The flat-woods plum (Prunus umbellata), also called hog plum due to the affinity that wild hogs possess for its fruit, is a deciduous, small tree or large shrub native to the Deep South. Hog plum grows to 20 feet, with a 20-foot canopy spread. Although it may look a bit “ragged” during the winter months, the hog plum is attractive in the spring, when it produces its flowers. Blooming before any leaves emerge -- a common trait among the plum trees -- the hog plum produces fruit that is edible, attracting wildlife. The fruits are used by people to make jams and jellies.
Plant the hog plum in your landscape only if you live between U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9. This is a warm climate species, growing wild in such southern venues as Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas.
Locate your hog plum in a full-sun site for best results. The tree will generate more flowers in full sun, resulting in more of the edible plums. However, the hog plum still grows when planted in lightly shaded sites.
Situate your hog plum in a well-draining soil. Hog plums grow in such mediums as loams, clays and sand. If you opt to place it in sandy soil, irrigate the area and provide the hog plum with some shade to protect it from the sun during the afternoon when temperatures are hottest.
Prune your hog plum if you plan to utilize it as a street tree, buffer tree or specimen plant. Hog plum tends to produce branches along the trunk, low to the ground, requiring their removal unless you want to use the tree in shrub borders. Unlike many other types of plums, including the Chickasaw plum (Prunus angustifolia), the hog plum does not produce many suckers from its roots; this new growth can result in many other plum species creating dense and impenetrable thickets.
Avoid using hog plum near the ocean for seaside plantings. It has little if any tolerance for exposure to salt spray.