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  • Itís raining plums

    Hello all,
    First year of an allotment and weíve inherited a large plum tree.

    Itís covered in fruit, some of which look purple and some yellowy green so assume they ripen at different rates.
    Is it normal that they drop fruit all over the place as soon as they ripen. Canít seem to decide do I take fruit off tree unripe or wait till itís ripe and catch them (not literally ) before they fall?

    Kev

  • #2
    Depends on the variety.
    Victoria is the most common variety, and this one I find is very poor at hanging on to its fruit. They just drop off as soon as they are ripe.
    I advise picking at least every other day. Don't judge by colour, but rather softness and how easily they come off. If they are soft, give them a very gentle tug. If they come straight off, they are ripe, if not, leave them another day or two.
    If you do want to pick them under-ripe, then as long as they are most purple already and are undamaged then they should ripen fine indoors. Pick the under-ripe ones with the stalk intact, and keep them somewhere warm for a few days to a week. They don't taste quite as good as tree-ripened, but there isn't much in it.

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    • #3
      Thanks for that. Here it is with some zoomed in so you can see the fruit is all diff colours Click image for larger version

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      • #4
        Ive always judged by the colour,wait till they’re ripe or have a bit of pink at least then pick. Cut one of the ripe ones open now & check for any wiggly plum worms they’re tiny but about a centimetre long & can be eaten accidentally (if there’s ever been a plum moth problem,apparently the plums that are affected often ripen first or age first). These moths pupate overwinter in the soil,try not to leave plums on the ground.

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        • #5
          I find judging by colour iffy for Victoria (although it seems fine for other varieties with more uniform skin colour). I've found that often a plum can be purple all over and stil firm and not fully ripe, or conversely can still be almost half yellow and yet be soft, perfectly ripe and ready to fall off.

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          • #6
            The trees naturally drop some fruit on the ground,it’s normal they produce too much. It helps to thin them to give space so they’re not touching but the tree doesn’t drop all of them,even in that wind. You’ll be able to pick some soon & then pick some again,they don’t all ripen on the same day. You could remove some of the height on that tree it’s very tall & difficult picking from the top,although you can get apple pickers on a pole to reach high up fruit.

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            • #7
              This photograph explains why I like dwarfing rootstocks! Currently the best examples seem to be M9 for apples, quince C for pears, VVA1 for plums.

              Apricots: to be determined. I have only two and they are on St. Julien A. On this very good soil apricot trees on that rootstock grow too large, i.e. final size would probably be about 8 m high and wide.

              I thinned a River's Early Prolific plum tree in about 5 minutes back in late spring. It always produces too much fruit, unlike some 'choicer' plums. Just remove all the fruit in a cluster except one or two and the few plums left will then reach full size. There'll be about 5x as much edible flesh on a fruit than if they're left overcrowded and they'll taste better.

              I often eat plums fresh from the tree, if they part from it easily. I think I've hardly ever eaten a plum that's dropped on the ground; with dwarf trees it's not necessary.

              Wasps are the main reason why I'd quite often pick plums slightly early and ripen indoors. They tend to go for the fruit before humans would regard it as ripe and delicious.

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