Grow your own plum tree

Manitoba Gardener Magazine - - LOCAL DIRT -

Want to try grow­ing your own plums? Plant a plum pit. The re­sult­ing tree may never pro­duce fruit, but it’s fun to try – and you never know – there may just be a com­pat­i­ble plum in the neigh­bour­hood to help with pol­li­na­tion. This is a long term strat­egy that you might want to un­der­take with a child to watch the tree grow and fi­nally maybe pro­duce fruit which may or may not be ed­i­ble.

1. Clean the plum pit of all its flesh. Dry the pit for a week or so.

2. Test the pit by drop­ping it in a pail of wa­ter to see if it sinks or floats. If it floats, try an­other pit. If it sinks, it is still vi­able.

3. You can help the pit get an ear­lier start by scar­i­fy­ing it (crack­ing the shell).

4. Put the pit in some sphag­num moss or sur­rounded by a wet pa­per towel in a bag­gie.

5. The seed will have to be strat­i­fied by be­ing ex­posed to a cool tem­per­a­ture – about four de­grees C. Try the crisper. Check it of­ten af­ter five weeks. When it splits and sprouts (any time up to eight weeks), it’s time to plant.

6. Plant the pit three to four inches deep in some pot­ting soil.

7. Trans­plant it af­ter about a year (spring­time is best) to where you want it to grow per­ma­nently.

Grow­ing plum from a branch

Take sev­eral cut­tings from the tip of a branch about the cir­cum­fer­ence of a pen­cil and about a foot long in late fall af­ter dor­mancy. Make the cuts about a half inch above an up­per node and be­low a lower node. Re­move any leaves and be sure to take the cut­ting from a main stem – not a wa­ter sprout.

You can treat the lower por­tion of the cut­tings with root­ing hor­mone, then place them in a plas­tic con­tainer to re­tain mois­ture. Leave them out over win­ter and plant up in early spring. They should root in a few weeks. Be pa­tient.

Princess Kay Plum ( Prunus ni­gra 'Princess Kay').

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