The Growth Rate of a Plum Tree

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There are more than 2,000 varieties of plums, but they can be grouped into three basic types of trees: European, Japanese or American. Growth rates for each type vary.

European

  • Young European plums grow about 12 inches per year. These plums are hardier than their Japanese cousins. Most European plums are good for canning because the flesh easily separates from the stone. European plums can often bear fruit even when only one tree is planted, but a pollinator will increase the amount of fruit available.

Japanese

  • Young Japanese plums grow approximately 15 to 20 inches per year. They resist diseases better than European trees. In addition, they tolerate heat well. Most Japanese plums need a pollinator in order to bear fruit. Varieties of Japanese plums include the Santa Rosa and the Methley.

American

  • American plum trees, also known as wild plums, grow 12 to 18 inches per year. Their fruit can be eaten fresh or made into wine, jams or jellies. American plums tend to form thickets, so they’re a popular choice when setting up a wildlife habitat. They’re also used as windbreaks because of their dense growth.

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