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3 Posts
August 18, 2020 - 10:29 am

Hi, I've got a plum tree planted by my grandfather that fell down a week or so ago.  I'd like to get a start off of it so we can keep that tree in our family.  My brother and I picked ripe plums off of it and are going to try to grow them, but I've heard that you can possibly help us get a start off of it as well.  Can someone help me?  My brother and I would really like to each have a plum tree from this old tree.  Thank you!

Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
August 18, 2020 - 1:09 pm

Well Lauriie, the key is going to be if it's been sunny or if it rained lots where you are, for example the thunderstorms around Sanfrancisco. The other trouble is finding a different plum tree where ever you live in good shape to graft buds onto of which buds will be coming from the tree that is hopefully either not been through alot at this point.

3 Posts
August 18, 2020 - 2:24 pm

Rooney, the tree is located near Kalama, WA and it's been sunny.  The tree top is still green and leafy and the plums are continuing to ripen.  However, the tree was cut into three pieces this last weekend and moved to a pile.  I live in Richland, WA but my brother lives near Kalama and can do whatever needs to be done.  But we don't have another plum tree to graft buds onto.  Could we buy rootstock somehow to graft onto?

Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
August 18, 2020 - 3:13 pm

Then on one of the cut branches strip all the leaves and fruit off and place into shade then start hunting around for a temporary tree to graft to. Preferably a young one. Possibly they have those plum rootstocks in pots in the HOS gardens for sale but they should be in potted dirt and not under stress. Elsewhere there may be ornamental flowering plums (aka street trees) on the border or sidewalks of one of your friends you could possibly use, but it should be well rooted and young enough to not have to do gorilla grafting. 

If and when you locate such a tree to graft to then you would need to remove a tip from a branch with leaf budd on it and preferably graft the same day. Stay in touch with your brother and us and we can go further and don't lose hope yet.

3 Posts
August 19, 2020 - 4:39 pm

Thank you!  I have passed the info on to my brother since he is closer to you.  We will look around for some kind of young plum tree to graft it to.  We don't know the first thing about grafting.  🙂  But we aren't giving up hope.  🙂  Thanks!

Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
August 19, 2020 - 5:06 pm

Laurie said
...we don't know the first thing about grafting.  🙂  But we aren't giving up hope. 

So you two are starters. So then (digging deeper with questions) in the beginning was the tree grown from a plum seed? or was a grafted and a named cultivar?

If you don't know then when you see new shoots forming from where the tree was you won't know if they will bear the very same kinds of true to type plums when they bear again.

1400 Posts
August 19, 2020 - 8:53 pm

...another suggestion.  Are they purple with orange meat European Prunes, or thin skinned, soft meated Asian Plums?  European prunes look alike; Asian plums very from green, yellow or red.

If you can determine which, I’d find a nursery with potted trees of either Euro or Asian, whichever you think it is.  May as well purchase a couple, one for each of you.  

Collect the wood as described above, keep it cool with the ends moist.  You’ll be Bud grafting from sticks of it.  “Budding” is relatively easy, and this is a good time to do it.  Watch enough YouTube videos to understand it.  

With a couple trees, you can place as many buds as you’d like on various branches and trunks.  There will be varying suggestions of wrapping material, use what you can find.  Once done, allow the trees to go into dormancy this Fall, plant them if you’d like.  

Check in here for aftercare, such as when and where to eventually lop off material above a viable grafted bud.  Also, any part of the purchased tree you leave will likely work as a pollinator for your variety, so you don't have to bud or remove every limb. 

Nursery trees can look pretty ratty around now, but a junky looking tree will still work, just be sure it has leaves and has been cared for.  Cheap is fine, you’d be using it as a rootstock.  

Sooner is better ~

John S
2593 Posts
August 21, 2020 - 5:14 pm

Some part of your tree may be still living. If you can buy a plum tree cheaply (often this time of year) you could each graft a section of that tree to your tree.

John S

NE Portland, OR Cully Neighborhood
212 Posts
August 22, 2020 - 8:59 am

When trying your hand at grafting, tag the areas where the attempts are placed so as not to loose them inadvertently when comes time for pruning. Situating near or on the main stem to have that plum become the foundational framework/scaffold members.

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