How to make plum trees bear fruit

Updated February 21, 2017

Plum trees are stone fruit trees that, when cared for with good basic cultural practices, will flower and fruit consistently. Plum trees begin producing fruit when they reach maturity and are established in their planting area three to five years after planting. They will achieve peak fruit production at roughly 10 years of age and continue producing for 20 years or more. If you are growing plum trees that are not self pollinating you will need to plant the trees in pairs or groups mixing cultivars with pollination periods that are in sync on the calender. Self pollinating plums can be planted as single trees.

Plant your plum tree in a location that has a full sun to partial shade exposure daily. Protect the tree from strong winds by planting near other protective trees or buildings that provide a wind break for the tree.

Provide a nutrient rich soil that is easy draining and has a pH between 5.5 and 7.5. Amend deficient soil with several pounds of aged manure and compost at planting time. Top dress established plum trees around the base once a year with the same materials to boost soil fertility.

Water your plum trees regularly and well, maintaining lightly moist to moist soil at all times. Never let the soil dry out more than an inch or two under the soil surface between waterings. Though plums can be drought tolerant, drought conditions stress the tree and can inhibit flowering and fruiting. Always keep soil moist in the heat of summer during peak fruit production.

Feed your plum tree once a year in the spring after the last hard frost. Choose a formula specifically for stone fruit trees or use a balanced 10-10-10 formulation. Apply 0.023kg. of fertiliser for every year of the plum tree's age. Apply the fertiliser around the base of the tree starting six inches out from the trunk and extending at least six inches beyond the drip line of the tree canopy.

Pull competitive weeds from the base of the tree regularly and mulch with several inches of shredded bark, sawdust, wood chips, cocoa hulls or straw each year to hold moisture to the soil and keep weeds at bay.

Things You'll Need

  • Plum trees
  • Compost
  • Aged manure
  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Stone fruit or 10-10-10 fertiliser
  • Organic mulch
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