In nature, there are 32 types of plums. They received their main distribution in Asia, North America and the temperate latitudes of the European part of the planet. Most of these species are short trees with a shallow root system that forms an abundance of shoots. The plum blooms with white flowers, and the fruits of its oval-ovoid shape ripen closer to autumn and have a varied color - from yellow to almost black and no less varied weight - from 5 to almost 40 grams! Plum fruits contain sugars, organic acids, tannins and dyes, as well as vitamins.
A valuable property of plum fruits is the ability to accumulate vitamin B2, it regulates hydrocarbon metabolism in diabetes. This vitamin is very necessary for a person, because when it is lacking, a disorder of the nervous system occurs, the release of carcinogenic substances from the human body slows down. In addition, plum fruits are very useful for atherosclerosis, rheumatism, heartburn, stomach disorders. They are also used for intestinal pain.
The fruits are used both fresh and for making jams, compote, juices, jam, marmalade and various tinctures. Prunes (dried fruits) are very tasty, and the seeds remaining during its "production" are used to prepare oil, which is up to 20% in them.
The most valuable for gardeners from the whole variety of species are the following: home plum, Ussuri, American, Canadian, Chinese and prickly. Let's talk about them in more detail:
It arose from the crossing of blackthorn and cherry plum. It is very often used for breeding purposes to create such cultivated varieties as Hungarian, Renklody, Mirabelle. This is a tree reaching a solid size - 6–12 meters, often with sparse or pubescent shoots. Home plum is not found in the wild.
The Ussuri plum is a medium-sized tree (5-6 meters) growing in the Far East. The fruits of the Ussuri plum vary greatly in size - from 5 to 33 g, and their color is also different - they are yellow or red with a slight waxy bloom, suitable for consumption both fresh and processed. The Ussuri plum is propagated by sowing seeds, and the most valuable selective forms, so as not to lose marketable qualities, are propagated by green cuttings, or by grafting. This plum is prized for its high winter hardiness, the plants can withstand temperature drops down to -55 ° C. This plant blooms very early, already in early May, blooms with small white flowers or large creamy pink (near the Canadian plum). Flowering continues for a week.
The Canadian plum blooms a little later, and the ripening time of its fruits is highly dependent on the meteorological conditions of the season. If the summer is characterized by a sufficient amount of heat and moisture, then ripening occurs in early August and, on the contrary, ripening occurs later in the cool seasons.
In the Canadian plum, the fruit color is mainly red with a burgundy hue. The fruit tastes very juicy or moderately juicy with a sour pleasant taste.
In especially favorable years, plants are excessively overloaded with crops, the branches of such trees hang under the weight of the fruit and may even break, under such shoots it is imperative to install supports. For medium-ripening varieties and forms of plums, props are placed at the end of July, and for late-ripening varieties - in mid-August.
It is a small shrub, reaching a height of 1.5 meters. Blackthorn is surprisingly productive, even tolerates severe drought and frost well. The fruits of the prickly plum are large, rounded black-blue and covered with a small waxy coating.
Blackthorn has been eaten for a long time. Usually fresh fruits are more edible after frost, then the amount of tannins in them decreases, and as a result, the taste improves. These fruits are used both for drying and for processing, they make excellent compotes, jams, jam, marshmallows, candied fruits, marinades, wines and, of course, liqueurs.
The first ripe fruits can be tasted at the end of August or in the first half of September. The removed thorn fruits are stored for more than four months.
The common blackthorn is propagated by seeds, the selected forms are also propagated by vegetative-root shoots. The seed propagation method is very simple - before freezing, the seeds are sprinkled with wet sand, placed in an earthen pot and buried in the garden to a depth of 50-60 cm.In the spring, the seeds are removed from the pots and sown into the ground to a depth of no more than 2 cm.After a year, the seedlings can be dug out and transplant to a permanent place. Seedlings are planted in planting holes, which are dug at a distance of 1.5 meters from one another. The planting hole is prepared for the size of the root system, usually 0.8 by 0.4 meters, about a kilogram of wood ash, 3-4 buckets of rotted compost are poured into it, add soil from the top layer and mix everything thoroughly.
Shoot propagation is an even easier process. The strongest coppice shoot is selected and dug out. In this case, shoots should be chosen that grow somewhat at a distance from the mother plant. In such shoots, the root system is more developed, then the seedling is separated from the mother plant, and if the root system is sufficiently developed, it is planted in a permanent place. If it is not sufficiently developed, then the plant is planted in the so-called school, for growing.
Young thorn trees are also very beautiful, they have a powerful trunk and a slender crown. The harvest is quite stable - about 10-12 kg of fruit per bush. Thorns, due to the abundance of their harvest, also need to support the branches in order to prevent them from breaking.
Plum is one of the most important stone fruit crops in our country. It got its distribution mainly due to amateur gardening, where today about 79-85% of the total plum harvest is collected.
Unfortunately, in the northern regions, and sometimes even in the middle lane, it is difficult to obtain stable fruit yields, since the most delicate and important process - flowering occurs during the period of return cold weather, which can even lead to the death of fruit buds, which are not highly winter-hardy.
Plum is quite demanding on soils. It prefers areas that are watertight with high fertility, loamy, soddy-podzolic soils, as well as drained, well-limy peatlands. In the middle lane, the requirement for soils is somewhat different, where the plum loves warm soils warmed up by the sun's rays, the southern and southwestern slopes.
Low places should be avoided, where plants are often exposed to damping off, and flowers - the destructive effects of spring frosts. Unsuitable for draining and places with a subsoil, air-deprived horizon, stony and gravel soils.
It is better to plant plum seedlings from April 20 to May 10, leaving a distance of at least three meters between the plants. Spring planting is good because the roots will immediately fall into well-heated soil, in which case the above-ground part of the plant will develop better and acquire resistance to overwintering. Plum is planted in planting holes, dug according to the size of the root system.
Of the maintenance work, it should be noted systematic weeding and loosening, autumn digging of soil near the trunk circles and the introduction of organic fertilizers in the period preceding fruiting.
Drainage is also demanding on moisture, therefore it needs regular watering. Overheating of the soil without watering, especially in the middle of summer, can lead to the formation of small fruits with a hard skin and naturally reduced marketability.
The plum also reacts painfully to the lack of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the soil. Potassium deficiency manifests itself in the color of the leaves - from green they turn grayish-green or even gray. With a lack of nitrogen, the edges of the leaves turn yellow. Such a deficiency can occur even with sufficient reserves of these elements in the soil, but if there is a lack of moisture, it can lead to massive shattering of the ovary.
To avoid the unpleasant consequences of the deficiency of these elements, on podzolic and poor in organic matter soils for 2-4 years after planting per square meter of the trunk circle, 10-15 kg of manure, compost or humus, as well as 25-30 g of superphosphate, are annually introduced, 10-12 g of ammonium nitrate. When the plants reach the age of five, the fertilizer rates should be approximately doubled. Phosphate and potash fertilizers should be applied in the fall, and nitrogen fertilizers in the spring.
Poultry manure has proven itself well as an effective fertilizer. Before adding it, it is mixed half with sawdust and applied at the rate of 3 kg per square meter into the annular grooves located near the trunk circles. After you have applied fertilizer and loosened the near-stem circles, the soil must be mulched with peat crumbs or manure.
With abundant flowering of trees, liquid fertilizing is useful, consisting of 8 g of ammonium nitrate, 20 g of superphosphate and 5 g of potassium salt, which is added at the rate of 10 liters per square meter. In top dressing, you can also use the infusion of mullein or bird droppings.
It should be remembered that in cold years, you should not apply too much nitrogen fertilizers, especially in the second half of summer, since an excess of this element can slow down the preparation of plants for winter.
We must not forget about the timely removal of root growth, which is formed in excess from the adventitious buds on the roots. If the variety or form is self-rooted, then neatly dug out offspring can be used as independent plants. Other promising methods of plum propagation include grafting and green cuttings.
Another valuable feature of culture is its early maturity; most varieties give the first harvests already in the 2-3rd year. Fruiting occurs on the growths of the previous year or on short overgrowing branches reaching a length of 10 cm. With good care, the plum lives for a rather long time, up to sixty years!
Sometimes fruits that are ripe and hanging on the branches for a long time can deteriorate - crack, the reason for this may be rains during this period, so it is best to remove the plum at the very beginning of ripening. If it happened that the fruits were harvested unripe, then they can be ripened in shallow boxes or flat baskets. Within 3-6 days, they will acquire their characteristic color and aroma. Ripe fruits are stored for quite a long time, up to twelve days, and even longer at a low positive temperature.
candidate of agricultural sciences,
Researcher, Department of Berry Crops, GNU VNIIS im. I.V. Michurin,
member of the R&D Academy
Photo by the author
|Diseases of culture||Description||How to get rid of|
|Hole spot||Brown spots appear on the leaves, then holes in their place. Shoots crack, gum flows from them||Dig the soil around. The diseased parts are cut out and burned. Spray trees with a 3% Bordeaux mixture|
|Fruit rot||Appears when the fruit ripens, like a gray spot on the berries. Spread by wind, damaging other fruits||Collecting rotten fruits. The tree is treated with preparations "Topsin", "Horus", "Azocene"|
|Pests||Description of the pest||Ways to destroy them|
|Hawthorn||A butterfly eating the green parts of the tree.||Collecting and destroying butterfly caterpillars|
|Yellow plum sawfly||Eats the fruits of the plum. A worm is visible inside the berry||Adults are shaken off to the ground. Before flowering, they are sprayed with Inta-Vir, Fufanon|
|Plum aphid||Cover the back of the leaves, after which they curl and dry out||They use folk recipes, sprinkling with an infusion of garlic, ammonia, and dust with tobacco dust. Biological preparation "Fitoverm" is used|
Like many European varieties, a rather old variety of plum Opal of Swedish selection is not in the State Register of the Russian Federation. By crossing the plum varieties Renkloda Ulena and Early Favorite, the breeders set themselves the task of obtaining a highly resistant plum variety for cultivation in poor soils in harsh climates. And I must say that they succeeded, although in frosts down to -30 ° C, sometimes the tree freezes, however, recovering quite quickly. The variety is immune to the main fungal diseases; no information has been found on the degree of pest infestation. Although the variety is not zoned, the possible growing regions can be judged by the place where its seedlings are grown. Fruit nurseries offering Opal plum were discovered in the Moscow region (Yegoryevsky nursery), as well as reviews of Moscow region gardeners who grow this variety. From this, it can be concluded that the Opal plum can grow and bear fruit in the middle lane. No information was found on the drought resistance of the variety.
The tree turned out to be medium-sized, up to three meters high. Its crown is round, broad-conical, dense. Plum Opal, grafted on cherry plum seedlings, begins to bear fruit in the third year after planting, and grafted on Wangeheim Hungarian - in the second year. Early flowering - usually flowers bloom from mid-April to early May.
Plum blossoms Opal early, even before the leaves are completely blooming
Accordingly, the ripening of fruits occurs at the end of July - beginning of August. Flower buds are laid on annual growths and fruit twigs. The yield of the variety is medium and irregular. According to various sources, from 30 to 65 kg of fruits are obtained from one tree. Moreover, with large yields, the fruits become smaller, their taste worsens.
Opal plum fruits are relatively small in size - their average weight is 20-23 grams, and the maximum weight reaches 30-32 grams. Their shape is rounded with a clearly visible abdominal seam. The skin is thin, but difficult to separate. In an immature state, it has a yellow-green color, and by the time it is fully ripe, it becomes a bright purple-red and sometimes with an orange barrel. There is a gray waxy coating on the surface.
Opal plum fruits are relatively small in size - their average weight is 20-23 grams, and the maximum weight reaches 30-32 grams
The pulp is dense, fibrous, but very juicy. Its color is golden yellow. The stone is small, well separated from the pulp. The taste of the fruit is sweet, with a slight sourness and a characteristic plum aroma. Tasting taste assessment - 4.5 points. With high humidity during the ripening period, the fruits are prone to cracking. The transportability of the fruits is good, but their keeping quality, like other summer varieties, is small - they are stored in the refrigerator for no more than two weeks. The purpose of the variety is universal.
Opal is highly fertile - it can be grown without pollinators. Moreover, he himself is a good pollinator for many varieties of plums (for example, Bluefri, President, Stanley and others). But it was noted that in the presence of Pavlovskaya and Alaya Zarya plums, as well as Soneika cherry plums, the yield and quality of Opal's fruits are improved.
The positive qualities of the Opal plum are:
The negative aspects of the variety are also present:
For a successful planting of a plant, it is necessary to adhere to the agrotechnical recommendations of gardeners:
Once the hybrid plum has taken root, it will grow rapidly. The length of the branches will reach 2 m and they will need to be shortened to 50 cm, which will increase the growth of tops. The first cherry plum fruits will appear three years after planting.
At this time, the tree requires regular care, which involves loosening the land and mulching, constant watering during a drought.
It will not be difficult at all to grow in your garden all the species that cherry plum has. Most gardeners give preference to fruit due to its endurance, unpretentiousness and excellent taste.
Care activities are simple. Watering the plant is required once a month with 30 liters of warm water for each bush. After watering, you need to loosen the top layer of the earth and remove weeds so that the required amount of air can enter the soil. It is forbidden to loosen the soil deeper than 10 cm, otherwise there is a risk of damaging the roots and disrupting the development of the plant.
Top dressing is an important care process. Plum variety Burbank needs both organic and mineral fertilizers. During the preparation of the planting site, organic matter is used, and during the growing season, it is required to use minerals.
Pruning is done irregularly as needed. In the spring, you need to thin out the crown and remove all branches that have broken out of it. In the fall, all diseased branches are removed, and the cut sites are watered with garden pitch.
Regionalized varieties of plums are most widespread in the European zone. A feature of the plum is a long dormant period, which allows the culture to tolerate temperature changes from warming to return frosts and vice versa without damage. The cool European summer, sometimes with heavy rains, does not prevent the culture from forming high-quality high yields of tasty fruits. At the same time, planting plum seedlings and caring for them has features, non-observance of which leads to early death of the tree and the formation of tasteless fruits.
Plum seedlings are best planted in spring. The root system of the plum consists of skeletal branches of the 1-2 order, which mainly play the role of conductors and fibrous, overgrowing the main roots. They perform a suction function and are located in the upper 40 cm layer of the soil. Plum seedlings planted in April, during a long warm period, manage to develop the root system and adapt to the conditions of the growing area. When planted in autumn, they often freeze or dry out and do not bloom in spring.
Plum should not be planted in low places with a close occurrence of groundwater. If the water layer is at the damage of 1.4-1.5 m from the soil surface, the plum will die early, although in one place it can bear fruit for more than 20-25 years.
If the site is lowered, the subsoil water is close, and there is no other place, then a bulk mound can be prepared for the drain. Braid with willow twigs an area with a diameter of up to 3 m and a height of up to 1.0 m. Fill a 10-15 cm layer of drainage from pebbles and crushed stone to drain excess water and fill it with a mixture of local typical soils of neutral acidity. Soils should be water and air permeable, light in composition. Be sure to mix heavy ones with a lot of humus, horse peat and other ingredients.
On a flat or elevated surface, if the soil is clayey, heavy, it is necessary to fill the planting hole with a mixture of light soil soils. Add leafy soil, humus, high peat, sandy loam soil and a sufficient amount of fertilizer. Such a soil pit must have a diameter of at least 1.0x1.0x1.0. The bottom and sides of the pit should separate the plum sapling from the heavy soil. Over time, the tree will wonderfully take root and will grow and bear fruit for a long time. Otherwise, the whole life of the plum will look depressed, and the fruits will lose their presentation.
To remove acidification of soils, they must be calcified. The lime rate is: