It would seem easier to grow a plum. This culture has its own specifics, subtleties. They will be discussed in the selection of materials.
Features of growth and fruiting
By the nature of fruiting varieties and types of plums are conditionally divided into three groups:
- fruiting mainly on annual growth;
- on perennial overgrown branches;
- both on annual shoots and on overgrown branches.
In the first group of plums, group buds prevail on strong annual growths. - two or three in one node (usually the middle bud is leafy, and the lateral buds are flowery). Group buds are concentrated in the middle part of the shoot. Below are single flower buds. The apical and several kidneys closest to it are single leafy. The following year, on an annual shoot from the lower leaf buds, bouquet twigs and spurs develop. Above them, stronger growth shoots develop. Flower buds give flowers and fruits. Bouquet sprigs and spurs for varieties of the first group are very short-lived. The crop is determined by the number of flower buds on the annual shoot. After picking the fruit, the branches are barely exposed, especially if single flower buds prevailed. Varieties of the first group are characterized by early maturity, productivity, but require constant attention to maintaining strong shoot growth. This group includes most plum varieties of Chinese, Ussuri, American and Canadian.
Varieties of the second group are distinguished by the formation of perennial overgrowing twigs or fruit branches. They host the bulk of the crop. For varieties of this group, it is important that there is no excessive thickening of the crown, otherwise mass dying of fouling branches occurs and fruiting worsens. The second group consists mainly of domestic plum varieties of Western European and southern origin.
Varieties of the third group have an intermediate character of fruiting between the first and second groups. They bear fruit well both on annual growth and on relatively short-lived 3-4-year-old sprouting branches. For varieties of the third group, along with maintaining strong growth, it is very important to timely change the bare branches. Thickening of the crown should also not be allowed; overgrown branches should be in favorable lighting conditions. The majority of Central Russian plum varieties belong to the third group: Skorospelka red, Moscow Hungarian. Tula black, Ochakov yellow, etc.
When growing plums, pruning, it must be remembered that stone fruits have simple fruit buds, that is, only fruits can form from them. On strong annual shoots there are group and single fruit buds. On weak growths, mainly single flower buds are formed. Therefore, when growth is weakened, branches are exposed. It is enhanced by the fact that after two or four years of fruiting, the sprigs of sprigs and spurs die off, forming thorns.
In summer, the growth of shoots at the plum tree may stop, and then begin again. In this case, secondary shoots are formed.
The above-mentioned features of the growth and fruiting of plums must be taken into account when pruning and forming the crown.
Shaping and trimming
Trees form with a stem 25–40 cm high, a crown of 5–7 well-developed and well-placed branches. It is advisable to form skeletal branches not from adjacent kidneys, but from 10-15 cm apart from each other, shorten them for subordination, preventing the formation of forks, changing the direction of growth. The first pruning is carried out early in the spring immediately after planting. If it’s late with the beginning, it’s better to wait until next year.
Pruning pruning in the early years is necessary for the formation of the main branches of the crown. Excessive branches that may contribute to thickening of the crown need to be loosened or removed. In varieties bearing fruit on annual shoots (annual wood), the shortening should be minimal so as not to cause the appearance of excessive branches thickening the crown. Strong (50-60 cm) annual growths of young trees bearing fruit on two-year-old wood (bouquet twigs and spurs) need to be shortened more. Well-developed shoots are shortened by 1/4 to 1/5 of their length in order to enhance the formation of shoots and the development of spurs.
When the tree enters full fruiting, pruning is necessary to maintain the growth power of the shoots. If the crown is formed correctly and there is a sufficiently strong annual growth (at least 40 cm), there is no need to shorten it. Limited to thinning crowns with cutting thickening, dry, improperly located and rubbing branches. With a weak growth (less than 25-30 cm), without shortening the annual shoot, they are cut into 2-3-year-old wood above the nearest lateral branching. If the growth is even smaller (10-15 cm), anti-aging pruning is performed on 4-5-year-old wood, i.e. perennial branches are cut into strong lateral branching.
In grafted well-developed trees, root shoots are annually removed to the main root of the mother plant, without leaving stumps. In root-own varieties, shoots are used for propagation. With severe freezing or death of the whole aerial part, root-bearing varieties can be quickly restored by leaving two or three overgrown plants at a distance of about 3 m from one another and forming them according to the described type. In case of death of grafted trees, you can also leave 2-3 overgrown plants, but they must be re-grafted with the desired varieties.
Work Calendar (November to December)
November December. Regularly thaw the snow on the tree-trunk circles and around the prikop of seedlings in order to prevent the mice from penetrating the young trees. In case of heavy snowfalls, shake off the snow from the branches. This will reduce their breakdowns. For better wintering, sprinkle dug seedlings with snow.
Before severe frosts, prepare cuttings (annual shoots 20-30 cm long) for spring vaccinations. Leaving the harvesting of cuttings until spring is risky, since in winter shoots can freeze and the survival rate of vaccinations will decrease sharply. Tie the cuttings into bundles and store in a snow pile until spring. Inside the collar, the temperature remains at about 0 ″. Snow protects the cuttings from drying out, low winter and high spring temperatures.
January. In snowless winters, scoop up snow to tree trunks to protect roots and shtamb from freezing. After snowfalls, to avoid breakage, shake the snow off the branches. In young gardens, after snowfall, thaw the snow around the trees to protect them from damage by mice and the accumulation of moisture in the soil.
February. Continue work on snow retention in the garden, repair of garden equipment, delivery of fertilizers, pesticides, etc. At the end of the month, scoop up snow from the plum tree trunks and free them from winter strapping. It should immediately be taken out of the garden and burned. Whiten the stems and base of the branches with a lime mortar (3 kg of freshly slaked lime -) - 2 kg of clay per bucket of water). This will help in the winter-spring period to smooth out temperature fluctuations on the surface of the crust during the day and reduce the appearance of sunburn.
So that the snow in the pile where the cuttings are laid is preserved longer, at the end of February sprinkle it with sawdust with a layer of 15-20 cm.
March. To attract birds in the first half of the month, hang birdhouses in the garden. From the middle of the month, start pruning the plum.
April. Continue unfinished work on cleaning the boles and care of the crown. Dig the grooves to drain melt water.
When planting a plum, take into account the strength of tree growth, depending on the soil and climatic conditions and varietal characteristics. In the southern regions of the country on fertile soils, plum trees develop more strongly, so plant them more spaciously - with a distance of 3-4 m in a row and 5-6 m between rows, in the middle lane, Siberia and the Far East - thicker: 2-3 m in row and 3-5 m between rows.
The best time for planting plums in the middle and northern zones is spring, in the south - autumn and winter.
As soon as the soil ripens (becomes loose, crumbly), level the site and start digging holes (if this work has not been done since the fall). The dimensions of the landing pits depend on the size of the root system. Pits with a diameter of 60–80 cm and a depth of 40–60 cm are usually prepared. When digging holes, discard the upper layer of soil in one direction, the lower layer in the other. Mix the topsoil with organic and mineral fertilizers by adding 1 bucket of rotted manure (or 2 buckets of compost), 200-300 g (2-3 handfuls) of superphosphate and 40-60 g of potassium salt (or 300-400 g of wood ash). Then put the seedling to the stake in the planting pit, straighten the roots, cover it with fertile soil, compacting it with your feet so that voids do not form between the roots. Immediately after planting, make a hole around the seedling, pour water (2 buckets), tie the seedling to the stake with twine in the form of a figure of eight (free), mulch with peat, sawdust or loose earth. Scatter the bottom layer of soil. After planting, the root neck of the plants should be at soil level.
If the garden is already planted, dig the soil under the crown and in the aisles with a pitchfork or a shovel. In order not to damage the root system, the plane of the shovel should always be in the radial direction to the trunk. Closer closer to the stem, dig finer (to a depth of 5-10 cm), as you remove it, dig deeper (10-15 cm). Before digging, scatter nitrogen fertilizers under the crown of trees (100-200 g on a urea or calcium nitrate tree in a young garden, 300-500 g in a fruit tree). They will provide good growth and flowering of plums.
To protect flowering trees from springtime frost, prepare smoke piles.
Sometimes cherries and plums are planted in lowlands, where cold air often stagnates in winter, causing damage or death to flower buds and branches. If the site is located in a lowland, stone crop production will have to be abandoned.
It is necessary to know the depth of groundwater. They should not be closer than 1.5-2.0 m from the surface of the soil. At a closer location, cherries and plums should not be planted.
Do not underestimate the value of pruning of the crown: sometimes it is carried out irregularly, which causes the crown to thicken, fruit formations die off, fruiting becomes irregular. Trees overloaded with crops freeze even in relatively mild winters and bear little fruit. That's why you need to cut the cherries and plums annually.
At the end of the month, start vaccinating the cuttings. This work can be performed during the period of sap flow.
May. If the air temperature drops to + 1 °, light smoke piles. Finish smoking 1 to 2 hours after sunrise. To mitigate the effects of frost, water the soil under the trees and spray the crown with water.
In hot, dry weather, be sure to water the plums (4-6 buckets of water per 1 tree). Before flowering, it is useful to feed the tree with organic or mineral fertilizers. Organic fertilizers (cow dung, bird droppings or feces) are diluted in water at a ratio of 1:10 and 4-6 buckets of mortar are applied under the tree (depending on the age of the garden). If not organic, apply liquid mineral fertilizers. One tablespoon of urea is dissolved in 10 liters of water and 2-3 bucket is brought in the young garden, in the adult 4-6 bucket of liquid fertilizer per tree. To reduce moisture loss due to evaporation, immediately after fertilizing, mulch the soil with peat or sawdust.
If the aisles of the garden are kept under black steam, 2-3 times a month they weed and loosen the soil. With natural tinning, mow the grass regularly (5-6 times during the summer) and leave it in place in the form of mulch.
Remove wild growth or harvest it for propagation.
June July. Continue work on caring for the plum garden: remove weeds, loosen the trunks and row-spacings. In dry years, irrigate (5-7 buckets for each tree). After flowering (in early June) and in the formation of fruits (in late June), it is useful to fertilize with organic and mineral fertilizers. The doses of fertilizers are the same as during spring feeding.
In fruitful years, put props under the main branches.
Aug. Sept. In gardens with natural row spacing, grass mowing is stopped. If the soil content is under black steam, dig a tree trunk and autumn plowing row spacing. Before digging, evenly disperse organic and mineral fertilizers under the trees. Good results are obtained by alternately applying organic and mineral fertilizers (after a year). Based on one tree, organic fertilizers (humus or compost) are added 1-2 buckets, mineral - 200-500 g of superphosphate, 200-400 g of potassium salt (or 1-1.5 kg of wood ash). For young plantings, doses of fertilizers are reduced, and for fruit-bearing ones, they are increased. Autumn fertilization improves shoot maturation, overwintering plants and provides them with the nutrients necessary for growth and fruiting in the next year.
If the soil on the plot is acidic, lime them every three years. To do this, grind lime materials (slaked lime, ground limestone, dolomite, chalk), evenly scatter over the site (300 - 500 g per 1 m2 surface) and dig.
In August-September, plums are harvested, canned and processed.
For better wintering of trees (especially in dry years), carry out moisture-charging irrigation (5-7 buckets of water under 1 tree).
Start digging holes for spring planting. Buy planting material in the fall. For better wintering, seedlings are best stored in the trenches. To do this, dig a groove 30-40 cm deep, lay the seedlings obliquely (dropping the roots into the groove), sprinkle them with soil, compact it with your feet, pour well (1 bucket of water per plant), sprinkle soil on top again to form an earthen roller 20 in height —30 cm. In this state, seedlings winter well until spring.
© Forest & Kim Starr
October. Water-charging irrigation is completed, followed by mulching of the soil.
Clean the stumps and base of the branches from dead bark, mosses and lichens. After cleaning the wounds with a knife, wash them with 2–3% (20–30 g per 1 liter of water) solution of iron or 1–2% (10–20 g per 1 liter of water) of copper sulfate. Then cover the wounds with garden var. If there is a hollow, close them with cement. Blanch the stems and base of the branches with lime mortar (the concentration is the same as in February).
To protect young trees from rodents (hares, mice), tie the trunks with fir spruce branches (tops of branches down). For the best wintering, spuddle trees with a soil layer of 15-20 cm. Rake the fallen leaves in heaps and punch or burn (to destroy pests and diseases).
How to prevent errors
When caring for plantations of stone fruit crops, amateur gardeners often make mistakes, which is why they get low fruit yields.
One common mistake is thickened tree planting. When the crowns close, the illumination of the branches deteriorates and they rush up, which makes it difficult to care for the trees and harvest. This circumstance should be considered when laying a garden.
Inexperienced gardeners make many mistakes when applying fertilizers. Often at one time they contribute too much or very little. Large doses of organic fertilizers can cause fatliquoring of young trees, delay the growth of shoots, worsen their ripening, which increases the risk of winter freezing. Increased doses of mineral fertilizers, in turn, increase the concentration of salts in the soil, which has a depressing effect on fruit trees. When applying low doses of fertilizer on poor soils, trees grow weakly and bear fruit. Therefore, you need to adhere to the optimal doses for your specific site.
Often the reason for the low fruiting of cherries and plums is the wrong selection of pollinating varieties. With single-grade planting of self-infertile varieties, the trees often bloom well, but hardly bear fruit due to the premature shedding of ovaries. In such cases, it is necessary to plant pollinating varieties (of the same flowering period with the main varieties) or to plant their cuttings in the crown.
Stone fruit can bear fruit weakly due to freezing of the fruit buds or their partial damage. If the fruit buds do not bloom, then they have frozen. Often, early in spring, freezing of the pestle (central part) of the flower is observed. In this case, the tree blooms profusely, but does not form an ovary. Therefore, select highly winter-resistant varieties. In addition, you can protect trees from frost by preparing them well for winter: carry out water-charging irrigation in the fall (especially after a dry summer), apply organic and mineral fertilizers, and protect plants from pests and diseases.