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Plum trees are easy to grow fruit trees that thrive nearly anywhere in the United States. Plum trees like fertile, well-drained soil and are a favorite in most fruit gardens. Plum trees do not require as much care as other fruit trees and the plums will store in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 weeks. Plums need a lot of water to make a sweet, juicy fruit. Some plum trees are self-pollinating while others need another plum tree to pollinate.
Plant your plum seedlings where they will have a lot of room to grow. Plum trees make very large trees that are approximately 25 to 30 feet tall. They will need a lot of space, at least 20 feet apart. Most plum trees are grafted. Grafting is when you take a clipping of one type of plum tree and insert it into and area on another tree. The tree will then produce the desired fruit. Plant your trees to a depth that covers the grafting. Plums should also be planted after the threat of frost and in a bright, sunny location.
Use stakes on the smaller trees to help prevent the stems from snapping. The stakes should be tied to the base of the tree approximately every 12 inches. Once the trees have begun to grow and get larger you may remove the stake.
Water your tree often to keep the ground moist. Do not over water or your tree could develop root rot. Use mulch at the base of the tree to hold moisture in so that the soil will not dry out. Rotted manure works well to add needed nitrogen while helping to retain water.
Prune your trees in the Summer after they have produced their fruit. Use a sealer on the cuts to prevent viruses. Plums do not need to be pruned as often because they will produce fruit on old and new limbs. Plum trees are usually pruned to achieve the shape that is wanted, not to help them produce more fruit. Plum trees typically do not begin baring fruit until they are around 5 years old.
Harvest your fruit when the plums are slightly soft to the touch. If you are using the plums in desserts, leave them on the tree longer or until they are extremely soft. Throw away any fruit that is rotten or going bad, this will help prevent brown rot.