Denniston’s Superb Plum Care: How To Grow Denniston’s Superb Plum Trees

Denniston’s Superb Plum Care: How To Grow Denniston’s Superb Plum Trees

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

What is Denniston’s Superb Plum? Originating in Albany, New York in the last 1700s, Denniston’s Superb plum trees were initially known as Imperial Gage. These hardy trees produce round fruit with greenish-golden flesh and a sweet, juicy flavor. Denniston’s Superb plum trees are disease resistant and easy to grow, even for novice gardeners. The attractive springtime blooms are a definite bonus.

Growing Denniston’s Superb Plums

Denniston’s Superb plum care is easy when your provide the tree with adequate growing conditions.

Denniston’s Superb Plum trees are self-fertile, but you’ll enjoy a larger harvest if a pollinator is located nearby. Good pollinators include Avalon, Golden Sphere, Farleigh, Jubilee, Gypsy and many others. Be sure your plum tree receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day.

These plum trees are adaptable to nearly any well-drained soil. They shouldn’t be planted in heavy clay. Improve poor soil by adding a generous amount of compost, shredded leaves or other organic material at planting time.

If your soil is nutrient-rich, no fertilizer is needed until your plum tree begins bearing fruit, usually two to four years. At that point, provide a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer after bud break, but never after July 1. If your soil is poor, you can start fertilizing the tree the spring following planting.

Prune as needed in early spring or mid-summer. Remove water sprouts throughout the season. Thin plums during May and June to improve fruit quality and prevent limbs from breaking under the weight of the plums.

Water a newly planted plum tree weekly during the first growing season. Once established, Denniston’s Superb plums require very little supplemental moisture. However, the trees benefit from a deep soaking every seven to 10 days during extended dry periods. Beware of overwatering. Slightly dry soil is always better than soggy, waterlogged conditions.

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How To Grow Plums

Plums require a light soil such as sand, gravel or chalk. The latter is the most suitable, as a certain amount of lime is necessary. Sandy and gravelly soils need to have lime added at the time of planting. Mortar rubble is a convenient form, and each autumn in the following years hydrated lime can be applied to the surface soil.

This should be applied at the rate of lb. per square yard. Scatter it on the soil surface under the trees to the extent of the branches.

Lime or any of the fertilizers should not be heaped round the bole of a plum tree as it is the tips of the roots that are the feeding organs. As the branches extend, so do the roots. Thus, the spread of the branches indicates approximately the position of these root tips under the soil.

Liming promotes stoning in plums, and although the fruit may set it will not mature if there is lack of lime. Fertilizers must be given in addition to keep a healthy balanced tres increasing in size gradually each year, and at the same time bearing regularly. Suitable fertilizers are nitrate of soda and sulphate of ammonia. Care must be taken using these manures, and no dressing given if the trees become sappy and produce too much leaf growth.

Like apples and pears, plums are grafted, and in this case a wild plum is used. The two types selected and now used by all good nurserymen are Myrobalan B, for vigorous trees, and the Common Mussel, for dwarf trees.

Plums are most frequently grown as standards, although for limited space bush trees can be had. For walls they may be trained as fan-shaped trees, and in this case a south or west wall must be selected as plums bloom very early in the year. In other aspects they would be liable to damage by cold winds and frosts.

Where birds are troublesome, small trees can be cottoned or large areas sprayed with a bud protective spray. Trees on walls can be covered with fish netting, which will, in addition, keep off frosts.

Plums grown as bushes are convenient where space is very limited or where the shadow cast by a large standard would be a nuisance.

For bush trees choose varieties grafted on to the Comrhon Mussel stock.

Varieties for standards or bushes.

Dessert : Oullin’s Golden Gage, Dennis-ton’s Superb, Early Transparent Gage, Jefferson, Reine Claude de Bavay, Coe’s Golden Drop, Comte d’Althan’s Gage, Pershore, Late Transparent. Cooking : Czar, Purple Pershore, Victoria.

Varieties for growing on a wall or fence.

South aspect : Early Transparent Gage, Denniston’s Superb, Jefferson, Coe’s Golden Drop, Reine Claude de Bavay, Golden Transparent. North aspect : Czar, Victoria, Oullin’s Golden Gage. West aspect : Early Transparent Gage, Oullin’s Golden Gage, Denniston’s Superb, Jefferson, Victoria, Czar. East aspect : Comte d’Althan’s Gage, Victoria, Coe’s Golden Drop.

Varieties of spreading growth.

Red plums : Comte d’Althan’s Gage, Victoria. Yellow plums : Coe’s Golden Drop, Pershore. Purple plums : Czar, Purple Pershore.

Varieties of upright growth.

Yellow plums : Denniston’s Superb, Jefferson, Late Transparent, Oullin’s Golden Gage, Reine Claude de Bavay.

Pollination. “No fruit following excessive flowering” is the complaint of numerous amateur plum-growers. The importance of pollination must be remembered. Only three of the best varieties are self-fertile. These are Czar, Purple Pershore and Victoria. All others must be cross pollinated with another plum nearby. Unless bees and other insects can carry pollen from one to the other, no fruit will set, however freely blossom is produced.

Damsons require a similar soil to plums and general treatment is also the same. In windswept gardens they are frequently used as shelter trees. They will withstand gales, and if planted along the boundary of the garden will provide a certain amount of protection for other plants and trees.

The trees require little attention and no pruning is necessary beyond the occasional removal of dead or badly placed branches. Paint over any large wound made with tar or specially prepared paint to keep out the spores of fungus diseases which can enter the healthy wood through newly-made cuts.

Varieties of damsons. Aylesbury Prune, ready. October to November large fruit, reliable cropper. Bradley’s King of the Damsons, ready September medium size, good flavour. Farleigh Prolific, ready September small, poor flavour, very heavy cropper. Merry-weather Damson, ready September very large fruit, used for cooking Shropshire Damson, ready September large fruit, best for jam.

What Is Denniston’s Superb Plum – Tips For Growing Denniston’s Superb Plums - garden

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Plum Tree Varieties
(continued - page 2)

Choosing Your Plum Tree (continued)

The best way to make a decision on taste, is to understand a little about the variety of plums available.
Bullace - strictly a cooking plum. The trees are smaller than normal and very hardy, they are also ornamental. The fruit has a very sharp flavour, excellent for jams and preserving.

Damson - another cooking plum, but sweeter than the bullace. The fruits are have a sharpish taste and are ideal for pies, tarts and jams.
Plum - some are cooking and some are eating. These make up some of the best plums for the UK climate.
Gage - eating (desert) plums. These are some of the the sweetest form of plum and they have a distinct 'plum' fragrance.

Taste is a matter of personal preference, GardenAction list below some popular varieties of plum which you may wish to consider.
Click on the plum variety names below for a picture.

Blue Tit
Self-fertile Bred in 1995 "Blue Tit" has an award of Garden Merit ( ) from the RHS.

As you will see if click on the name for the picture this is a real blue plum. The flavour is good and the shape is regular. This plum variety is self fertile, crops regularly in large amounts during August.

Bred by Thomas Rivers in 1870. It is a cross between Prince Englebert x Early Prolific. It was named in honour of the Russian Emperor visiting at the time.

A good eating plum that produces medium-sized round or oval purple plums of good flavour. The flesh is yellow-green and very juicy. It is a good-cropper and hardier than most varieties

Self-fertile A great tasting gage, Denniston's Superb is amongst the best as far as eating plums go.

The pale green skin is tinged with a red flush. It reliably produces a good crop of plums in late summer.

Bred by Laxton's of Bedford, it was first appeared in 1916 and was immediately awarded a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Merit.

Cooker and eater but best for cooking. Medium-sized fruit, tinged with pink. Sweet and juicy. The earliest of all plums, producing fruit in early August .

Pollinate with A very reliable cropper producing largish juicy gages in mid August.

Raised by Burleydam Nurseries of Staffordshire. The plum tree was then sold to a Mr. C. Sykes of Bricklehampton, Worcestershire. His marriage was obviously a happy one because he named it after his wife, Marjorie.

A great eating plum, it produces fruit from mid September . Unusually, this plum keeps very well in the fridge, extending the eating period by up to 4 weeks .

Large oval blue-black plums. Juicy yellow flesh with a good flavour. A vigorous tree which produces a large number of plums.

Old English Greengage

Pollinate with
Czar or Victoria

Named after Sir William Gage who imported this variety to the UK in 1724.

This is the best taste of all varieties. The colourless flesh is full of flavour and juicy - a real treat. This is not a high yielding variety.

A chance seedling found in a garden at Alderton Sussex. Introduced by Denyer of Brixton, London in 1840.

A popular variety with large fruits, and an excellent taste. The flesh is green to yellow and very juicy. A heavy cropper, producing fruit in September . Click here if you want to buy this plum tree online.

Some plum tress are self-fertile, but many require a compatible plum tree nearby (plum trees are not so common as apple trees) for pollination to occur. Plum trees have a short and very distinct pollination period (almost exactly ten days) so if you choose a tree which is not self-fertile, be sure to also choose a compatible tree. This is especially important if you choose a 'gage'.

Click here to see which varieties are self-fertile and those which are not self-fertile (compatible varieties are listed to help you choose a partner for your plum tree if necessary).

Name: Gamal Salib
E-mail: Private
Date posted: September 18, 2011 - 11:05 am
Message: Could you please tell me how and when to prune an apple tree.

Name: carol
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 04, 2011 - 06:50 am
Message: Hi, we are moving into a house that has a large plum tree, greeny coloured skin with a hint of red. We have picked some of them which are very sweet but found small black marks on them and actually found a small maggot in one, what should I do? are they not edible and how can I treat them? I have noticed that there are a lot of rotten fruit on the tree which is in the garden of a house that has been unoccupied for 18 month. Thank you.

Name: joan bowman
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: August 01, 2011 - 05:51 am
Message: In a field near us
yellow fruit small size of a damson with stone in middle like a small plum now very ripe, what are they? and can they be eaten
Thank You

Name: neil
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: June 24, 2011 - 05:40 am
Message: Hello, I am involved in a new community orchard on our green. The plum trees are standards that are bowing over a good deal and I feel may have snapped off in recent winds. We have removed the fruit to reduce the weight for the first year.Do the trees need to be staked or supported in some way, or perhaps cut back, if so when?
thanks for any advice

Name: mike manley
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: June 08, 2011 - 06:55 pm
Message: Will Chinese Plums grow in Oklahoma?

Name: Malu
E-mail: Private
Date posted: June 05, 2011 - 12:36 am
Message: How far have to plant out from the house the small plum tree?

Name: james
E-mail: Private
Date posted: January 17, 2011 - 02:59 pm
Message: what plum tree has pink blossoms and maroon leaves, and when do you plant them?

Name: Brian Slade
E-mail: Private
Date posted: October 29, 2010 - 01:02 pm
Message: Can someone please tell me where I can buy a Dunster plum tree?

Name: bill may
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: August 30, 2010 - 04:43 am
Message: hi i have a plum tree and the fruit have small maggoty inside

Name: G P Singers
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: August 30, 2010 - 01:11 am
Message: Hi I have a satsuma plum tree because of the weather condtions can i hand pollinate it regards Graham

Name: Mr D. Heaven
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: August 28, 2010 - 04:05 pm
Message: Many roadside trees with small yellow and red ( plums ). About 1 & 1/2" seem ripe end August, taste fairly sweet. Are the o k to eat or bottle with gin or vodka ?

Name: David
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: August 07, 2010 - 01:43 pm
Message: We moved into our present house 26 years ago. In the back garden were 3 trees an apple tree, cherry tree and another tree, after 26 years the other tree is covered with plums and is about 20 ft high, all the plums are at least above 10 ft up the tree nothing on the lower branches, is this a normal behaviour of the plum tree .

Name: Jane Lee
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 03, 2010 - 01:32 am
Message: My friend has a "Spiro Plum" tree which she bought from Dave Wilson Nursery many years ago. I like to buy one also, but where can I find one? I live in the Sacramento, CA area. Thank you.

Late Plums

Late plums and gages ripen in September. One of their advantages is that the cooler weather when they ripen means they last longer on the tree and are less likely to be attacked by wasps. However the risk, particularly in more northerly regions is that they fail to ripen well. Marjories Seedling is the best known late plum. Although often classified as a culinary plum it is actually much better as a dessert plum. Verity is another excellent late purple plum. Coe’s Golden Drop is a wonderful sweet September plum but is a light cropper. The continental plums known as Quetsche in France and Zwetsche in Germany are interesting alternative late culinary plums. Their firm relatively dry flesh makes them ideal for tarts and cakes as well as for drying. Quetsche d’Alsace is the most popular variety but Pozegaca has larger fruit. The damsons are also late ripening. Shropshire Prune is the best of the classic damsons. Merryweather is a larger damson the size of a small plum.

Watch the video: How to Prune a Plum Tree