The Methley Plum, One of Nature's Best

The Methley Plum, One of Nature's Best

Close-up plum tree

In the world of Plums, there are hundreds if not thousands of varieties worldwide that are available for the home gardener. All have their own distinct characteristics - but none so distinguished as the Methley Plum. This variety has it all. A juicy sweet fruiting delight, the Methley Plum is a fan favorite at Nature Hills and oh-so-easy for you to grow!

An easy-to-grow type of Japanese Plum, the Methley Plum (Prunus salicina 'Methley') thrives throughout USDA growing zones 4 to 9 and is a deciduous fruit tree that is also highly ornamental in the landscape!

About Methley Plum Trees

White flowers of plum tree

The Methley Plum Tree actually has a very interesting history in that it is believed to be a Hybrid between an American Plum variety (Prunus cerasifera) and the Japanese Plum (Prunus salicina). This happened unintentionally as a select seedling in South Africa around the turn of the 20th century.

How it found its way back to the States is anyone’s guess, but the impact that Methley has had on Plum growing in the United States is undeniable!

Like other Japanese x American hybrid Plums, the Methley is adapted to a wide range of climates and weather conditions. It is reported to grow well in zone 4-5 throughout the east coast and upper Midwest, 5 to 7 throughout the Midwest, and along the coastal regions of zones 8-9. It is adapted to the extreme cold, moist coastal regions and produces well in regions with less than 250 hours of chill. The Methley Plum has proven to be one of nature’s best Plum creations.

The Methley Japanese Plum tree can grow to a mature height of 15-25 feet and a mature width of 12-20 feet depending upon conditions. Once your Plum tree has been established (after the first year), it can typically add 12-24 inches of new growth per growing season.

Methley Plum Tree Blooming in Early Spring

Methley is very low chill, needing just 150-250 Chill Hours to bloom, plus it blooms later to avoid spring frosts.

Starting out with stunning snow-white blooms that are sweetly scented, the Methley attracts many bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects to arrive and help with the job of pollination. The spring bloom is also a real treat as the Methley is a profuse bloomer! This adds to the plant's value in the landscape when used as a medium size accent plant. 

The lush green foliage fills out these trees all growing season and has a delicate toothy margin. A fast-growing tree with strong limbs, you’ll soon enjoy a mid-season harvest of round, mid-sized fruit that ripens into a deep red-purple skin with deep crimson flesh.

Typically a heavy producer, you and your family will enjoy plenty of succulent healthy, clingstone gems for fresh eating, preserves, dried treats, plus both frozen and baked goods! With the abundant fruit set that the Methley produces, there will be plenty of fruit to work with.

Plums are fantastic sources of fiber and are high in Vitamins A, C, and K, and are high in antioxidants!

  • Clingstone Red-Fleshed Fruit
  • Purple/Red Smooth Skin
  • Toothy Green Foliage
  • Strong Limbs & Fast Growing
  • Scented White Blooms
  • Heavy Fruit Sets

Easy Plum Tree Care!

Plum Fruit on the Tree

Sun Needs

Fruit trees require full sun for best results, so give your tree at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, favoring the drying power of the morning sun. You’ll get more flowers and therefore fruit with adequate sunlight exposure.

Moisture Needs

Young and newly installed Plum trees need regular access to moisture. Use the finger test method daily to ensure your tree is getting sufficient water to every level of its root system throughout its first year in the ground. Once the tree has established, water during the heat of summer, drought, and when producing fruit at regular intervals.

Soil Needs

Blooming Plum Trees

Plum Trees have a medium growth rate and can adapt to a variety of soils! Best planted in rich, organically enhanced, well-drained soil, adding compost and manure to further enrich the site. You’ll want to ensure the site doesn’t pool water and create a soggy, stagnant environment.

Top with a hefty layer of mulch to insulate the soil and hold in more moisture! Water moderately, yet consistently to protect your investment.

If your plants are growing less than that in a season, it may be worth your while to check the fertility level. These trees enjoy an application of slow-release fertilizer in the spring.

Planting Plum Trees

Planting Plum Tree Infographic

  • Plant bareroot Plum trees in the early spring.
  • Plant container-grown trees anytime the ground is not frozen

While your tree is soaking, go ahead and get your planting site ready.

  1. Check with your Diggers Hotline first to ensure there is nothing underground where you intend to plant that may get damaged.
  2. The hole should be dug large enough to house the entire root system, and not be too crowded. Loosen and dig an area twice the width of your new tree root system but keep the depth the same. Be careful not to plant too deep or too shallow - maintaining the same planting depth as it came in its nursery container.
  3. Fill the hole with water and soak the entire area. Then sprinkle in the Root Booster.
  4. Remove your Tree from its container, Grow Bag, or remove bareroot from its wrappings, and set it into the hole. Add or remove soil to bring the current root depth up to level with the surrounding soil. 
  5. Backfill with native topsoil and tamp down to fill in any air pockets.
  6. Water well until it pools and let that water drain away, then water again. 
  7. Provide a 3-4 inch layer of mulch over the soil surface. Mulch not only enriches the soil as it breaks down, but arborist bark chips insulate the roots from heat and cold while regulating soil moisture.

Methley Plum Tree Pollination

A self-fertile tree, Methley does not require another Plum tree to produce fruit. Because only one tree is needed for large fruit harvests, it is perfect even for a smaller yard. However, for far larger harvests, planting another Japanese Plum tree nearby will drastically increase pollination! European Plums will not pollinate Japanese Plums and vice versa. Try using a Plum tree that ripens earlier or later than the Methley to extend your harvest time! 

Plant the tree along with other early blossoming varieties like Santa Rosa and Shiro to improve production on all. No room? Look into High-Density Planting techniques, or choose a semi-dwarf or dwarf fruit tree.

Methley Plum Pollinators

Elephant Heart

Nature Hills Nursery sells fruit trees with mature root systems that are already three to four years old, so you’ll enjoy fruit sooner than you would with younger trees! Expect young Plum trees to begin fruiting usually by the 2nd to 4th year after they establish in your landscape.

Plum Tree Pruning

Fruits of plum tree

Along with being a highly adaptable variety, the Methley’s growth habit makes it a first choice for the home gardener. A naturally low-growing tree with a wide spreading canopy makes size control of the Methley a breeze. Keeping the tree to a height below 10 feet requires very simple pruning - mostly to keep the canopy open for good air circulation and light penetration along with keeping the width in check.

Get Growing Sweet & Delicious Plums Today!

Head over to the Nature Hills website and get your own fantastic Methley Plum and a pollinator Plum to increase your home's edible landscaping and food sustainability before they sell out!

You’ll enjoy your first harvest in just a few short years and a bit of care, and reap the rewards! In this world of hybrids and new and improved, here is a variety that nature took total control of and produced one of the best all-round fruits for us to enjoy the Methley Plum!

Happy Planting!

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