How to feed plum trees

Written by chelsea fitzgerald
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How to feed plum trees
Dried plums are prunes. (Plum+peach+plum image by Galaiko Sergey from

In the United States, plum trees are typically one of three varieties, the European, Oriental and the Native American, according to the Walter Reeves website. Oriental plums are the best tasting for those who like to eat fresh plums, the European variety is best for preserving in jams and jellies and for drying as prunes. Given the proper care, plum trees typically produce fruit for 15 to 20 years. It is important to feed and fertilise your plum trees on a regular basis to ensure a delicious crop of plums each year.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 10-10-10 fertiliser

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  1. 1

    Water your plum trees during the hot summer months in order to produce a nice harvest. Give them about an inch of water once a week during the summer months, after that just water them when it has been a dry month. Plums are ready for picking typically during June and early July.

  2. 2

    Fertilise your plum trees three times during the first year of life. Begin in the month of April and scatter 1 cup of 10-10-10 fertiliser around the tree trunk in a 3-foot diameter.

  3. 3

    Scatter 1/2 cup of the same fertiliser during the month of June and August, according to the Walter Reeves website.

  4. 4

    Fertilise the plum trees twice during the second year of its life and every year thereafter. March and August would be good months to do the fertilisation. Use 1 cup of the 10-10-10 fertiliser per year of the age of the tree during March. Never give the tree more than a maximum of 10 cups of fertiliser. During August, give the plum trees 1 cup of fertiliser per year for the age of the tree, but do not use more than a maximum of 4 cups. For instance, if the tree is 8 years old, give it 8 cups of fertiliser in March and 4 in August.

Tips and warnings

  • Plums are best to eat when they yield to a gentle pressure from your fingers. They will not ripen after picking, so avoid picking them too early. Soon you will learn to recognise what colour your plums are when they taste the best. The plums will ripen at different times so you will have a few pickings to tend. The fruit will last two to four weeks in your refrigerator.

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