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 santa rosa/satsuma plum differences 
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 am
Posts: 78
Location: Springfield, OH Zone 6a
Post santa rosa/satsuma plum differences
I recently bought 2 dwarf plum trees, one is definitely a santa rosa (the tag is still on it) and the other is either a satsuma OR another santa rosa. I can't really find anything on the web that shows how you can tell the difference between these two trees. I basically just need to know that my unknown tree is a satsuma so I can have healthy cross pollination, I want the highest yield possible. So far the only difference I've noticed is that the leaves on the santa rosa are a lighter green compared to the unknown plum tree. Does anyone know if that's a good indication that the other is a satsuma?


Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:50 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1155
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: santa rosa/satsuma plum differences
I doubt anyone can ID trees that closely related by leaves, bark or growth habits. If you’ve already determined there’s a slight difference in leaf color, that’s a good indicator they’re not both Santa Rosa’s. If they bloomed and set fruit – you’ll soon know.

I can relate to your anxious anticipation, those are two great Asian plums and Satsuma is my favorite early Asian. Those plumbs are easy to graft and it’s fun to buy a ‘base tree’ of one variety and graft on 2 or 3 limbs of another, leaving a base limb or two for pollination.

So, if you get fruit, you’ll know. If they’re the same … and you’re from around here - attend our grafting class/es next spring, gather wood from several other varieties (such as Shiro) at our “Scion Exchange” (Fruit Propagation Fair) - and put on whatever you want.

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Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:11 pm
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 am
Posts: 78
Location: Springfield, OH Zone 6a
Post Re: santa rosa/satsuma plum differences
It looks like I'll be waiting until next year to really find out. The unknown plum tree produced 2 plums, but both dropped off before fully ripening. This is just their first year in the ground though. I also wanted to know how tall a dwarf satsuma and dwarf santa rosa get and most websites have different answers. It seems like they'll both get anywhere from 8-15 ft tall from what most sites say, (8-15 ft leaves a wide margin for error in my opinion) do you know if that is correct? And unfortunately I don't live in Oregon. I'm in Ohio, which is good for planting most things, but I'd much prefer the climate, precipitation and soil quality of the Willamette Valley.


Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:18 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1155
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: santa rosa/satsuma plum differences
I wouldn’t be too concerned with the varietal name, if the fruit’s good, that’s what counts. If it lacks pollination, that could be a problem, you’d then need to know what you’ve got in order to ‘not’ graft or purchase the same as a pollinator.

Asian plum trees need annual pruning. That said, you can keep them to whatever height you’d like. We’ve had many a pruning discussion on this forum but from years of personal experience, ‘You’ are the determining factor to the height of a tree. You may bonsai them, or allow them to sprawl. The ‘dwarfing’ effect of rootstock slows them down but ultimately you set the limits. Each year it will go for it – and each Spring you limit its expansion.

You may prune them back each year to 3 buds beyond where that limb-shoot started, or 15 buds. The more you leave, the longer and lankier your tree will be. I’d say with annual pruning your tree will be from 8 to 10 feet high and about equally wide. Mine is! They need heavy pruning, so don’t be afraid to take them on. But with its first year in, I’d be pruning for structure, leaving the best formed limbs and removing only weak or competing ‘water sprouts,’ and little more. You’ve plenty of time.

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Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:10 pm
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