Saturday, March 04, 2017

Planting a Bare Root European Plum. 3.4.16

This winter I ordered a multigraft European plum, which came today.  So I planted it.

At times I debate the wisdom of ordering trees from mail order nurseries.  There are good things and bad things about this tree and its service.  This was from Raintree nursery.

The good things - it was available.  Multigrafts such as this can be challenging to find locally.  This was billed as "Seneca, Early Laxton, Rosy Gage, Italian, and Stanley" with minus one, wildcard, so sold as a 4-graft.  It's a gamble as to which one is going to be missing.

The tree was very sturdy, and the root system was very good.

The labeled grafts on this tree:  Stanley, Italian, Rosy Gage.  The remaining, large branch, is not labeled so no way to know.  It's difficult to decide, but this tree might have all 5.  I don't need another Stanley, so i will overgraft that with something else.  What I wanted the most were Rosy Gage, Laxton, and Seneca, and I'm only clear on one of those.  Pay your money and take your chances.  I would call this somewhere between good and bad, at least they filled the order correctly.

The bad thing - Below the graft, on the rootstock, the bark is badly damaged, girdling half way around the tree.  It should still grow, and heal the wound, as long as this damage does not become infected.  This kind of damage might be OK for a sale tree, but not for a premium priced tree.  I imagine this is machine damage, although it could be animals.

So I planted.  The wound is above ground.  I need to add a wire guard tomorrow, forgot today in the rain.


  1. I hope your tree will survive that injury. Maybe put some sealer on that wound. If you pay regular price on that tree, you should complain to the seller and maybe get a credit for your next order.
    My 2 yr old "mariposa"plum met a sudden death. I didn't notice the decline and grafted on it. Today I see that there's no green sprout and the other plum tree have pretty much finish flowering. Maybe too much rain? I think out of the many graft, I have many 2/3 that makes it. The elephant heart is the hardest. I've yet to figure it out. I think I've knocked the graft off by accident when I walk around and bumped it. Oh well, there's always next yr.

    1. I hope it survives. I've seen worse, that did OK. But this is a new bare root tree, and it's a shock to the tree and limits its nutrition until it heals.

      I thought about grafting a patch of bark from suckers off another European plum tree. That one has some very strong growth that I pruned off. Fortunately, I left a branch that will need pruning later. I tried peeling off a patch, but the cambium did not separate well. It needs to be actively growing for that. If it survives until May, I might do that as a trial grafting project. Trim the edges of the wound into a nice shape and cut a matching piece for a match from a vigorous one or two year old sucker, and graft that on the wound.

  2. Yes, always have plan B. I would continue to graft even if it survived. Sometimes I think if there's something wrong with a fruit tree it won't die the first yr maybe 2-3 yrs down the road. My elephant heart plum have rejected the first attempt of grafts. At the second try I'm putting different varieties on it. But on the Santa Rosa, I've my first taste of success, all is done by whip and tongue. The taken varieties are Golden Nectar, Padre, and Sierra.
    With the wounded tree, you can use the top growth as material to graft on other tree so if the worse happened then you'll still have the variety that you really want.

    1. Those sound like some interesting choices for plums. I imagine they will help the original tree set more fruit too, with the cross pollination.

      I didn't think about using top material from the wounded tree, as scion. I need to take a look at that, this weekend. Great idea.

  3. Well, after the scion fair I came home with some European plum scion too. Even though I'm not reassured about the survival of this little tree, and it has not yet broken dormancy, I added w varieties to it and to my other 2 Euro plum trees. One was Yakima, an old Pacific NW variety reported to have red skin, yellow flesh, and good flavor. The other was Yellow Egg. I wasn't enthusiastic about the tree having Stanley, because I have a Stanley tree, and Italian, which seems to be a lot like Stanley. However the Stanley arm was too large diameter for me to graft by whip and tongue. On the other hand, one branch appeared to be the rootstock, so I used that for the Yakima and the Italian arm for the Yellow Egg. YE was already coming out of dormancy, but you get what you get.

    As soon as growth is under way and bark is slipping, I want to patch that injury.