For weeks I’ve been anticipating our first crop of plums. A small crop, but proof that the last few years nurturing our plum trees to health despite hail storms and severe Adirondack winters, Japanese beetles and a zero pesticide regimen was worth it. And then this! Plum premature fruit drop…
Today is July 15, 2015 and of the only two plum trees that successfully fruited this year in Rosslyn orchard, only about a half dozen small plums still remain on the trees. The rest were on the ground beneath the trees when I made my daily rounds.
Yes, daily rounds. I’m that eager. Or anal?
I grabbed the two ripest fruit for a taste test. A quick spit shine and “Aaahhh…”
Actually, that’s a twinge hyperbolic. Promising, perhaps. Still start, but distinctly plum-flavored. Not 100% sweet yet, but encouraging.
Encouraging, that is, except for the fact that they’d all fallen from the tree. Why did we suffer plum premature fruit drop?
The verdict’s still out, but I’m thinking that yesterday’s (and today’s) heavy winds are responsible. And the fact that these tress are not properly tethered, allowing far too much movement in heavy wind.
Supporting your young tree with tree stakes help prevent damage to the tree during windstorms. (Source: Shedding Light on Fruit Drop)
Needless to say, I’ve quickly staked one of the trees, and I’ll tackle the second tomorrow. It’s worth noting that all of these fruit trees were originally staked, but I’ve eliminated some of the stakes as they gotten larger. I’ve been meaning to retake the plums since they have so much windage and still somewhat slender trunks. Also because I’ve read that the plums will actually become healthier and more productive if I can train the branches to open up into more of a “goblet” form. Better late than never!
I would like to find some suitable steel stakes that will not rot quickly, but for now I’m using wood. Maybe two foot lengths of steel REBAR could be bent into large staples that would work well? I’ll experiment and post and update anon.
And one last good bit of news about our plum premature fruit drop. It may be due to the age of the trees.
Premature fruit fall usually occurs in trees less than five years old. (Source: Plum Fruit Drop)
I’ll check my notes, but I think that these plums were planted three to four years ago. Good news?