Cultural Methods, Page 2
|Beach plums begin fruiting from the third to the fifth year in the orchard. The small stature of the species allows easy picking.|
Site Evaluation and Preparation
Choose a site with good drainage for your beach plum planting. When digging several feet down the soil should not have a rotten egg smell or standing water. Clear brush; remove dead wood including stumps and roots from the soil. The planting should receive full sun. Destroy any persistent perennial weeds before planting.
Take soil samples and submit them to a soil testing service specifying that plums are your crop. Indicate that you want pre-plant lime and fertilizer recommendations for plums.
Because beach plum is shrubby and smaller than other stone fruits, we recommend close plant spacing. This design requires a large number of small plants and will produce a hedgerow system reminiscent of highbush blueberry production. Plant one- to two-year-old bare root or container grown beach plums. A minimum spacing of 5 feet between plants in a row with 12 feet between rows is recommended (figure 1). A 3 to 5 foot long in-row weed-free strip with a grassy alley between rows will provide adequate groundcover and protection from weed competition. Wider spaced larger plants are also an option.
It is important to keep the in-row strip weed free. Weeds will compete with beach plum for water and nutrients. Mulch, herbicide or hand hoeing can be used for weed control. If irrigation is desired we recommend a drip or micro-sprinkler irrigation system as a water conserving measure.