches. It is spread by the spores of the disease through the air from nearby infected trees. If left untreated, the growths will stunt the entire tree and eventually kill it. Immediate pruning of the infected branches can help stop the spread.