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 Damson Trees 
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Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:07 am
Posts: 1
Post Damson Trees
I've recently been given some small Damson trees by my father who grow them, and then uses the fruit to make wine and jam. They're still quite small, and I don't expect any fruit off them for a bit...

Is there anything I need to know to make these thrive? Anything I need to avoid so they don't die? How long is it likely to be before they bear fruit? I think he got them by making some cuttins and rooting them, they are about 3' tall now, in pots, look healthy but no fruit.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated - I know nothing about growing fruit trees!


Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:11 am

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1188
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Damson Trees
Damson European (prune) plums, I assume. I suspect your father dug root suckers from around an existing tree. I believe some folks grow them from seed, meaning there’s no rootstock, thus root suckers would be true to (or produce the same fruit as) the main tree. Speculation, of course.

- don’t know where you’re located - but in the Willamette Valley we grow a lot of European prunes with not too many problems. Get them in the ground, spaced for future growth and in a location with full sun. Then protect them from deer and harm (in that order); wire mesh fencing works well.

Watch for excessive chewing on their foliage; perhaps a little fertilizer of your choice; and water them appropriately throughout the summer. You might watch for tiny holes or ‘sawdust’ on the trunk - if so, let us know. A little oozing of gummy sap is typical on stone fruit.

At one year and three feet, they’ll begin branching this year. I‘d pinch off any low water shoots popping from the side of their trunks - to force that energy up and into the developing limbs. - can’t say when to expect fruit, but a year or two wouldn’t surprise me, they’ll bloom first. Don’t know if you’ve considered pollinators, and I’m not sure if they’re considered self-fertile? - but next year would be an excellent time to (whip & tongue) graft a pollinator to one of their limbs - that would also give you some variety.

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Thu Jun 23, 2011 10:56 am

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1406
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Damson Trees
Grafting a pollinating variety will also make them fruit more quickly as well.
John S

Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:58 pm

Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:25 pm
Posts: 46
Location: UK
Post Re: Damson Trees
Here in the UK damsons are regarded as one of the toughest orchard fruit species, capable of producing a crop even in wet climates with low sunlight levels. I think every orchard should have at least one of these! Cropping would normally be around 4 years, but that assumes a dwarfing rootstock - we normally use selections of St. Julien, a related Prunus species. I am not sure what it would be on seedling roots.

Wed Jun 29, 2011 12:22 am
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Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 10:57 am
Posts: 1406
Location: Portland, OR
Post Re: Damson Trees
Thanks Orange Pippin,
I was wondering what to plant in my shady area. Here in Oregon we probably get more sun than anywhere in Britain except maybe Cornwall, so it should be ok. We get a lot of rain on the West side, so we're very much like UK from October to May-June.
John S

Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:24 am
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