Product: Methley Plum
Scientific Name: Prunus salicina 'Methley'
Type: Fruit tree
Full Grown Size: 20 feet tall and 20 feet spread
Soil condition: Well-drained, loamy, mildly acidic to mildly alkaline soil
Light Requirements: Full sun
USDA Zones: 5-9
A cultivar of Japanese plum, Methley is a small, upright, spreading tree. Japanese plum trees have a rougher bark and more persistant spurs than European plums. They also are more vigorous, disease resistant, and produce more flowers. They tolerate heat and need only a short period of winter dormancy. The early bloom time makes them susceptible to late spring frosts. The foliage is bright green. The white flowers are borne mostly in umbel-like clusters of 2-3 on short spurs, and solitary or 2-3 in axils of 1-yr-old wood. Blooms appear as early as February covered in snow. Fruiting begins in 2-4 years. Methley plum produces heavy, annual crops of juicy, sweet, red purple fruit that ripens from late May to early July. One crop requires several pickings. Japanese plums can be picked before they are completely ripe, since they will finish ripening off the tree. Methley is self fertile and serves as a good pollinator for early bearing Japanese varieties. Japanese and European plums cannot cross-pollinate each other, because they have different numbers of chromosomes. The growth rate is 15-20 inches per year. Plums require minimal pruning which should be done after flowering when the tree is still leafless. In the formative years, pruning can be to remove interior branches, water sprouts, growing scaffold branches, and dead, damaged, or diseased wood. In maturity, vigorous upright shoots are removed as fruiting increasingly occurs on spurs on older wood. Japanese plums do best when trained to an open center and need thinning for proper fruit development.