image by tine_manthorpe: Flickr.com
Plum trees can grow in almost any location of the U.S. When purchasing your tree, make sure it is appropriate for your area by checking the hardiness zone map (see Resources). Some plum trees require a second tree for pollination purposes, while others do not. With a little basic knowledge, growing and caring for plum trees is easy. Purchase your tree(s) at a local nursery, garden shop or online.
Decide where to plant your plum tree. It should have plenty of sunshine and room to grow to it's mature size without being obstructed. The tag on your plum tree will tell you how large it will get. Plant your tree in late spring or early fall.
Dig a hole for the tree's root ball that's about a foot wider than the root ball measures across. The hole should be deep enough so the top of the root ball is approximately 1 inch below the top of the hole.
Prepare the soil for your plum tree. Plums like rich, well-drained soil. Mix compost into your soil if it is of poor quality or clay based, which will keep the water around the root area too long. Put some mixed soil at the bottom of the hole, and use it to secure the root ball around the sides. Place 1 inch of prepared soil on top of the root ball.
Walk around the top of the soil under the tree, where you just planted it. This will pack the soil and secure the tree.
Water the tree with about 3 or 4 gallons of water.
Fertilize the tree the following spring, after planting. Use a balanced fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Use 8 oz. of fertilizer the first year and add 8 oz. each year, thereafter.
Harvest your plums when they are just starting to become a little soft. Store them in the refrigerator.