I am a total idiot about gardening, just to warn you.
I had to cut down a old plum tree on our property (SF Bay Area). I
didn't want to do it because it made the most incredible plums I've ever
had - they were like mangoes. It never made many, and seemed to have off
years. But it had to go.
The question is, can I try to grow it from cuttings? I don't have any
seeds, unfortunately. I'd love to try to keep a sprig going and
eventually a new tree. Any chance of this?
Yes, you can. You must either have a plum tree or buy a plum tree root
stock and graft one of the twigs (scion) on to it. There are plenty of
things on the web about how to do grafting. I don't know how long ago
cut down the tree, but the scion wood has to be relatively fresh. If
strip off the top layer, you should still be able to see some green
cambium. You need that healthy layer to bond to the root stock. If you
have a bud from the tree, you can do a bud graft onto an existing plum
tree. All of this is dependent on the season, because where I am in the
Midwest, everything is going dormant, so grafting won't work. I'm not
sure about doing it your climate zone.
That is good news. The tree was just cut yesterday. I have other plums
around. I'll try to read up on grafting... Here, it's a Mediterranean
climate, our elms have just about lost all leaves finally. I'm not sure
what that would be for dormancy tho...
Grafting now will probably work there, since it is a frost-free area.
Some plum trees (I think) could do without root stock. Here is my
advice: take 10 heel cuttings (side branches which, when pulled, come
off with a little bit of a heel from the main branch), shorten to one
foot, with two buds on top, dip in rooting hormone, plant 8 inches
deep in sand plus perlite, apply bottom heat, water only at the
beginning for the first month, cover with clear garbage bag. Within a
month it should be clear whether they took or not. If they did, no
guarantee they will do well without a root stock, but nurture them
slowly, by placing them outside (if temps are around 50-60) in shade,
and taking the garbage bag off in increments of one hour. The bag can
come off for good in two months. Transplant to a bigger pot with
compost then (without distrubing the roots, the whole sand pot), and
transplant to a permanent site in the fall.
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