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I have a victoria plum which I planted almost 3 years ago and hasn't produced any fruit.

Last year (1st summer) it produced a small amount of blossom. This year it produced a lot of blossom but no fruit but it has gone into a growth spurt. I haven't lost any blossoms due to winter freezes and I didn't "dead head" it. I'm in Manchester and we did have a dry spring.

I gave it some garden compost last winter and I've fed it every 2 weeks with a general fruit & vegetable feed (I do not remember the brand/contents). I watered the garden every other day with a hose pipe. I watered the ground around the tree for 20-30 seconds until surface water started forming and then moved on.

Is there anything I could do to encourage it to produce fruit next year? It is supposed to be self fertile.

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One Year On and still no sign of fruit. I pruned in spring & added garden compost. I'm blaming the odd weather late frost at the start of the year for this. –  Twisted Jun 18 '12 at 17:58
    
A Few years since I Planted it and still no fruit :-(. It is trying as last year and this it blossomed twice. I did notice this year that the tree was attacked by wood pigeons that enjoyed eating all the leaves off the tree. They didn't peck at the blossom but they where all knocked off by the pigeons! –  Twisted Jun 27 at 10:27
    
when the blossom goes, does it disappear completely, or does it remain, withered, on the tree? –  Bamboo Jun 27 at 12:06
    
It withers on the tree and I can see the start of tiny green fruit which then falls off –  Twisted Jul 7 at 10:23
    
see answer below –  Bamboo Jul 7 at 11:15

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The Victoria Plum is self-fertile and, although cropping can be improved by a compatible pollination partner, it should fruit satisfactorily without one.

There are a number of possible reasons why your tree is not producing any fruit:

  • It may be too young; plum trees usually start cropping when they are 4 or 5 years old, depending on the rootstock that has been used.

  • You may be overfeeding it - once every fortnight seems excessive and is likely to promote lush leaf growth at the expense of fruit, which the growth spurt you mention suggests may have happened; one good feed (perhaps 4 oz/140g of Growmore per square yard) in early Spring, followed by a compost mulch in mid-Spring, should be enough to keep it healthy and encourage fruiting. Overfeeding will also make it more susceptible to disease. I don't have a plum tree, but I have two apple trees, and prefer to take the organic route; I feed them only once a year in Spring, with compost and chicken manure pellets (at the rate mentioned above) which I also use on my vegetable plot, and although the soil in which they are growing isn't the best, they always fruit really well.

  • The blossom it produced may have been scorched by a late frost, although I gather from your comment that this is unlikely.

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I think its probably too young but was hoping for a tip to help it along for next year - maybe a good autumn pruning? –  Twisted Sep 1 '11 at 19:55
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@Twisted, Never prune in the Autumn (Fall). If you follow the links I posted in my answer I believe you will find some helpful/useful information you can apply to your Plum tree... –  Mike Perry Sep 1 '11 at 20:02
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@Twisted: I would definitely avoid autumn pruning, as it could make it susceptible to bacterial canker or silver leaf disease; the best time to prune a plum tree is spring or summer but, in any case, I don't think pruning would help it along at this stage. I would stop feeding it until next spring and then feed it either Growmore or chicken pellets, as I suggested. If it's healthy and you're patient, I'm sure it won't disappoint you ;) This RHS site has some very useful info. on managing plum trees: rhs.org.uk/Gardening/Grow-Your-Own/Fruit-A-to-Z/… –  Mancuniensis Sep 1 '11 at 20:50

Seeing as a late frost didn't kill your blossoms, I'm inclined to think the excessive feeding is the most likely cause of no fruit. "Mancuniensis" answer covers that...

As far as watering goes, I think you weren't watering the tree enough during that exceptionally dry spell (at least for the UK). Watering as you did, doesn't get the water down to the roots where it's needed and can be best used by the tree (plant). It is "generally" accepted that for the overall health of plants (your garden), it's much better to water deeply once or twice a week...

Watering trees (correctly) is slightly different, therefore I recommend you go here and get "Arborist Don Gardner - Watering Guidelines".

If the plum tree is old enough to fruit, I'm now thinking you might not have got any plums this year due to a combination of overfeeding (my second thought once we had ruled out a late freeze killing the blossoms) and drought stress early in the growing season -- the tree shed its flowers as a "survival" mechanism, transferred its energy from setting (growing) fruit to "surviving"...

Additionally you may wish to take a look at here on SE:

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If you get blossoms but no fruit, I found with my cherry tree that this can be caused by sparrows pecking at the flower centers, stopping the tree from fruiting. I'm having the same trouble with my plum tree this year. I didn't get any blossoms, and it's normally the first thing to flower on my allotment. I'm not sure about the age of the plum tree. I was always told that fruit trees fruit after 2-3 years but if you move it at anytime it will stop that process.

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This doesn't really answer the question of how to get fruit trees to set fruit. Did you prevent the sparrows somehow? –  kevinsky Jun 25 at 2:50
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yes i did thanks, I put sparkle tape around the branches and hung cd's off the branches, it has worked because I have tonnes of cherries every year, made 24 jars of jam with them, nicest jam ever, –  paul the cabbie Jun 26 at 20:46

Twisted, you've said some of the blossom remains, withered, on the tree, even with some of it starting to produce fruitlets - the likely cause of this problem is Blossom Wilt, a fungal infection, which may overwinter on the tree in infected stems or foliage. By this time you may (or may not) have a little dieback on some leaves, twigs and branches here and there, and close inspection may reveal buff coloured fungal pustules on infected areas, usually directly behind where the blossom was, though these are not always evident, and may only be seen in damp weather.

Prune off anything that looks dead or withered now, and hereon in, as soon as you see it, and next year, spray with copper oxychloride just before flowering (Bayer Fruit and Veg Disease Control is one). Clear away any fallen leaves, fruit and anything else on the ground around the tree, particularly in autumn.

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Not sure this is it. The blossoms that withered have now fallen or –  Twisted Jul 7 at 11:40
    
Not sure this is it. The blossoms that withered have now fallen and there are no withered or dead branches –  Twisted Jul 7 at 11:48
    
@Twisted; Ah well, it was worth a try - I take it you've looked up blossom wilt for images then... –  Bamboo Jul 7 at 11:52

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