plum tree

by Geert Jansingh
(Port Elizabeth)

Can I transplant a young wild plumtree anytime or ? It is now 2m tall.

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Jan 05, 2021
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Transplanting wild plum
by: Caroline

Dear Geert

Thank you for your question. Well done for nursing your small tree to such a size !

When you say transplant, do you mean from a pot to the ground or that you will need to dig up the plant first before planting it elsewhere ? In both cases you need to be aware of its invasive roots and plant it 4 meters from any structures.

If you need to dig it up, apply maximum caution and look up how to dig up a plant. You need to dig around it first and then only dig it out completely, keep it well watered during the process.

Wild plum (Harpephyllum caffrum or Umgwenya) are pretty hardy and don't need a lot of watering. If you are planting from pot to ground I would plant it in the beginning of your rainy season, or plant any time but water twice a week if there is no rain, and keep this up for six months to get it established. They are native to your area and this is very good as it will help with insect diversity in your garden.

I grow mine from seed, and then pot up in 1 Liter bags and plant them out in the garden at about 30 cm.

I planted my last lot (6 trees) at the beginning of May 2019, as you know its the early part of the rainy season in Cape Town. They then get a good six months of natural irrigation and are no bother.

Since then they have withstood drought better than any other plant in the garden except olives. However, I've had baby olives die due to drought so I do water both olive and Harpephyllum saplings when there has been no rain for say two weeks.

One of my plum trees just wilted mysteriously. I cut off the wilted top and its now resprouting.

I hope this helps.
Caroline

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