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nafex - Re: [NAFEX] Need Help Choosing Beach Plums

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  • From: "Lon J. Rombough" <>
  • To: North American Fruit Explorers <>
  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Need Help Choosing Beach Plums
  • Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2003 14:04:24 -0700

Title: Re: [NAFEX] Need Help Choosing Beach Plums
There is a person in NAFEX who has explored beach plums, but he doesn't have e-mail and I would have to ask if he would want his name given out.  He sent me fruit of a lot of selections of beach plums one time and while there wasn't a lot of variation in size, the acidity generally was lower in the yellow types.  One very interesting feature is that they seem to resist plum curculio.  Apparently they can form sap around the egg when it is laid in the fruit, sealing it off.
Beach plums are graft compatible on regular plum rootstocks, and they make a better looking bush on such stocks (such as St. Julian).  I have one such that is over 10 years old and isn't more than 5 feet tall.  They are the latest of all plums to bloom, so you have to have more than one variety of them as nothing else is around in time to pollinate them.
   After observing my own planting of chokeberries and a trial conducted at the local experiment station, there isn't a lot of variation in varieties, though Nero seems to be about the heaviest bearing.  Sugar is quite high, up to to 24 degrees Brix or higher.  They can be eaten fresh, but it leaves your mouth feeling rather dry.  Better to make juice and blend it.  The Russians are said to make a very good red wine from chokeberry and apple combined.
   Oikos is a good place to get many of these.  Another is Hidden Springs Nursery in Cookeville, TN,
-Lon Rombough
Grapes, writing, consulting, my book, The Grape Grower, at
Winner of the Garden Writers Association "Best Talent in Writing" award for 2003

From: "Carlton/Rita Smith" <>
Reply-To: North American Fruit Explorers <>
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2003 13:35:28 -0700
To: <>
Subject: [NAFEX] Need Help Choosing Beach Plums

Been lurking on this list for months and months now. Decided to come out of hiding because I though people on this list would be able to give me first hand advice on Beach Plum (Prunus maritima) and even on Black Chokeberry variety 'Nero'.

Endless garden projects around here but right now I am working on creating two garden beds  terraced onto an area of my hillside very near my patio. I have the bottom section done and am going to create another level area above that. In these areas I intend to plant Black Chokeberry 'Nero' on the lower level (anyone growing the supposed larger fruiting 'Nero'?). In the Upper level I want to put some Beach Plums.

We have Beach Plums growing wild in many areas on the Eastern End of Long Island. They must be tough plants because the area is commonly known as Pine Barrens with very sandy soil. Then I did see some Species Beach Plum shrubs in bloom for sale at a local nursery this Spring. I was not looking to buy then as I had not decided if I wanted to go for them or where exactly in the landscape they would go. But I liked the plant well enough to keep thinking of it. Problem is that it was rather lanky and twiggy with the blooms kinda clustered in spots along the branches, then nothing but bare spots. There were still some shrubs available later in the nursery after they had leafed out and they looked kinda sparse. That's when I decided that I should get smaller plants so that I could prune them more easily if they were not shaped to my liking.

I am going to order from Oikos Tree Corps. I bought lots of things from them this Spring including Northern Juneberries (A. gaspensis) which I am very pleased with as they are growing well. I  don't want the Species and am looking at the Selected Strain which they have in purple, red and yellow fruit. Also the dwarf Nana sounds good.

I am not going to be making jelly, I was hoping that the fruit will taste good eaten fresh. I like my plums alittle sour anyway as I find that if I buy plums from the store, I eat them before they are too ripe as I like the tartness and find the fully ripe fruit too sweet.

The area receives plenty of sun. I live on Long Island, NY in a zone 6/7 depending on our winters but we do get hot,  humid Summers.

I was wondering if anyone has experience with the strains of beach plums available from Oikos. I am not sure which of the three colors of plums would be better. If I don't learn anything about them, then I guess I just should take the Shotgun approach and get some of each!

Another thing, the tag on the one in the nursery said its fruit attracts birds. Also in another catalog that was offering peach plums it stated that they attract birds. I would not be surprised if Raccoons and Possums ate these but am having trouble imagining birds eating plums. Don't the fruits have to be smaller than a half inch for birds to eat them? Do birds, indeed, eat the fruit of beach plums?

I hope some of you have some good advice for me, advice on Beach Plums in general would be usefull too,  and thank you in advance for any help in choosing my beach plums.

If any of you read the Gardenweb Forums I am newyorkrita.

Rita Rerat Smith
North Shore of Nassau County, Zone 6/7
Long Island, NY (just a block from Long Island Sound)

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