Guinevere Plum Fruit – A Guide To Guinevere Plum Tree Care
By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Fresh sweet plums are a dessert all alone when eaten out of hand, but there are numerous recipes that use these sugary fruits to their best advantage. Guinevere plum fruit is one of the better late season dessert plums. Growing Guinevere plums will provide you with a heavy crop of huge fruits to enjoy and share.
About Guinevere Plum Trees
Choosing the right plum tree for your landscape is about more than proper site and growing characteristics. The actual fruit is crucial to the decision of species. The plum ‘Guinevere’ is a fruit you could weep for. It has such intense sweet, nectar-like, juicy flavor that it could easily substitute for a candy craving. Unlike many European plums, Guinevere also stores well in refrigeration.
Guinevere is similar to Marjorie’s Seedling but produces more fruit. The trees can get 14 feet (4.5 m.) tall or, if on dwarf rootstock, 8 feet (2.5 m.) in height. This is a self-fruitful tree which originated in Kent, UK. It has only been around since about 2000, but is already regarded as one of the better performing plums.
Young trees may bear within two years of installation. After a beautiful spring color display of blooms, the plant begins to produce in in fall. Guinevere plum fruit is quite large and a deep dusky purple-red. The flesh is golden yellow and packs just the right amount of sweetness balanced with a pinch of acid.
Tips on Growing Guinevere Plums
The plum ‘Guinevere’ requires well-draining soil in full sun. Dig a hole in soil of average pH and fertility that is twice as wide and deep as the roots of the young tree.
If the tree is bare root, soak the roots in water for several hours before planting. Also, create a pyramid of soil at the bottom of the hole for the roots to spread over. Balled and burlap plants need to have twine and burlap removed before planting.
In all cases, include a tree stake and firm the soil over the roots and water it in well. Spread mulch around the root zone and immediately set protection from deer and rabbits if they live nearby.
Caring for a Guinevere Plum Tree
Plums are quite easy to grow, but it is important to get them off to the right start. Keep young trees moderately moist and prevent weeds from settling in around them. Apply a general fertilizer in early spring.
European plums are traditionally pruned to a central leader. Prune the tree to establish a pyramid shape in the dormant season. Leave plenty of space between the lateral stems. Head back any un-branched lateral stems to encourage new growth. Once the tree is trained, the main goals of pruning are removal of dead or diseased wood, crossing branches, water spouts and to keep the plant in a tidy habit and size.
Watch for diseases and pests and treat at the first sign of trouble.
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Similar to the better known ‘Marjories Seedling’, but mainly used as a dessert fruit. Plum 'Guinevere' produces heavy crops of large, black fruits in late September which can be eaten fresh or used in the kitchen. Unusually for most plums, the fruits will store well if refrigerated. Plum 'Guinevere' is self fertile, making it particularly useful in smaller gardens where there is only the space for one tree.
- Plum rootstocks:
- VVA1 - Semi dwarf reaching a mature height of up to 2.5m (8')
- St. Julien - Semi vigorous reaching a mature height of up to 4.5m (14')
This variety is self-fertile and does not require a pollination partner.
Estimated time to cropping once planted: 2 years.
Estimated time to best yields: 4 years.
Plant height and spread is seasonal therefore we list by pot size rather than a defined plant size. The height and spread of the plant delivered will vary depending on the season, meaning arrival images are an indication only.
2 x 12 litre potted plum plants (VVA1 Rootstock) (TKA1954)
1 x 12 litre potted plum plant (VVA1 Rootstock) (KA1953)
1 x 12 litre potted plum plant (St Julien A Rootstock) (KB2566)
Fruit trees do not suffer weed competition well. Keep weeds and grass clear from within a 30cm radius of base of the tree. In spring, while the ground is moist, apply a mulch of well rotted manure or garden compost around the base of the tree, taking care not to mound it up against the stem. This will help to retain moisture throughout the summer. Feed and water plum trees during particularly dry periods.
Care should be taken when pruning plum trees to avoid winter pruning as this leaves plums prone to silver leaf disease. In the first spring after planting, select 3 or 4 well spaced branches on a clear trunk of at least 75cm (29"), and shorten them by two thirds. Remove the central stem to just above the highest of the selected branches. Remove any laterals below the selected branches.
In the following spring, select 2 or 3 sub laterals on each branch and shorten these by half to create a balanced, open framework. Remove any weak or badly placed shoots completely. In future years, plums will require pruning in late spring to remove damaged, badly placed or diseased wood. Thin heavy crops when the fruits reach the size of hazelnuts to prevent the branches from snapping under their weight. Allow one fruit every 7-10cm (3-4") along each stem.
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