Wednesday 21 August 2019

Stone Fruit - What should I plant?

Although I look at each year and see where I can improve it's great to see things at certain points and think "there's something to add to my list!"

This year it's been like that with the stone fruit. We've just not had enough and I need to plant more!

I've seen lots of people sharing pictures of their cherries, plums and gages and I just think we need to plant more.

I did pull out one tree where the poly tunnel has gone, a Czar plum. So that's put us one down and that leaves us with just a few. I have three small cherry trees which seem to be there only to feed the birds, alongside these is another 5 root stocks. I should be proactive this week and cut them back hard and do some "budding" to give them a variety now they have some good roots. Otherwise they're just going to grow leaves for me next year again!

Wasps eating my gages! 
I only have one gage and one plum that are producing at the moment. the gage is called "Early Transparent"  and has been a reliable cropper so far. They are, however, difficult to tell if they're ripe or not as they seem to change colour in stages and although they can look ripe one side, the other can be quite green. This makes picking them difficult and the wasps are having a field day!

Early Transparent gage - not easy to see when it's ready! 
 The plum is a favourite the country over - Victoria! And it's a favourite with good reason. I'm still yet to taste another that tastes as good as one of these fresh off the tree. Sheer sweet goodness!

Victoria plum - easily the bets I've ever tasted! 
I also have one I planted from a stone, I thought it was from a yellow egg cooker and I had read somewhere that they will grow true from a stone (one of the only ones), but that doesn't seem true. What has grow looks very wild and very much a more like wild relative. Still an interesting experiment and I can always graft it over in a few years time if the fruit turns out to be no good.

I have another wild tree in the orchard where the scion part of the graft died on a tree I purchased and the root stock kept going. This is another one that I need to take action with and graft over, otherwise it'll be another wasted year of no fruit. I think for this one I might just put Victoria on top of it and have a second one!

A tree I planted from a stone - not sure what these will be like.
I also have some damson trees (three I think). If anyone wants a fast growing tree these are the ones to go for, they shoot ahead of the others! I don't have much fruit on them this year though. Maybe enough for a crumble but certainly not enough for jam. The one has a very bent top from how laden with fruit it has been in the past. The trees are only six years old!

A few damsons - not enough for jam this year. 
So my plan for the Autumn and Winter is to purchase some more stone fruit trees. I'm thinking a few more plums, to spread the season, some more cherries to hopefully grow so many the birds leave us some, and maybe another gage, but a different sort to the one I have.

I'm even tempted to put in a small hedge of cherry plums (myrobalan) somewhere, I have a couple in the coppice but they are yet to fruit for me! Does anyone grow these and think they're worth it?

What would you recommend I grow?

I'd love to hear your favourite stone fruit types! Especially the plums, would love a long season of them!


  1. My favorite cherries are Northstar and Balaton. They are pie cherries, but almost sweet enough to eat without sugar. Full of flavor! They are both Morello types, so the juice and flesh are dark.

    I discovered 'flash tape' this year. It is about 2 inches wide, and made of shiny mylar plastic. Put into the cherry trees on a leader of twine, it looks like snakes flying toward the cherry trees when the breeze blows. It kept the birds completely out of my cherry trees this year! It is cheap, and seems very effective. The leader is important so the tape looks like a flying snake to the birds.

  2. I love that idea for the snake in the tree! I might have to give that a go. I also heard that to protect strawberries that you can paint rocks red and eventually they'll get bored of trying to eat them by the time the real fruit comes along. I'll have to see if I can get those cherry types here.

  3. The damsons look like the German Zwetschge which I think are akin to the Italian plum. Maybe you could try planting them and see what comes up?

    How do feel about apricots?

    1. I have an Apricot in but it's young yet so not had any fruit. Do you know one that will fruit in colder climates?
      The damsons are either Langly Bullace, Merryweather or king of the damsons. I remember someone having one that was a Damzine - a kind of cross. I fancy finding one of those again.

    2. Coming from a semi-arid climate where I've citrus flourishing year-round out in the backyard, I can't say I would know what apricot would fruit in colder climates, unfortunately.

    3. Ah, yes I think our climates might be quite different! no way could I consider citrus outside here!

  4. Haven't got a Mirabella cherry plum but they do have a good crop whenever I've seen them.

    1. Yes, I think it's one to add to the list of things to get. I've just ordered soem more plums from the agroforestry research centre so should be some fun things in there.

  5. My Dad did that all the time. He like watching the robins and orioles 'bending their beaks' on the rocks. I also put lath 'rails' above my strawberries supported on footing stakes driven into the ground - then tied the 'snake' flash tape to the rails. It also TOTALLY kept the birds out of my strawberries this year. The stuff works if you have a little breeze.

    1. Sounds good. I can get the kids painting rocks as a craft activity as a bonus as well!


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