Plum Trees

The plum trees are the first of our fruit trees to bloom in spring. Each year I've made a note of the date that the plums have begun to bloom:

3/9/13 - we lost the entire crop to a late frost this year

My husband loves plums. I wasn't terribly impressed with them before we planted our own. Growing them was eye-opening to me. We have three varieties, although I can't recall the names of them right now. One is red-fleshed, another is my husband's favorite blue-fleshed, and the third is a yellow plum with yellow flesh. They are all so much better-tasting than plums from a store. I love them all, but that yellow plum is indescribably delicious and is now my favorite.

Only half of the largest plum tree bloomed last year, and it looks as though it will do the same thing this year. I plan to prune it hard this fall and see if it will help. I let this tree get far too big and out of control anyway.

Fruit trees are available in dwarf, semi-dwarf and standard sizes. This article from Bayer Advanced describes the differences as follows:
"Dwarf: Small trees (7 to 10 feet tall) suited to an 8-foot-diameter space. Shorter trees are easy to prune, spray, thin and harvest. Fruit is normal size; trees start bearing in 3 to 5 years. Dwarf trees have the shortest life spans.
Semi-dwarf: Medium-size trees (10 to 16 feet tall) need a 15-foot-diameter space. Annual pruning is vital to maintain height and shape. This tree size yields hundreds of fruits per season. Trees start bearing in 3 to 5 years.
Standard: Large fruit trees grow 25 to 30 feet tall and require a 15- to 30-foot-diameter space, depending on fruit type. Large size makes pruning, spraying and harvesting trickier. Trees begin bearing after 3 to 5 years and live long enough that your great-grandchildren can harvest fruit."

We planted dwarf and semi-dwarf trees in our orchard. We wanted the maximum number of trees in the space we had available. We chose our location with several things in mind: it had to be outside of the horses' pasture, of course, and far from the goats' pen, yet close to a water source. Because frost falls downhill, we planted on the top of the hill in a sunny location. The only drawback to the location we chose is its size; I wish we had room for more trees.

Do you have fruit trees? Are they dwarfs, semi-dwarfs, or standard size trees?

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