Cherries, plums and gages

by Pippa Greenwood

Our plum and gage trees are laden with fruit - so much so that the heavy crops are bending branches.

Plums in handIt's been a great year for stone fruit crops, apparently, with commercial cherry growers reporting bumper harvests. We have a couple of cherry trees here, but I've yet to taste a ripe fruit from them – the birds always get there first. I know we should net the trees, but they're growing in such a difficult place it would be more trouble than it's worth.

Our plum and gage trees, however, are laden with fruit – so much so that the heavy crops are bending branches. Sadly, the quality of fruit is disappointing. Their flavour is poor due, I presume, to lack of sun (which they need to build up sugar content). They are also very watery. Interestingly, there has been almost no wasp damage on the fruit, proving that wasps are as fussy about their plums as I am!

We've also got a slight deer problem. While our trees are protected with anti-rabbit spirals, we have no protection against deer, which neatly nibble off any accessible branches. So I'm hard at work, suspending junk CDs from the tree branches. This tactic works well: light is bounched off the CDs during the day, warding off the deer. It even works on cloudless nights when the moon’s light is bright enough to be reflected.

But the sun's back out again in Hampshire, so I'm hoping my plums and gages are sweetening up nicely. I'm not alone in this though – I can sense the wasps lining up, ready to pounce. I have my work cut out getting a decent crop!

Discuss this blog post

Talkback: Cherries, plums and gages
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

Gardeners' World Web User 27/07/2011 at 14:37

My dual plum tree was laden with fruit but only the yellow ones. The purple part had blossom but it comes before the yellow and seems to have caught the frost. Still the yellow ones were delicious, more lie apricots really. My large purple plums have all been picked and are sweet and juicy and there is a good crop on the very old plum trees which get great bunches of smaller plums which are good for freezing for the winter. This week I am finishing (with ice-cream) the last box from last year. Bristol seems to suit stone fruits well as we have lots of wild cherries and plums around in the hedgerows. And they seem to be ready to eat before the wasps discover them. No trouble with deer or rabbits though. You will have to pick every morning early, Pippa, to get a decent crop.

Gardeners' World Web User 27/07/2011 at 15:07

Oh to have trees laden with fruit! A great year for raspberries, blueberries and strawberries but any ideas greatly received on why my apple tree isn't flowering or fruiting? Perhaps I should swap it for a plumb tree? I moved in 2 years ago and heavily pruned (probably too much) so no flowers in my first year. This year 2 sorry looking bunches of blossom appeared, but alas no fruit came of it. Any top tips?

Gardeners' World Web User 28/07/2011 at 19:30

I pruned my apple tree twice yearly for about 3 years, winter and summer, before it fruited. Hope that helps, Dan. All the best.

Gardeners' World Web User 29/07/2011 at 12:58

I'm always interested to see which CDs and DVDs get relegated to scarecrow duty. Self-help seem to be the most common on our allotments.

Gardeners' World Web User 29/07/2011 at 16:49

Grannyanne - that gives me hope. Thank you.

See more comments...