How to Care for Dwarf Santa Rosa Plum Trees


Dwarf Santa Rosa plum trees, as food-bearing plants, are considered edible landscape. Santa Rosa is a juicy and self-fruitful Japanese plum that is popular for growing in California and Arizona. The skin of the plum is reddish-purple and opens to an amber flesh. Once planted in a full sun location that has well-drained soil and good air circulation, periodic care will help dwarf Santa Rosa plum trees to thrive.

Step 1

Water newly planted trees every 10 to 14 days if there is no rain. Allow the water to fully saturate the area around the tree.

Step 2

Apply 3 to 4 inches of mulch, like pine chips or leaf mold, around the base of the tree keeping the mulch about 6 inches from the stem. Mulch will help to hold in moisture and block weed growth.

Step 3

Fertilize once the tree is established or at about three years. Use a 10-10-10 compound which has an equal blend of nitrogen, phosphate and potash. Apply the fertilizer as directed by the manufacturer, which may be one-half pound for each year of the tree’s growth, up to 6 pounds. Keep the fertilizer about 1 foot from the trunk of the tree and apply in a circle out to the drip line, which is an imaginary circle on the ground equal to the reach of the longest branches of the tree.

Step 4

Prune damaged or diseased stems as they occur. Make the cut at least 6 inches into healthy wood. Branches that touch or cross another branch can be pruned out in late winter while the tree is dormant.

Step 5

Wrap 1/4-inch wire mesh fencing (also called hardware cloth) around the trunk of the tree to prevent damage by mice, rabbits or voles. The fencing may come in 2 to 4 foot tall rolls. Check the wire annually to ensure it does not need to be replaced with a larger piece, to avoid damaging the plum tree trunk.

Things You'll Need

  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruners
  • Wire mesh fencing


  • University of Arizona Extension: Deciduous Fruit & Nuts for the Low Desert
  • University of Illinois Extension: Tree Fruit, Plums
  • North Dakota State University: Transplanting Trees and Shrubs, Postplanting Care
  • University of Illinois Extension: Animal Damage, Voles
  • Purdue University Extension: Pollination Is Essential In Home Orchard (Definition of Self-fruitful)
Keywords: growing fruit trees, fruit tree care, caring for trees

About this Author

Barbara Raskauskas is a certified e-learning specialist and certified Microsoft Office specialist. She has written web content, technical documents and course material for a decade. Raskauskas now writes how-to's, product reviews and general topics published on several websites, including Demand Studios.