We just finished planting plum trees in our orchard and we’re already dreaming of biting into a homegrown juicy plum in a few months! The last few years we picked plums from a friend’s tree in town. Our friend doesn’t like plums and happens to have several large trees in his backyard. There are a bunch of small plum trees that have sprouted under the big trees. Our friend offered to have us come over and dig some plum tree saplings out to plant in our small orchard. We were thrilled to have a chance to expand our orchard without the expense of buying trees at a nursery in town!
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My husband dug out a bunch of small plum trees and brought them home. He initially thought he just dug out three trees when in reality it was three clumps full of saplings. Once we went out to our orchard to plant the plum trees, we realized we actually had five plum trees. I mentioned in our homestead goals that we hoped to plant a plum tree. We never imagined we’d be adding five new plum trees to our orchard!
The dirt on planting plum trees
Figuring out where to plant our new plum trees was easy. Our orchard sits on the north side of our house and has plenty of room to spread out further north on our property. One of the keys to planting plum trees is having access to full sun. Our orchard doesn’t have any obstructions blocking the sun shining in from the south.
A previous owner of our property started the small orchard years ago. Each tree is spaced equidistant from the other in a perfectly straight line running from north to south. We continued on with this pattern and measurements and planted our plum trees in line with the pear, apple and apricot trees. Each tree is about fifteen feet apart.
Luckily the soil is soft and easy to dig this time of year. My husband quickly dug five holes about a foot deep and a foot and a half in diameter. Because our trees were dug from the ground and not from a nursery, they didn’t have the same type of big root ball. We made sure each hole was large enough to allow the roots to spread out and not be cramped. We watered the hole and back-filled with the dirt we dug out.
Little A was pretty excited we extended her bedtime so she could come outside and join us in planting plum trees!
Our plum tree saplings were planted erect but after watering they started to lean a bit. We also get gusty winds that blow across the valley which will likely cause our saplings to lean. To ensure our plum trees grow straight and tall, my husband started staking them. We used a sturdy piece of scrap wood about 3″x1″. My husband hammered it into the soft ground and used a zip tie to secure the tree to the wood stake. Nothing super fancy but it did the trick and cost us nothing!
Now we just have to keep watering them and watch them grow. Some of the plum trees are a bit bigger than the others so we figure we just might get a few plums off of some of the trees this summer.
Planting plum trees was the first new edition to our orchard. We’re still hoping to add another apple tree and maybe even a cherry tree this spring. I can just envision our orchard a few years from now when the trees have had more time to grow. Not only will they provide fruit for us to preserve and eat all year long, they’ll provide shade and spring flowers that our honeybees will love!
Do you have any tips to share on growing plums? Any favorite plum recipes to share?