Did you know that there is a native American plum tree? The species is Prunus americana, and it’s native to all of the United States and Canada from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains. It’s a species that should be everywhere in northern New Jersey but isn’t anymore–except in my back and front yards. Here’s a closeup picture of the plums, taken today. They are about an inch long and will be ripe in another few weeks:
The American plum is a small tree or large shrub that sends out suckers and can form large colonies. However, the suckers can be easily controlled by mowing, so a good way to use the tree would be as a specimen in the middle of a lawn. It likes full sun, and although reference books say it likes wet places, it does very well in my dry, sandy soil. The flowers, which bloom in very early spring, are exquisite–pure white and delicate. And the suckers are easy to dig up and replant. All in all, a lovely tree.
I’ve grown these trees for more than 15 years, but I’ve yet to taste a ripe plum. The birds get them all the second they’re ripe. But that’s why I decided to grow them in the first place.