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Why won't my plum tree set fruit?

I purchased a Plum Beauty tree several years ago. It has grown well, looks healthy enough and is covered in blossom early every year but never sets fruit. The label said it was self fertile. Was the label wrong or might there be some other problem? I live on the outskirts of Glasgow and wondered if the colder climate might have something to do with it. Any advice or suggestions most welcome.


  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,549

    I have problems with getting plums to set too. I live further south than you but at higher altitude and the problems are the same. Cold days, so few insects willing to go out and pollinate the flowers. Sometimes a frost at night, which perishes the vital bits of the flower and fruitlets even if they were pollinated. And, although they are supposedly self fertile, another tree of a different variety nearby helps enormously.

    Don't despair. You will get a crop one year when all the factors that are normally against you come to work in your favour.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • Micro-kidMicro-kid Posts: 8
    Thanks pansyface. Glad to know I'm not alone ???? I thought about buying a second tree. Perhaps I'll persevere and give that a try.
  • pansyfacepansyface Posts: 21,549

    If you get another tree make sure that they flower at the same time. Beautiful blossom - I almost don't mind not having the fruit.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
    If you live in Derbyshire, as I do.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,821

    It may be flowering before the pollinator insects are out and about or else there is nothing else around to entice them to visit your plum.  Do you have other early flowering plants which will attract bees and hover flies which are the usual pollinating insects into your garden from early on?   If not, think about planting snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and any other plants that will flower before and at the same time as your plum to make sure the insects keep coming back and visit your plum tree..

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,267

    I'm no expert but it could be the colder climate. If the blossom is hit by frost and dies there won't be any fruit although the tree will go on to produce leaves and look quite lush.

    Which root stock is your plum tree on. Dwarf root stock would not produce a large tree so can be covered with fleece if there's s threat of frost. The bigger the tree the harder it would be to provide protection.





  • Micro-kidMicro-kid Posts: 8
    Thanks all. I believe it's on a medium root stock. The blossom looks quite healthy (or did until the cold snap over the last two weeks). Attracting pollinating insects could well be a problem. There are plenty of bees etc around other parts of my garden but now you mention it I don't recall seeing them around the plum tree at any time. I'll try to draw them in next year as you suggest by planting some other bulbs and early flowering perennials.
  • LoganLogan Posts: 2,532
    Bees do like hellebores
  • LoganLogan Posts: 2,532
    Micro-kid was the blossom healhy did you look at it ? It could be blossom rot if the bees are not interested in them
  • LeifUKLeifUK Posts: 573

    I have two plums, planted two years ago, as two year olds. One is setting fruit, the other has none. They are Avalon and Opal, about four metres apart. Avalon is partly self fertile. Maybe it is lack of pollinators. 

  • OldfoolOldfool Posts: 9

    We are near York and have a Victoria which is gloriously fickle. This is partly due to weather at blossom time, but other factors come into play. The RHS advice team suggested the tree may take "rest years". I think pruning time and extent may have a bearing, but I can't find any info on this.

    the final challenge is to keep the plum moth off them and then get to them before the wasps! Hey ho.

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