Weeping Santa Rosa Japanese Plum
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Offering a cascade of fragrant, sparkling white blossoms in spring and a bonanza of burgundy-red plums in summer, the Santa Rosa Weeping Japanese Plum is a tree that will easily earn its keep in your landscape. The fruits of this much-loved tree have that classic sweet plummy taste, with just enough tartness to give them a little zing. In contrast to the original Santa Rosa Plum, this weeping version has branches that don’t grow upwards, but instead weep downwards, keeping the fruit at easy picking height. You’ll be gathering plums by the basketfuls for delectable crumbles, salsas, cobblers, and preserves—not to mention lots of healthy fresh snacking.
The original Santa Rosa Japanese Plum Tree was introduced in 1906 by the horticultural genius, Luther Burbank, who is better known for giving us the Shasta daisy and the Russet Burbank potato. Many years later, this weeping version was developed by Floyd Zaiger of Modesto, California. Zaiger runs a family business that specializes in fruit tree breeding, and in addition to the Santa Rosa Weeping Plum, “Zaiger Genetics” has pioneered several other interesting new selections involving plums. You’ve probably heard of the Zaiger family’s Pluot® (plum/apricot hybrid), but how about their Nectaplum® (nectarine/plum), Peacotum® (peach/apricot/plum), and Pluerry™ (plum/cherry)? Santa Rosa Plum will set fruit on its own, but having another Plum Tree nearby will improve yields.
Commercial plum growers pick their fruit before it’s ready and then rush it off to the grocery store. The fruits will eventually ripen at room temperature; they may be exposed to ethylene gas to speed their ripening. Flavor often suffers under this regimen. With a Santa Rosa Weeping Japanese Plum Tree in your backyard, you’ll have the luxury of waiting for each sun-ripened plum to reach its juicy, luscious peak before picking it. You won’t be able to go back to supermarket plums again!
How to Grow
If you’ve never grown fruit trees before, the Santa Rosa Weeping Japanese Plum is a good place to start. Although it isn’t immune to pests and diseases, it’s more resistant than most. Practicing good culture and hygiene will go a long way towards keeping your tree strong and healthy. This includes choosing the proper site, which ideally is a warm, sunny, slightly elevated spot in moderately rich soil that drains freely. Regular irrigation is important, especially during the establishment period. An annual addition of shredded bark or wood chip mulch will help to conserve moisture and to moderate temperatures in the root zone. Do any necessary shaping in early spring and always remove and destroy diseased fruits, leaves, and branches as soon as you spot them.
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