Friday, August 3, 2012

Harvesting Prunus americana

A few years back I bought some Native Plum trees, Prunus americana. It's been about 4 or 5 years now and they've finally decided to fruit. Some fungal spraying was necessary which I did every two weeks.

These trees like to produce! The fruit is very sweet. I have only found a worm/caterpillar in two of the fruits which seemed to ripen earlier than the rest. I've probably pulled 400 of these bite sized fruits off the trees in total, with another 200-400 left to go. So far the wildlife seems to have left them alone which is always a plus, and something my Peach and Nectarine trees can't say.

As you can see they are bite sized and the color ranges a bit. I believe one of them crossed with a different variety at some point as its fruits are purple and have dust on them, where as the true species are yellow, mostly dust free, and turn red when ripe. They're about the size of cherry tomatoes, and delicious to eat. I highly recommend them.

People have complained that this species sends up root suckers. Actually all plum trees do this so I don't consider it a valid complaint. A lawn mower or pruners make short work of them. In nature the root suckers serve to replace the trunk as the heavy fruit yields each year are often so heavy that they snap the tree's branches. In this way single trees can form their own grove and potentially reach other trees to cross pollinate with.