An easy way to get bigger, better plum fruit

Last Updated: 
February 19, 2003

CORVALLIS - Are you tired of all those tiny, ripe plums dropping onto your car, your lawn or your patio each summer?

There is a simple solution, according to Anita Azarenko, Oregon State University research pomologist. Get rid of most of the plums now, in June, before they ripen. The result will be fewer, larger, more delectable plums later in the summer.

Rather than painstakingly removing each unwanted plum by hand, Azarenko recommends hitting the limbs of each plum tree with something long and flexible. A four-foot length of flexible half-inch PVC pipe or a broom handle with a foot or two of garden hose on the end is the perfect tool.

Hit the limbs lightly. Then increase in severity until the plums rain down, but the branches stay undamaged.

The unripe plums should fall easily. The average final spacing between the fruits should be about three to four inches. About three-fourths of the plums should be removed for best results.

If you take the majority of the young plums off, the rest should get big and ripen more uniformly, she said.

Author: Carol Savonen
Source: Anita Azarenko