Growing Plums and Cultivation Practices:
GROWING PLUMS – INTRODUCTION:
The plums are of the Prunus species and the plums are obtained from the deciduous fruit crop. These plums belong to the family of Rosaceae. The species of the plum exist in the temperate climate zone all over the globe. The ideal species of plums play a central role as a fresh fruit for the local and regional marketing systems. These plums are closely related to the peaches and cherries.
The plums originated in East European and Caucasian mountains. The plum is the only fruit which is first domesticated by humans. The plums belong to the family of the stone fruits. These are consumed fresh all over the world. It is important to know that the plums were cultivated since late 470 B.C in china. The European plums were discovered 2,000 years ago. There were 300 varieties of European plums. In those days the plums were only cultivated in winter seasons. Now-a-days the plums are cultivated in all seasons all over the world.
GROWING PLUMS – CHARACTERISTICS OF PLUMS:
- As the plum is a drupe fruit and has 2000 species in the Prunus genus.
- The Plum varieties come in large sizes and colors like white, yellow, green and red flesh.
- The Matured Plum fruit has a dusty-white coat that gives a Glaucous appearance.
- The Plum fruit contains many bio-active components such as anthocyanins, carotenoids, minerals, phenolic acids and pectins.
- Plum is an Indian Medicine as it is also used as a natural drug for the leucorrhoea, irregular menstrual cycle and miscarriage.
- Plum helps in improving nutrient values.
GROWING PLUMS – PROPERTIES OF PLUM PLANTS:
- It is an evergreen tree that can reach up to a height of 10 m. It has a straight trunk, dark brown color bark.
- It has toothed leaves of 8 cm length; the back is covered with hair and smooth shaft, which are attached to the branches and with sticky stems.
- The flowers are white in color.
- The plum fruit is round in shape, and the diameter of plum is 3-4 cm.
- The color of the plum fruit changes from yellow to blue-black on ripening. The fruit interior has a flat and rough bone.
- The life span of a plum tree is 15 to 20 years.
- The yield of a plum plant is 25 – 30 kg per tree in a year.
GROWING PLUMS – CULTIVARS OF THE PLUMS:
- This variety is a Japanese variety.
- Its fruit is big in size and aromatic.
- The skin of the fruit is red in color when it matures.
- The juicy flesh is yellow-orange in color.
- This variety of fruit appears in South African markets in the month of February and April.
- The yield of this variety is 20-25 kg per tree.
- This variety is also a Japanese variety.
- It is round in shape, it has thick calibre, it can be considered as an early variety.
- The skin of the plum in this variety is red to dark red, which depends on the maturity level.
- It has good flavor, hard texture and yellow flesh.
- The fruit matures and is marketed from the end of May till the beginning of June.
- It is also Japanese variety. The Golden Japan is also cultivated in the U.S.A, France, Italy, Spain and South Africa.
- The skin is thick, clear yellow color and resistant bright fruit.
- The fruit is very juicy, and has pleasant pulp.
- It is resistant to transportation also.
- The fruit has great fertility.
- The cultivation is done from January to May and again June to August. In Spain cultivation takes place in the middle of June.
- It is a Japanese variety.
- It is black in color, big in size, round in shape and a bit flat end.
- It has firm flesh, has good taste.
- It is cultivated in U.S.A also.
- The maturity period of this variety in the warm zones is in the end of June.
- It is a Japanese variety.
- It is big in size, round in shape and deep red in colour of the skin.
- The flesh is in yellow colour, very juicy, sweet and fragranced. It also reminds us the flavor of strawberry.
- It is from U.S.A but mostly cultivated in France, Spain, Italy and South Africa.
- It is available in the markets from the month of December to February in South Africa.
- In other cultivating countries, it is available in the months of June till November.
- The harvesting in Spain is in the middle of July.
Reina Claudia Verde:
- The Reina Claudia Verde variety of plum belongs to Europe.
- The plum is medium size, round in shape, green in color.
- The plums are thin, have juicy pulp and good flavor. The stone in the seed gets separated easily.
- It is produced in the Belgium, France, England and Spain.
- It is Available in markets in August to September.
- In Spain, warm areas the harvesting takes place in July till August.
- It is a Japanese variety.
- This variety comes with greater size of fruits, they are dark red in color and they get even dark after ripening.
- It has a sweet flavor and has yellow flesh.
- It doesn’t give good production, but gives very good fruit conservation.
- The maturity of the fruit and availability of fruit is in the middle and the end of September.
Reina Claudia de Oullins:
- It is a European variety.
- It is golden pale green, the plum is very juicy and the flesh is pale.
- It doesn’t have a very sweet flavor; the stone doesn’t come off very easily.
- It is one of the most popularly spread varieties.
- The maturity time of the fruit is in the 2nd fortnight of July and it is available in the market in August.
- It is an Indian variety of plum. It is not a self cultivator it needs Kala Amiritsari as a pollinizer.
- These are larger in size, crimson in color with a thick flesh.
- The yield of this is 35-40 kg per tree.
- The maturity stage is the second week of May.
- It has been cultivated in India.
- The plums are medium in size; the skin is thin and deep purple in color.
- These intercrop with the Alucha Black variety.
- The flesh color is yellow, so it is good in preparation of jam.
- The yield of this variety is 25-30 kg per tree.
- The fruit ripening stage is during the 2nd week of the May.
- It is also cultivated in India.
- They are small in size, dark purple in color and have thin skin.
- The yield of this crop is unpredictable.
GROWING PLUMS – SOIL AND CLIMATE REQUIREMENTS:
The soil requirement for the cultivation is drained sandy loam to medium loam soil. The plums perform better when the soil contains high pH value 5.5 – 6.5. Plum cuttings prefer heavy soil with the rootstock. The land must have clear pan and should not have water logging as well as extreme salts. The plums are also grown in sloppy hills. The plums can be grown in subtropical regions to high temperate hills from 1000 – 1600 ms. The normal temperature for plums is 20 – 30˚C. The rainfall required for the plums is 200 – 300 mm. It requires less chilling temperature below 7.2˚C.
GROWING PLUMS – LAND PREPARATION AND PLANTING:
On half moon terraces pits of 6 m should be dug. The size of the pits must be (0.60 x 0.60 x 0.60 m) and the upper part pit is covered with 30 cm of soil. The pits should be applied 15 – 20 kg of farmyard manure, 100 g of Urea and 100 g of Muriate of potash, 300 g of Single Super Phosphate and also chloropyriphos dust or granules.
The plum plants of nursery shed their leaves in January. The lowermost branches should be removed while planting the plants into the pits. The side branches 3-4 should be left and all the shoots are clipped so that they can be initiated for the secondary branching. All the roots should be placed in small pits and covered with the soil over the roots. Gently press the soil around the newly planted plants. The first irrigation should be given to the plants so that the soil gets settled. Light irrigation should be given until the rainy season.
The plums are planted as fillers; the distance of planting should be according to the fruit crop. For a plum plant the ideal spacing is 15 cm x 30 cm. If the pure plum orchard is planted then the spacing should be 6 m x 6 m is enough. In a square system 256 plants can be accommodated. In a hexagonal system 305 plants can be planted per hectare.
GROWING PLUMS – PROPAGATION METHOD:
- Through cutting:
The cuttings are taken from the plants so that it can be reused. The end roots are dipped in 100 ppm of IBA (Indole – 3 – Butyric Acid). The thickness of the cutting should not be more than 18 to 20 cm. The rooted cutting gets ready for the planting in the next winter. By doing this the success rate is between 70-80%.
- Through seed:
The stone of plum fruits is extracted in the month of May. These are cleaned and the pulp is removed and stored in a room in the gunny bags in a shade. The seeds are sown in the nursery shed during November. The seeds should be covered with soil up to 4-5 thick layers of soil.
The seedlings emerging from the stone can be gently collected and can be sown at a distance of 30 cm. Through flooding light irrigation should be given. The seedling gets ready within a year, then they can be transplanted to the fields.
- Rising of rootstocks:
The plum seedlings are used as then can tolerate the water logging, it can tolerate cold hardiness, and it can also tolerate soil calcareous conditions. As some varieties of plum are not capable of self- fruitful so the inter-seeding or rootstocks can be done.
Pollination method helps that variety which is self – unfruitful. The pollination process is implemented such that every third row, third plant should be a pollinizer variety.
For multiplication of true type planting material, tongue grafting is a very good method. Plum seedling which is one year old is used as rootstock. The season of the grafting is winter (December – January).
GROWING PLUMS – MANURE AND FERTILIZATION METHOD:
The dosage of manure and fertilizer should be as per the age.
|Age (years)||Farm Yard Manure (kg)|| Urea|
|Superphosphate (16% P2 O5)|| Muriate of Potash |
( 60% K2O)
|7 and Above||40||300||400||200|
The farm yard manure, super phosphate and muriate of potash can be applied for the crop in December. The Urea should be split into two halves. The Urea first half should be applied in the month of February and the second half should be applied in the month of June. The plums should be sprayed with the solutions of Zinc Sulphate plus ferrous sulphate. During March the solution is sprayed in the ratio of 11/2 kg zinc Sulphate plus 11/2 kg Ferrous Sulphate plus 11/2 kg un-slaked lime in 500 litres of water.
GROWING PLUMS – IRRIGATION METHODS:
The plum roots are irregularly rooted so the plant requires moisture in the soil till the developing period. The irrigation timing can be relayed on numerous aspects like soil variety, weather as well as type of major fruit trees. Regular irrigation on a weekly time-period can be utilized in April, May and June. In the complete blossom phase the irrigation is provided and to prevent the flowering the irrigation is supplied in ripening phase. The irrigation is not required during rainy seasons. The time period is raised to 20 days in September, October and November. Throughout the months of December and January the irrigation is not required.
GROWING PLUMS – FLOWERING AND FRUITING OF PLUM PLANTS:
Usually the flowering in the plum cultivars takes place in the second half month of February.
For example: As Kala Amritsar is a heavy bearer, but the Alubokhara is shy bearer.
For fruit growth plums follows the double sigmoid curve. The immature fruits are very acidic. As the fruit gets matured the acidic level decreases and TSS increases. And the skin color of the fruit gradually changes when the cultivar starts developing.
GROWING PLUMS – INTERCULTURAL METHODS:
Intercropping: There is a little space in the plum planted filters for growing of crops. The intercrops can be grown only for 1-2 years. The intercrops are peas, gram, moong or vegetables. While growing all these we should maintain caution. The water for the intercrops should be favourable for the growth of plum and fruiting.
Pruning: The plum trees are pruned in such a way to make the annual extension growth of plants by 25–30 cm in each year. Bearing plum trees require pruning for removal of upright branches in the center for better light.
GROWING PLUMS – WEED CONTROL METHODS FOR PLUMS:
Removal of weeds is done by hoeing. The weeds are controlled by spraying the Glyphosate @ 10 ml per liter of water. This is particularly required in the rainy season.
GROWING PLUMS – PEST AND DISEASES CONTROL MEASURES:
Peach aphid: it can be controlled by spraying Dimethoate @ 1.5 ml per litre of water after 7 – 10 days of flowering in the plum trees.
Stem borer: It can be controlled by soaking cotton in Petrol or Kerosene and inserting it in the pits of the plants which are dug for planting.
Bacterial gummosis: The wounds should be cleaned by the application of Mashobra paste by mixing 225 g of Lanolin, 425 g of steric acid, 150 g of Morpholin and 25 g of Streptocyclinein and 55 litres of water.
Leaf curl virus: In bud swell stage the plant should be sprayed with DithaneZ-78 or Capton @ 200g per 100 litre of water which can reduce the disease intensity.
GROWING PLUMS – THINNING OF FRUITS:
After a natural fruit drop in April, the plum must be thinned immediately. From the top of the shoot to bottom, hard thinning is usually done. There should not be two fruits in a same point, the fruits should be 5-6 cm away from each other. Each and every fruit should have 15-20 leaves.
GROWING PLUMS – HARVESTING TECHNIQUES OF PLUMS:
The maturity of plum fruit depends upon the cultivars of the plum. After the maturity of the plum fruit the cleaning, selecting and packing are done. Plums which are harvested should be cleaned. The fertilizers are sprayed for the best growth. The plums with same size should be picked or selected for packing. After the Harvesting of plums we need to pack them properly and store them at the proper temperature as they are chilling sensitive.
GROWING PLUMS – YIELD:
The yield of plums per tree is 30-50 kg of fruits in the month of May-June.