[NAFEX] Victoria plum in southeastern NY, Zone 6

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Fri Jun 5 09:04:43 EDT 2009


As I mentioned here earlier, Euro plum set was paltry this year in spite
good bloom and active pollinators.  I suspect the problem was cool weather
immediately following bloom and welcome any comments on that theory.

Yesterday I was at a young orchard with about 70 varieties of apples, pears,
peaches, plums, apricots, cherries, chestnuts, black walnuts and cold hardy
pecans.  It's a fun site to manage because it is in a classic orchard site,
near the top of a sloping hill with full sun and excellent air drainage.
Soil drainage is imperfect, however, because of a sand sub-soil topped with
a silt loam.

The most interesting thing going on with the European plums was the heavy
set on a single variety out of 7 including Mt. Royal, a real sponge for
black-knot- worst I've seen on a Euro.  Fruit is also not worth having if
you can grow less hardy varieties, Damson,  which had a light set when they
usually set like grapes, Long John,  which has never set well anywhere I've
planted it,  Valor, Castleton, which had adequate set, Miller Green Gage (BS
tree courtesy of the pride of Candiduiga) and Victoria.

The owner of the property was raised in England and fell in love with the
Victoria plum as a boy when I guess its lack of richness didn't bother him.
It is an unbelievably beautiful plum and pretty good- at least it's sweet
with a pleasing texture, but what amazes me is that it is the only European
variety I have actually had to thin this year.  They're very prone to brown
rot so I don't want any touching fruit and there was a lot of that on all 4
trees on the property.

These trees were growing right next to the failing varieties.  As far as I
know this is not a variety commonly grown in this country although Raintree
carries it.  This is the 3rd consecutive year  it has born heavy crops after
being planted as a bare-root 1 year tree 7 years ago, so I'm thinking maybe
it should be more widely grown.
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