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Plum Tree Care

Plum Tree Care

Plum trees should not be the first choice of fruit tree for the totally inexperienced gardener, but with a little knowledge they are not too hard to grow - read on and let GardenAction show you how.


Latin Name
Prunus Domestica

Hardy deciduous tree

Site and Soil
Most prefer full sun. Very tolerant of soil conditions

Plant to Harvest Time
A 2 year tree will produce fruit 3 years after planting

How Many?
Standard or bush) 25 kilos (58lb). Greengages - 12 kilos (28lb). 

Choosing Your Plum Tree
Give careful consideration to what type of plum tree is best for you. Buying a plum tree which might grow to 9m (30ft) tall producing masses of cooking plums is not a good idea if you have a small garden and want eating plums!

The three key factors in choosing a plum tree are size, taste and pollination. GardenAction explains all three.

Plum Tree picture


Plum Tree fan trained Fan trained plum trees grow to an eventual height of around 2 m (7 ft). Although the shortest of all the forms, they will grow to a width of around 3 m and are really only a practical proposition when grown against a wall (not north-facing). If you have that sort of wall space available, this is the form for you.

Pyramid trained plum trees are free-standing and will grow to an eventual height of 2.5 m (8 ft). These are a good form for a smallish garden - their spread will be about 1.6 m (5 ft). This form of tree has branches radiating out in random directions from a straight central trunk

Plum Tree Pyramid type

Plum Tree bush type Bush trained plum trees are free-standing and are taller than the pyramid form - around 4m when mature. They do have one advantage over the pyramid form however, the branches and foliage is held around 1 m (3 ft) high from the ground - this makes mowing around the tree  much easier. The downside is that some of the fruit will be too high to pick without the use of a ladder. 

Half Standard trained plum trees are again free- standing and will grow to a height of around 6 m (20 ft). This is a largish tree and only suitable for medium to large gardens. It will produce a mass of plums each year, most of them needing a ladder to harvest.

Plum Tree Half standard type

Plum Tree Standard type Standard plum trees reach a height of around 8 m (28 ft) at maturity - on your own head be it if you plant one of these in anything but a large garden. They will produce enough fruit to feed your entire neighbourhood and you will definitely need a decent sized ladder to pick most of the fruit. 



Name: Thomas Brown
Date posted: December 21, 2011 - 04:38 pm
Message: Sharon H. That is horrible. My first inclination would be water the plum tree more. I hope I get some answers to mine.

Name: Thomas Brown
Date posted: December 21, 2011 - 04:30 pm
Message: I have a home in Atlanta. I want to plant plum trees down the side of my yard about 5 feet from the line and for the duration of the 140 feet back. We have plenty of neighbors who can help harvest and eat them all. I would like to get as many different varieties as is right here. I don't know what to buy or where to buy them.

Name: jim@GardenAction
Date posted: October 19, 2011 - 04:02 am
Message: Prune young trees in winter for shape,in summer for fan training older trees and to remove unproductive wood. Hard pruning stimulates side shoots. Take laterals back to two thirds in winter.

Name: Anne MacDowell
Date posted: October 18, 2011 - 01:12 pm
Message: We live in Buckinghamshire, England. Can you please tell me what time of year we should prune our plum trees?

Thank you.


Name: Brandon
E-mail: Private
Date posted: October 16, 2011 - 11:04 am
Message: where are those answers????????

Name: Brian
E-mail: Private
Date posted: September 17, 2011 - 03:36 pm
Message: All you have to do is pick of some of the plums so all the energy left over will go int o growing the tree and ripening the fruit that you didnt pick off. Not only that it helps weed out the bad plums you dont want

Name: Deb James
E-mail: Private
Date posted: September 10, 2011 - 02:55 pm
Message: I have several of the same questions as others do on this page - but where are the answers? Is anyone posting answers somewhere so I can see what to do???

Name: Rita Sachs
Date posted: September 10, 2011 - 04:51 am
Message: 2 years ago my plum tree blossomed profusely and bore fruit which was 90% defected by a clear, sticky, oozing gel. The unaffected fruits were great. This spring, I had fewer blossoms and fruit. As soon as the green plums got to be an inch in diameter, The ooze began and every fruit on the tree was gone within a day! What's happening? Yhank you or any help.

Name: Pam Hodkinson
Date posted: August 09, 2011 - 04:21 pm
Message: I have the same problem as E Lowe. A big heavily-laden branch has just snapped off but I've now got a bag full of full size but hard, green victoria plums. Can I do anything to ripen them or are they lost?

Name: E Lowe
Date posted: August 08, 2011 - 10:26 am
Message: I have a plum tree which this year is so heavey with plums that the braches are being dragged down almost to the ground. I have managed a device to support the weight but another plum laden branch has actually snapped off with loads of fruit (boo hoo, lost them then! Will this snapped branch cause any long term damage to the tree?

Name: Belinda Lane
Date posted: July 20, 2011 - 06:46 pm
Message: I moved to a house that has a mature plum tree,but the unripe friut was falling off all sring I only got one perfectly ripe plum it was wonderful,but there were no more left on the tree by the time they were ripe ! Is there something I need to do ?

Name: Sharon H.
Date posted: July 18, 2011 - 10:08 pm
Message: This is the first year our Stanley plum tree (it is around 6 years old) has produced more than one plum. It actually has many plums on it - - however - - they have stopped growing and are now dropping from the tree. They are green and only about 1 1/2 inches long. What is wrong? Please, can you help?

Name: h thompson
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 18, 2011 - 04:30 am
Message: Hi I have tiny little green bugs on my plum tree, they are like greenfly but i dont think they are. last year i had lots of plums this year i have none. they are even crawling on my garden bench which is near the tree, also lots of wasps in the tree, any idea what they are.

Name: Fred W.
Date posted: July 13, 2011 - 04:35 pm
Message: My plum tree is about 6yrs old. I started getting plums the 3rd year. Each year after it started getting a black hard something on the branches. It's getting worse. What could it be?

Name: Frances Ras
E-mail: frannyraz&
Date posted: July 10, 2011 - 08:43 pm
Message: when do they start gettig purple ready to eat my tree is large but they are still very green on the outside.some are really red in the inside.why are they takeing so long to ripen!

Name: Barbara
Date posted: July 05, 2011 - 10:23 am
Message: This is the first year our plum tree is so full of plums it weighs the branches down. However, there is some clear liquid like balls hanging near some of the plums on the branches. What is this?

Name: Anil
Date posted: July 04, 2011 - 02:28 am
Message: My land is almost in shade of coconut tree , I wish to cultivate some fruit trees in the available place . How can I maintain these tree in dwarf condition enable to avoid large area and to plant more plants . If pruned whether it will effect the flowering of the plants . Kindly give valuable suggestions . Thank you Anil, kerala , India

Name: Larry
E-mail: Private
Date posted: June 16, 2011 - 08:28 am
Message: My tree is 7 years old a dwarf.
This year I noticed a hard growth on various branches. It looks like bark that wraps around a small part of the branches. Also there are a few bugs that look like lady bugs.

Name: doc
E-mail: Private
Date posted: June 11, 2011 - 12:34 pm
Message: My plum tree just dropped almost all its golf ball size fruit.
Why did this happen and what can I do to prevent it?

Name: christine still
Date posted: June 11, 2011 - 05:42 am
Message: How can I protect my victoria plum trees from insects getting insite the fruit. Should I spray them with something?