Plum, Burbank Prunus salicina
Purplish-red plum. Most popular commercial variety. (Pollinate with a different Japanese plum variety). (zones 5–9)Pricing Information
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Hardiness Zones 5 - 9The Burbank Plum can be expected to grow in the zones shown in color in the arborday.org zone map. View Map
Type of treeFruit Trees
Mature HeightThe Burbank Plum grows to be 10' - 35' feet in height.
Mature SpreadThe Burbank Plum has a spread of about 10' - 20' at full maturity.
SunThis plum does well in full sun.
This tree grows in a wide variety of soil types and has some tolerance for heavy and waterlogged soils. It prefers a well drained, loamy, mildly acidic to mildly alkaline soil.
ShapeThis plum has irregular shape.
A hardy plum tree that bears early and sets heavy crops for the home orchard or commercial production. It adapts to a wide variety of growing conditions. Profuse delicate white flowers bloom early in the spring. The large bright reddish purple fruit has sweet, juicy, amber colored flesh with an excellent flavor. The Burbank plum is particularly good for eating fresh, canning, or making into jam and jelly. Our standard Burbank Plum seedlings are budded to Nemaguard and Guardian peach rootstock, while our dwarf seedlings are grafted to Prunus besseyi (Sand Cherry).
In order to ensure pollination, these trees need a compatible cultivar growing within 100 feet for standard size, 50 feet for semi-dwarf, and 20 feet for dwarf trees.
The Burbank plum is a Japanese plum cultivar. The branches fork frequently, spread low and wide giving a flat topped appearance, and often droop. The foliage is bright green. The white flowers have five oval petals in umbrel-like clusters of 2-3 on short spurs, and solitary or 2-3 in axils of one year old wood. They bloom early making them susceptible to late frost. Fruiting begins in 2-4 years. The skin of the plums is red-purple with a yellow blush, and the amber flesh is firm, juicy, and sweet. The fruit ripens in July to August. It is best when picked before fully ripe. Burbank plum prefers non-alkaline, sandy loam soils with good drainage. The site should be sunny and free of early frost. Rainfall and high humidity during the growing season can reduce production by accentuating diseases and cause fruit cracking. 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. (Pollinate with a different Japanese plum variety) (zones 5-9)
Plum trees provide food and cover for butterfly larva, birds, and mammals
Burbank plum was developed from a seed sent to the legendary plant breeder, Luther Burbank, in 1883. Its parentage can be traced to China, but for the past 400 years or more the tree has been cultivated by the Japanese giving the genus its common name, Japanese plums. There are over 200 varieties of plums grown commercially, but nearly all of California's have been derived form the Japanese plum and Burbank's experiment with cross breeding.
The standard grows to 35', and dwarf grows to 8' - 10' in height.
Standard to 20' dwarf to 10'
This tree requires moisture, but does well where rainfall and low humidity are minimal during the growing season.
Simple, alternate,ovate or elliptic with acute or obtuse tips, finely toothed at the margins, often folded upward along the midrib. Bright green on top, light colored beneath and sometimes with fine hairs.
Red and golden yellow skin. Firm, sweet, aromatic, juicy and uniquely flavored. Ripens early August in Michigan, and around mid-July in the West and South.
Rate of growth refers to the vertical increase in growth unless specified differently. Rate, as is true for size, is influenced by numerous variables such as soil, drainage, water, fertility, light, exposure, ad infinitum. The designation slow means the plant grows 12” or less per year; medium refers to 13 to 24” of growth per year; and fast to 25” or greater.Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, by Michael Dirr.