damson 'Prune Damson'
damson (syn. Shropshire prune)
- Position: full sun
- Soil: will tolerate most soils, except very chalky or badly drained
- Rate of growth: average
- Ultimate size on St Julian rootstock: 4 x 4m
- Flowering period: April to May
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Damsons are a great fruit to grow if you are a novice gardener as they are hardier than its closest relative, the plum, and will cope with a wide range of soils. Native to the West Midlands, this small, compact tree was originally found in the local hedgerows. It is a self-fertile variety with medium sized fruits that can be cooked or baked and used in a variety of tasty recipes.
These damsons have been grown in an open field and then dug up as bare root plants when the weather conditions are right in Autumn. They have then been potted up as this helps to keep the roots protected, hydrated and in good condition. As they are dormant throughout the winter, they will not produce any new roots until spring, so don't be surprised if the compost falls away from the roots when you take them out of their pots. The trees can be kept in their pots throughout the winter provided they are kept well fed and watered, however ideally they should planted out as soon as possible when weather conditions allow.
- Garden care: When planting incorporate lots of well-rotted garden compost in the planting hole and stake firmly.
Stone fruits like the plums should be pruned in the summer because they are prone to a disease called Silver Leaf which enters through cuts. If you prune in late summer, the sap is slowing but is still running fast enoughenough to seal up any wounds. Check and remove any damaged, diseased or broken branches.
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Q:Various fruit trees
Dear Crocus, I bought lots of plants, including a Pyrus salicifolia 'Pendula' from you last year, and ALL are doing well. We only have a smallish SUNNY strip for what we are, rather tongue in cheek, going to call our Orchard! However, this is 50 yards from the weeping pear. My question is ,- if I were to plant a Conference (or indeed any fruit bearing pear) in this sunny strip, would it be sufficiently close to the weeping pear to fertilise it? Or do you have a pear which is self fertilising perhaps? Also, I am after one damson tree, so it needs to be self fertile. Can you recommend one please? I am longing to have an apricot tree, I keep reading about one called Flavorcot which fruits in August. But is this self fertile and if not, might you be able to suggest one which is? I look forward to hearing from you.Asked on 15/4/2010 by Carolyn Melville Smith
A:Hello There, The weeping pear is only an ornamental tree, so is not going to cross pollinate with a fruiting pear. Therefore if you only want 1 pear, then perhaps you should consider a 'family' tree which has several different types grafted onto one plant. Just click on the following link to go straight to them. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_fruit/bush/orchard-fruit/pear/kitchengarden/fruit/fruit-trees/pear-doyenn%C3%A9-du-comic%C3%A9--conference-williams-bon-chr%C3%A9tien/classid.2000012813/ http:/www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_fruit/bush/orchard-fruit/pear/kitchengarden/fruit/fruit-trees/pear-bet-conference-concorde/claaid.2000018021 As for the damson, we have a couple that are self fertile, although (as with all self-fertile damsons) you will always get a better crop if you have a pollinating partner. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_fruit/bush/orchard-fruit/plum/kitchengarden/fruit/fruit-trees/damson-shropshire-damson/classid.2000012815/ http:/www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_fruit/bush/orchard-fruit/plum/kitchengarden/fruit/fruit-trees/damson-merryweather/classid.2000015643/ Finally, we do not sell apricot trees, but nearly all of them are self fertile. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 15/4/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:What is wrong with my Damson tree?
We have a Damson tree. Over the last two years it has budded nicely and then in Spring it has become covered in a green mould or mildew (like moss), then looked very sick indeed for the rest of the year. It has just happened again this week. Is there anything that can be done?Asked on 31/3/2005 by Angela Mulheron
A:There are two major diseases that affect damson trees (bacterial canker and silver leaf) and neither of them seem to fit the symptoms you have described I'm afraid, but they are worth looking out for. Branches that have been attacked by canker produce few leaves and often die, and gum oozes from the bark. The only thing to do is cut out any diseased branches, paint the cuts with a wound paint and spray the trees in August, September and October with a copper based spray. Symptoms for silver leaf are silvering of the leaves. It is the most serious disease of damson trees and again all infected branches should be cut back and painted with a wound paint. Only prune branches in summer as this helps reduce the risk of either disease. I'm afraid I am not sure what this 'moss' is on yours, however the tree may be happier if the growing conditions are improved.Answered on 4/4/2005 by Crocus
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