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Methley Plum

On a regular basis, I will share my thoughts. After 40 years of growing and tasting many fruits, it always puzzles me why some that I know are really the easiest to grow are not selected by more people.

I think people are asking the wrong question.

The question shouldn’t be what is the best-tasting cultivar of a particular type of fruit like a pear or a plum, but rather what is a good-tasting cultivar which a beginner can succeed at growing and will produce a good crop in most years.

The fruit tree we have had the most consistent success with is the Methley Plum. It is hardy in USDA Zones 4-9 and is a cross of an American and Japanese plum.

The Methley produces heavy crops almost every year — even when its snowing here — when it blooms in early spring. It’s self fertile and, very importantly, it has a sturdy growth habit that holds massive crops on the tree without breaking the branches.

Also, the Methley tolerates less-than-skilled pruning. What you need to do is just thin out some branches in the winter so the sun can get in to ripen the fruit.

Methley is great eaten fresh and makes great jelly. It can be made into leather, and it makes a great sorbet.

So there you have it. If you have room for one fruit tree, consider the Methley plum.

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About Sam Benowitz

Raintree Nursery founder Sam Benowitz has been providing home gardeners and professional landscapers with the finest fruit cultivars in the world since 1973.

4 comments

  1. I really wish you wouldn’t advertise Methley, Shiro or any other Japanese plum as doing well in climate zones 4-9. According to what I’ve read elsewhere (too bad I hadn’t read it BEFORE I bought the trees from you), they are strictly for warm climates. I bought 2 Methleys and a Shiro from you 5 years ago. I live in dreary climate zone 7B – which your staff told me would be just fine for these trees. Not so. Because they are early bloomers, and our springs tend to be cool, the bees aren’t yet awake and frosts are not uncommon. I’ve not had a single plum on any of those trees to date, even though they are supposedly dwarfs that got real big. Buyer beware!

    • Thank you for your comments about the Methley Plum. Where do you live? Here is western Washington and at Raintree, Methley has produced large crops each year even when it was snowing at bloom time which happened numerous times and the temperatures were about 28 to 32 degrees. That’s why we recommended it despite its early blooming.

      • I’m at the start of 6th season with a Methley plum in Phoenix and haven’t had any fruit yet. Looks like two fruit set this year. Small, healthy tree with lots of flowers in spring but never sets fruit. Other fruit trees (peach, apricot, aprium, apple) all set fruit well. At a loss.

  2. I’m in zone 5B (PA) and I have both Methley and Shiro growing and producing fruit just fine. Both taste great!

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