How to Plant Plum Trees


Plum trees make a lovely addition to any landscape with light pink, fragrant flowers and dark brown bark. This tree is one of the earliest bloomers flowering from mid-April into May. It is also an easy tree to grow for the beginner gardener since it easy to plant and requires very little care. Reaching heights up to 28 feet tall make it a great ornamental tree even for smaller yards and for those that also produce fruit, you will reap the rewards of sweet plums three to five years after planting.

Step 1

Plant plum trees in either late fall or early spring. If you live in a climate with cold winters it is best to plant in early spring after the last frost as soon as the ground is workable. Choose a sunny location for your plum tree so it gets at least six hours of full sun daily.

Step 2

Prepare the soil for planting. Plum trees need well draining soil so if necessary amend your soil with peat moss and organic matter; mix in well.

Step 3

Dig a hole as deep as the root ball of the tree and two to three times as wide. Place a tarp next the hole you are digging to put the soil on as you dig the hole.

Step 4

Remove the tree from it's container and set in the hole. Check to be sure the top of the root ball is sitting just above the ground surface. Be sure the roots are spread out in the hole. Rotate the tree in the hole until you like how it looks.

Step 5

Fill in the hole about one-third full of the soil you collected on the tarp. Pack the soil down well around the roots, then fill in another 1/3 of the hole packing down the soil well, and finishing filling in the hole the rest of the way. Tamp down the soil with your shovel or foot. Packing down the soil as you fill the hole elimnates air pockets which keeps the roots from drying out.

Step 6

Water your tree well after planting. Keep the tree watered one to two times weekly for the first year. After that once or twice a month is sufficient except in really hot weather when you may need to water a little more often. Deep, less frequent watering works best using a slow one hour trickle of water.

Step 7

Fertilize your tree with an all purpose 10-10-10 granular fertilizer, but do not fertilize at the time of planting. Use eight ounces of fertilizer per year of the tree. Fertilize in early spring and again in early summer and early fall. Instead of applying fertilizer three times per year you can use one application of bone meal each fall.

Step 8

Apply two to four inches of mulch around the base of your tree not letting it touch the trunk. Use ages wood chips or bark. Mulch keeps the roots moist, the soil cool and reduces weeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Well drained soil
  • Fertilizer 10-10-10
  • Mulch


  • Freedom Tree Farms
  • Taylor's Master Guide to Gardening; Houghton Mifflin Co.; 1994
Keywords: plum tree, planting trees, landscaping

About this Author

Amy Hannaford works as a medical assistant in Southern Oregon. She has been writing online articles about health and gardening since 2008. Hannaford holds an Associate of Arts and taught childbirth classes from 1993-2010. She enjoys researching nutrition and perfecting her gardening skills.