strange 'plums'

Hi, I'm new to the forum and am hoping someone can help. I've inherited a neglected plum 'tree' that was originally fanned against a wall I think, but has overgrown. Last year, some branches had some plums on them but the main branch had dozens of little hard round 'plums'- except they weren't plums. I'm wondering what they are and what to do this year to prevent them growing and encourage the others. Ihope this makes sense and thanks in anticipation!



  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,088

    Has a plum been grafted onto a wild species that has now taken over? Or do the branches that produced the odd ones look any different, diseased or different leaves or manner of growth

  • LeggiLeggi Posts: 489
    Sounds like it could be grafted on to a crab apple, it could be that it has reverted to crab apples or that it was intentional to aid pollination. Not an overly massive problem if you have quite a few other fruit trees, many orchards grow crab apples amongst the apple trees to get the bees in and keep them busy.
  • Elaine WElaine W Posts: 10

    Thanks for these replies. The odd looking 'plums' (and they are plum in colour and appearance except they are round hard balls, almost like very large marbles), are off the main central stem but the normal plums are on thinner lower stems. All the branches/stems look the same except the central one's much bigger in diameter. There are no other fruit trees in the garden except for a quince at the other end- about 80ft away.They don't look anything like a quince.  Don't know if that clarifies it at all...

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,199

    One thing I can tell you, Plums cannot be grafyed on to Crab apples. they are different , Prunus for Plum and Malus for Apple. they are both Rosaceae but not compatible for grafting.

    Does sound like the tree has reverted to wild plum which is what the original tree would have been grafted on to.

    The only other thing is a condition called' pocket plum' But in this the faulty plum is mishapen rather than small.

  • nodlisabnodlisab Posts: 395

    When I saw the subject was going to suggest you went on Embarrasing Bodiesimage

  • Elaine WElaine W Posts: 10

    Ha Ha .   Thanks for the replies again!

    Perhaps it has reverted to wild plum, as you say Berghill, as they aren't mishapen at all. I'm not sure what to do with it now. Do you think I should attempt to dig it out (it's prbably been there for many years) ? 

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 3,199

    Personally I would wait and see if the other branches produced normal fruit before I did anything. Indeed the small fruit may only be a reaction to the poor weather last year.



  • You could wait to see if the samae thing happens again this year. If it does, you could remove the branches carrying the bullets. Only ever prune a plum tree in July as it can develop silver leaf which ultimately kills the tree. It is possible that with the aawful weather last year it is a case of incomplete fertilization, if the weather is better this year you should have a full crop of proper plums.

  • Elaine WElaine W Posts: 10

    Thanks for your reply Joyce- and others. Its hard to explain but if you imagine a fan- the lower branches that fan out from the thick central branch/trunk had ok plums on and the top shorter branches that all tufted out from the top of the main trunk had the mystery ones on. I guess I can just cut those off this year as they start to grow.The trouble is, I don't really know how to deal with plums that have been trained in thisway....I need to look it up.....

  • Bunny ...Bunny ... Posts: 3,455
    Can you post a picture Elaine ?
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