How to Grow a Plum Tree


Grow a plum tree in most parts of the United States; these trees are tolerant in most hardiness zones, except zones where early spring frosts are abundant. The plum tree flowers early, so the early spring frost will affect budding and flowering, which will also affect fruit output. They also prefer the areas of the country where rainfall is between 20 and 35 inches.

Step 1

Choose a spot where the plum tree is protected from high winds. The spot needs to have soil that is well drained; soil such as sandy loam is the best soil for plum trees. Test the soil for its pH level---kits can be purchased at any big-box home and garden store. The pH needs to be neutral. If it is acidic, lime the soil. If the soil is alkaline, choose another spot, as plums do not fare well in alkaline soil. Plant the plum tree between November and March.

Step 2

Dig a planting hole that is three times the width of the root ball and twice as deep as the root ball. If the root ball is wrapped in organic burlap, the burlap should be planted with the plum tree. It will disintegrate over time. If the burlap is synthetic, remove the burlap, as synthetic burlap will not decompose.

Step 3

Scarify the sides of the planting hole with a pitchfork. Center the plum tree in the center of the planting hole. Backfill with soil. Stake the tree with the stakes and string so that high winds cannot blow the tree over. When staking the tree, make sure the stakes are pounded into the ground at a 45-degree angle away from the tree.

Step 4

Create a watering ring around the perimeter of the planting hole. The watering ring should be at least 3 inches high. This helps to direct water to the outside roots of the plum tree, which encourages root growth and saves water.

Step 5

Mulch the plum tree with at least 3 inches of compost or pulverized bark. Water the tree with at least an inch of water. Always water deeply, to make sure the deeper roots get the moisture needed for a healthy, fruit-bearing tree. The plum tree should be watered once per week after planting, except in the winter when it enters its dormant stage. In the winter, the plum tree should be watered every couple of weeks.

Step 6

Fertilize the plum tree with flowering shrub and tree fertilizer every 3 years. If your area is prone to early frosts, protect the plum tree by covering it with a sheet on frosty nights.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Pitchfork
  • Compost or pulverized bark
  • Humus
  • Stakes and string


  • Plant Ideas
Keywords: plum tree, fruit tree, plums

About this Author

Cayden Conor is a family law paralegal who writes on various subjects including dogs, cockatoos and cooking. She has over 15 years of experience as a paralegal, and has been writing professionally for three years. Conor has a paralegal degree and majored in criminology, computer science (programming emphasis) and education.