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Greengage (probably) Rotting on Branches?

I've recently moved house and come into posession of my first ever garden. I'm very excited!  The previous owners told me there was a plum tree so I'd been waiting to see whether it fruits this year... and it did. However, most of the plums have been rotting on the branches before I've got to them, and the flies and wasps are at them now.

Anyone know if this is a problem, and if so how to fix it?  Admittedly I was waiting for them to turn a different plum-y colour before picking, but if they're greengages then maybe I just left it too late?

I'm a complete beginner, but haven't managed to find much about this through googling - everywhere tells you about harvesting plums, but not what happens afterwards if you leave them on the tree!  Feel free to tell me 'this is just what plums do, silly' if that's the case. 

Hope someone has some ideas.  Thanks!



  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,227
    Wasps attack plums when they are ripe. If you can take a clean one off and taste it, you might get an idea if it is ready or not.   Having made a hole in them, it rains, they get wet and rot. A lot of mine have rotted this year. The best ones are those on lower branches that I thinned out quite a bit so that individual plums don't touch each other. That way if one is damaged, the whole clump is not lost.
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 22,275
    edited August 2019
    Same here, fidget. Lots of rotting plums this year. Lots are cracked because of the wet weather, some are pecked, some are wind damaged by having been knocked against branches and twigs.

    Plums come in lots of shapes, sizes and colours. As fidget says, the best thing to do is to try one. If it feels soft and squishy, that’s good. If it comes off the tree without so much as a tug, even better.

    Next year, be cruel to be kind. Thin them out so that if one begins to rot it doesn’t infect others that are touching it.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • Thank you both for the advice - I'll try thinning them out early next year.

    Tried some and they taste pretty nice, so I think they're greengages and therefore ready when still green.  I'll have to be more on the ball next time :)
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