Multi-grafted Pluot Tree

I planted this pluot tree in our yard three years ago. It has four pluot scions grafted onto one tree. The four pluot scions are Flavor King, Flavor Queen, Flavor Supreme, and Dapple Dandy. This summer, it’s producing its first significant crop of fruit. Pluots are plum/apricot hybrids. I don’t care for many of the common home orchard plum varieties, such as Santa Rosa and Beauty, because they are too tart for me. But so far, I am really impressed with how good home grown pluots taste.

I have already harvested all of the Flavor Supreme Pluots. They were very tasty. The fruits are sweet with a bit of tartness. They ripen early and are mostly greenish in color. However, I have noticed so far that among the four scions on our tree, Flavor Supreme is the least vigorous grower. Also, Flavor Supreme doesn’t set as many fruits as the other three scions (only 4 fruits this year).

Flavor King is the best tasting pluot of these four pluot varieties in my opinion. The fruit is sweet with a very inciting and unique flavor. It is already one of my favorite fruits. The fruits mostly ripen in August in our area and are deep purple when fully ripe (near the bottom of the second picture). My mom has a single-grafted Flavor King pluot tree that is a few years older than mine, and the fruits from her tree are delicious. Flavor King seems to be a moderate grower that sets a moderate amount of fruit compared to the other three pluot varieties. My Flavor King scion set about 20 pluots this year.

Dapple Dandy is another tasty pluot. The few Dapple Dandy fruits I’ve eaten off the tree so far were good, but a bit too tart. I think they need to stay on the tree until August to reach peak flavor. Dapple Dandy is a moderate grower, but it sets a lot of fruit. The small Dapple Dandy scion on my tree set over 50 pluots this year. I had to thin many of them to keep the branches from breaking off under the weight of the fruit. The pink fruits in the above pictures are the Dapple Dandy pluots.

Flavor Queen is the most vigorous grower of the four varieties I have. I’ve had to prune it three times this year to keep it from out growing the other varieties, even though the Flavor Queen scion is facing north. One of the hardest challenges with a multi-graft tree is keeping the scions balanced with each other. You need to keep pruning back the most vigorous scions throughout the growing season to keep them in balance with the less vigorous scions. If one scion outgrows the others, it might take over and overwhelm the other scions.

That’s essentially what has happened with my multi-grafted plum tree. The Beauty scion grew very large, and I didn’t prune it enough early on. Two of the less vigorous scions (Laroda and Nubiana) are small and stunted and don’t produce many plums. I haven’t tasted the fruit of Flavor Queen yet. It set about a dozen fruits this year, but they are still green and hard.

July 28 2012 01:53 pm | Pluots