Last week Darrell and Mary Kromm from Reeseville Ridge Nursery stopped by on their way up North to drop off a native plum tree, often called the American plum (Prunus americana). I had contacted Darrell earlier in the year to find out if he could tell me why my native plum trees don’t produce fruit. They did the first couple of years after we planted them, but have since failed to produce even though they have cloned themselves to take over a fairly large area at the southern boundary of my prairie.
Darrell told me that typically plum trees require a co-pollinator. Plums typically do not set fruit without having received pollen by another of the same species. This pollen transfer, of course, is done by the bees, moths and other pollinators so there must have been other plum trees in the area many years ago.
According to Doug Tallamy‘s research, the genera Prunus supports 456 native caterpillars, moths and butterflies, so we really want to keep these trees around. I’m just looking for a little jam as my reward.
So, I’ve planted my new plum tree. It maybe a couple of years before it produces fruit, but perhaps the cross-pollinating will occur sooner than that. Stay tuned….