Often fan trees and
indeed all type of plum tree begin to form suckers.
These are shoots which arise from the roots below
the scion and they must be removed. Uncover the
roots around the stem and, taking care not to
damage the scion, cut away the suckers with a
sharp knife before covering the roots again and
At the same time, root pruning may be done. This
is the best way of restricting growth with plums,
for there will be no ‘bleeding’. It
is usually fan-shaped trees growing against a
wall that are root-pruned. Scrape away the soil
to a distance of 120-120cm (4-5ft) from the wall
to uncover the roots and cut them back to about
1m (3ft) of the stem. This will encourage more
fibrous roots to form. Scatter peat around the
roots before replacing the soil and tread firmly.
Then give the roots a good soaking.
The choice of rootstocks is not large. Bush and
fan trees are grown on either Common plum or Brompton
stock and standards on the Myrobolan stock. this
is mostly used for heavy-bearing orchard trees
such s Czar and Monarch. Owing to their ‘gumming’,
plums are budded, as with roses, and not grafted.
The varieties Czar, President and Marjorie’s
Seedling are incompatible with Common plum stock
and are budded on to Myrobolan stock.
For small gardens, the Brompton stock is best,
for the trees grow steadily but come quickly into
bearing and make few suckers. For Victoria, however,
the Common plum is used, owing to its resistance
to silver leaf disease.
Plums and gages of dwarf habit for a small garden
are Jefferson, Kirke’s Blue, Early Laxton,
Early Transparent and Greengage.
Plums enjoy best a heavy loam. They will grow
well in a limestone soil provided there is plenty
of humus present, but they require a moisture-retentive
soil and one which receives plenty of nitrogen,
preferably of an organic nature. In light soils,
work in plenty of farmyard or poultry manure,
shoddy or composted straw. At planting time, give
a handful of bone meal to each tree, mixed well
into the soil as it is placed over the roots.
The trees should also be given a liberal mulch
of organic manure in April each year, augmented
by 28g (1oz) of sulphate of ammonia. Czar and
Victoria are the most tolerant of adverse soil
conditions and crop heavily in all years, established
trees bearing 22-27kg (50-60lb).