Tree Source: Real English Fruit Trees
Rootstock: Unknown (St Julian ‘A’?)
Planting Size: 2 yr old small standard, nursery pruned for transport
Planting Date: 8th February 2018
Notes & Observations
Background – Damsons are a small, sharp-flavoured plum, similar to the bullace, and are thought to have been cultivated, or at least foraged, in Britain since the Roman era. They were particularly popular in the Malverns and Westmoreland and used as a hedging plant in fruit-growing areas such as Shropshire and Kent. (source)
This particular tree was supplied quite heavily pruned and feathered to the point where it no longer had a central leader – you can clearly see the cut-point in the defoliation photo above – hence the number of strong upright branches and quite dense canopy.
Season 2019 – A quite horrendous aphid infestation in May necessitated the complete defoliation of the entire tree (which was thankfully still quite small). It successfully recovered and re-grew its canopy by August, but of course set no fruit buds.
Season 2020 – The tree recovered well from the previous year’s aphid problems and put on strong growth, some of which was thinned from the centre of the canopy to prevent crowding.
2021 might be too early for it to produce fruit – damson’s apparently take upwards of 5 or 6 years to reach fruiting maturity – but with any luck it might set buds for 2022.