Plum (lat. Prunus) is a widespread fruit crop, belongs to the Rosaceae family. More than 200 species are known that grow mainly in the northern part of the globe.
The homeland of the plant is hot Asia, it is here that the history of domestic plum began about two thousand years ago. Later, the plum appeared in Greece, Rome, having got to Europe, it became one of the most famous among fruit trees. Juicy, sweet-tasting fruits are successfully grown in African countries, Western India, Ukraine, Moldova, Caucasus.
Types of plum trees:
Domestic plum (Prunus domestica) is a tree with a wide, less often narrow crown, reaches 13-15 m in height, with good care, bears fruit for 15 years. Fruits are purple in color, fleshy with a pointed stone.
Peach (Prunus persica) is a medium-sized tree with a rounded crown, winter-hardy, and has a high yield. Flowering occurs in medium terms. Fruits are sweet, juicy, reaching maturity by mid-August.
Chinese plum (Prunus salicina) is a small tree with a conical crown, grows rapidly, the maximum height is 6 m. It begins to bear fruit early, 3 years after planting. Fruits with a thin skin of amber color with a delicate taste and pleasant aroma.
Trees for growing in Ukraine - popular varieties:
Selection and purchase of seedlings. Choose the tree that will fit well with the improvement of your site. If the garden is not very large, give preference to low-growing varieties of plum trees. For more spacious garden areas, you can choose between medium and tall varieties.
Location and landing. Before planting a seedling, make sure to choose the right place, it must be well lit, protected from cold winds. Plum is thermophilic, so that the soil warms up well, an ideal place for its cultivation would be a gentle slope of the south or southwest direction. The optimal time for planting is early spring.
The depth of the pit is 0.5 m, the width is about 1 m.The distance between the seedlings depends on the variety of plum, for trees with a spreading crown, you need to retreat 3 m, for tall plants with a narrow crown, 2 m is enough.
The soil is loose, fertile, without stagnant moisture: loamy, forest or black earth. Dig up the soil before planting, apply mineral and organic fertilizers. If the roots of the plant are dry, soak them for 2-3 hours in water.
Drive a wooden stake into the center of the hole, to which you will tie the seedling. The junction of the root with the stem should rise 5-7 cm above the ground, after a short amount of time the soil will settle and the root collar will be at ground level. Fill the first layer of the filled soil without fertilizers, gently spread and tamp with your hands to fill the voids near the root system.
Immediately after planting, water the seedling with 3-4 buckets of water, and then mulch with peat or compost.
Watering. Watch for regular watering, especially in early summer, the drain needs moist soil. During a drought, 5 buckets of water should be poured onto each adult tree once a week; 3-4 buckets are enough for young seedlings. Waterlogging is also dangerous for a tree.
From an excess of moisture, the plum begins to shed its leaves, and from a lack of it, cracks appear on the fruits.
Loosening, mulching. Weed and loosen to a depth of about 5 cm periodically.
Top dressing. Fertilizers are applied starting from the third year after planting.
During the autumn digging, potassium and phosphorus are added, per 1 m² of the trunk circle, 0.5 buckets of compost, 50 g of superphosphate and 20 g of potassium sulfate are taken.
In spring, nitrogen fertilizers are applied: 20 g of ammonium nitrate per 1 m².
Top dressing is carried out every three years.
Trimming and shaping. In order for the branches of the tree to develop evenly, it is necessary to thin out the thickening branches and remove the frozen tops every year. The vase-like shape of the crown is considered beautiful and convenient; for this, a centrally located branch is cut out, in the second year after planting the seedling.
Make sure that individual branches do not go beyond the crown formation zone. Prune branches with many twigs, also dry, low-growing, upright young shoots.
Flowering and fruiting. Plums are distinguished:
Self-pollinated varieties are the most popular among gardeners.
Plums bloom in early May, so there is a risk of kidney damage due to frost. To improve pollination, it is recommended to install hives in the garden.
Reproduction and grafting. Propagated by grafting, cuttings and root shoots.
For successful grafting, a seedling stock is grown. Shoots can be used commercially or cut from trees in the garden. Vaccination is carried out in the spring or mid-summer.
Reproduction by cuttings is carried out in the spring, if the roots were dug up in the fall, they are stored in a specially prepared trench, sprinkled with peat. Cuttings are planted in prepared soil in a shaded place and a sufficient amount of moisture is controlled.
When propagating by root shoots, you need to carefully dig out the harvested shoots with roots in early spring and plant them in a prepared place.
Diseases and pests. Plum is susceptible to such diseases and pests: perforated spotting, gum removal, rust, fruit rot, plum sawfly, fruit mites, aphids.
In order to prevent the development of fungal diseases, you need to regularly examine trees, remove affected leaves, remove fruits and shoots. In early spring and autumn, carry out the treatment with fungicidal preparations, for example, such as: "Bordeaux liquid" solution 3%.
Pest control is reduced to shaking off and destroying insects and processing plums with biological products: "Bitoxibacillin", "Gaupsin".
Plum in winter. In winter, plums require special attention. Be sure to trample the snow around the plum. In heavy snowfalls, blow off the snow from the branches, this will protect the branches from breakage.
The usefulness of the fruit. The fruits of plum trees have been used in folk medicine for a long time. Plums contain a high amount of vitamin E, as well as a lot of minerals: potassium, iron, iodine, phosphorus, zinc.
Plums have diuretic and choleretic properties, which are useful for cleansing the body. Regular consumption of healthy and tasty fruits helps to lower blood cholesterol, normalize blood pressure, and strengthen the walls of blood vessels.
Due to its high pectin content, plum juice helps to remove radionuclides and heavy metals from the body.