Position – Plant a plum tree in full sun in a spot that is sheltered from the wind, if possible. It is frost-hardy but cannot tolerate very heavy frost.
Size – Your plum tree can grow to a height of about 5 metres when mature.
Soil Type – Plum trees prefer a soil with a pH that ranges from 5.5 to 6.5. The average garden soil is around 6.5 to 7. Add a bag of acid compost to the hole to bring the pH down a little.
Watering – After transplanting your tree, water it well and check every second day to ensure that the soil is wet. After about a week, reduce your watering to once a week in winter. In hot, dry summers, provide plenty of water.
Mulch – Place a thick layer of pine bark mulch around the tree to help with water retention. This will decompose and maintain the soil acidity. Be careful not to let it touch the trunk, though, as it can cause infection and rot. Mulch your plum tree every 3 to 4 months.
Fertilising – Well-aged manure is a great fertiliser to use for the first year or 2. If this is difficult to find, then visit your local nursery for assistance in using the correct fertiliser.
Pruning – Pruning increases the fruit yield and makes for a healthier tree. Young plums are generally pruned in early spring, before the buds start. In September, cut back the dry twigs just above a bud. Once your tree is established, it’s important to prune only branches that have not produced fruit in that year. Remove all dead wood and dispose of it. Trim all side shoots to 6 leaves from their parent branch to encourage fruiting next year.
Harvesting – From the time of the blossoms, plums take 3 to 4 months to ripen. They will go from being hard and green to purple and relatively soft. They will stay ripe on the tree for about 2 weeks, after which they’ll be overripe and will fall to the ground.