What Is A Jefferson Gage: Tips For Growing Jefferson Plums

What Is A Jefferson Gage: Tips For Growing Jefferson Plums

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

What is a Jefferson gage? Jefferson gage plums, originating in the United States around 1925, have yellow-green skin with reddish spots. The golden yellow flesh is sweet and juicy with a relatively firm texture. These gage plum trees tend to be relatively disease-resistant and easy to grow as long as you provide the right conditions. Read on to learn about growing Jefferson plums.

Jefferson Gage Tree Care

Jefferson gage plum trees require another tree nearby to provide pollination. Good candidates include Victoria, Czar, King Damson, Opal, Merryweather and Denniston’s Superb, among others.

Be sure your plum tree receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight per day. A location away from harsh winds is preferable.

Jefferson gage trees are adaptable to nearly any well-drained soil, but they don’t perform well in poorly-drained soil or heavy clay. Improve poor soil by adding a generous amount of compost, shredded leaves or other organic material at planting time.

If your soil is nutrient-rich, no fertilizer is needed until the tree bears fruit. Thereafter, provide a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer after bud break. Never fertilize Jefferson gage trees after July 1. If your soil is extremely poor, you can start fertilizing the tree the spring following planting. However, never add commercial fertilizer to the soil at planting time, as it may damage the tree.

Prune the tree in late spring or early summer. Remove water sprouts throughout the season. Thin plums when the fruit dime-size to improve fruit quality and prevent limbs from breaking under the weight of the plums. Allow enough space for the fruit to develop without rubbing other fruit.

Water the tree weekly during the first growing season. Once established, Jefferson gage plum trees require very little supplemental moisture unless rainfall is lacking. Water deeply every seven to 10 days during extended dry periods. Be careful not to overwater. Soil on the dry side is always better than soggy, waterlogged conditions, which may cause rot.

If wasps are a problem, hang traps in late spring or early summer.

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Plum Tree Varieties
(continued - page 2)

Choosing Your Plum Tree (continued)

The best way to make a decision on taste, is to understand a little about the variety of plums available.
Bullace - strictly a cooking plum. The trees are smaller than normal and very hardy, they are also ornamental. The fruit has a very sharp flavour, excellent for jams and preserving.

Damson - another cooking plum, but sweeter than the bullace. The fruits are have a sharpish taste and are ideal for pies, tarts and jams.
Plum - some are cooking and some are eating. These make up some of the best plums for the UK climate.
Gage - eating (desert) plums. These are some of the the sweetest form of plum and they have a distinct 'plum' fragrance.

Taste is a matter of personal preference, GardenAction list below some popular varieties of plum which you may wish to consider.
Click on the plum variety names below for a picture.

Blue Tit
Self-fertile Bred in 1995 "Blue Tit" has an award of Garden Merit ( ) from the RHS.

As you will see if click on the name for the picture this is a real blue plum. The flavour is good and the shape is regular. This plum variety is self fertile, crops regularly in large amounts during August.

Bred by Thomas Rivers in 1870. It is a cross between Prince Englebert x Early Prolific. It was named in honour of the Russian Emperor visiting at the time.

A good eating plum that produces medium-sized round or oval purple plums of good flavour. The flesh is yellow-green and very juicy. It is a good-cropper and hardier than most varieties

Self-fertile A great tasting gage, Denniston's Superb is amongst the best as far as eating plums go.

The pale green skin is tinged with a red flush. It reliably produces a good crop of plums in late summer.

Bred by Laxton's of Bedford, it was first appeared in 1916 and was immediately awarded a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Merit.

Cooker and eater but best for cooking. Medium-sized fruit, tinged with pink. Sweet and juicy. The earliest of all plums, producing fruit in early August .

Pollinate with A very reliable cropper producing largish juicy gages in mid August.

Raised by Burleydam Nurseries of Staffordshire. The plum tree was then sold to a Mr. C. Sykes of Bricklehampton, Worcestershire. His marriage was obviously a happy one because he named it after his wife, Marjorie.

A great eating plum, it produces fruit from mid September . Unusually, this plum keeps very well in the fridge, extending the eating period by up to 4 weeks .

Large oval blue-black plums. Juicy yellow flesh with a good flavour. A vigorous tree which produces a large number of plums.

Old English Greengage

Pollinate with
Czar or Victoria

Named after Sir William Gage who imported this variety to the UK in 1724.

This is the best taste of all varieties. The colourless flesh is full of flavour and juicy - a real treat. This is not a high yielding variety.

A chance seedling found in a garden at Alderton Sussex. Introduced by Denyer of Brixton, London in 1840.

A popular variety with large fruits, and an excellent taste. The flesh is green to yellow and very juicy. A heavy cropper, producing fruit in September . Click here if you want to buy this plum tree online.

Some plum tress are self-fertile, but many require a compatible plum tree nearby (plum trees are not so common as apple trees) for pollination to occur. Plum trees have a short and very distinct pollination period (almost exactly ten days) so if you choose a tree which is not self-fertile, be sure to also choose a compatible tree. This is especially important if you choose a 'gage'.

Click here to see which varieties are self-fertile and those which are not self-fertile (compatible varieties are listed to help you choose a partner for your plum tree if necessary).

Name: Gamal Salib
E-mail: Private
Date posted: September 18, 2011 - 11:05 am
Message: Could you please tell me how and when to prune an apple tree.

Name: carol
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 04, 2011 - 06:50 am
Message: Hi, we are moving into a house that has a large plum tree, greeny coloured skin with a hint of red. We have picked some of them which are very sweet but found small black marks on them and actually found a small maggot in one, what should I do? are they not edible and how can I treat them? I have noticed that there are a lot of rotten fruit on the tree which is in the garden of a house that has been unoccupied for 18 month. Thank you.

Name: joan bowman
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: August 01, 2011 - 05:51 am
Message: In a field near us
yellow fruit small size of a damson with stone in middle like a small plum now very ripe, what are they? and can they be eaten
Thank You

Name: neil
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: June 24, 2011 - 05:40 am
Message: Hello, I am involved in a new community orchard on our green. The plum trees are standards that are bowing over a good deal and I feel may have snapped off in recent winds. We have removed the fruit to reduce the weight for the first year.Do the trees need to be staked or supported in some way, or perhaps cut back, if so when?
thanks for any advice

Name: mike manley
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: June 08, 2011 - 06:55 pm
Message: Will Chinese Plums grow in Oklahoma?

Name: Malu
E-mail: Private
Date posted: June 05, 2011 - 12:36 am
Message: How far have to plant out from the house the small plum tree?

Name: james
E-mail: Private
Date posted: January 17, 2011 - 02:59 pm
Message: what plum tree has pink blossoms and maroon leaves, and when do you plant them?

Name: Brian Slade
E-mail: Private
Date posted: October 29, 2010 - 01:02 pm
Message: Can someone please tell me where I can buy a Dunster plum tree?

Name: bill may
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: August 30, 2010 - 04:43 am
Message: hi i have a plum tree and the fruit have small maggoty inside

Name: G P Singers
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: August 30, 2010 - 01:11 am
Message: Hi I have a satsuma plum tree because of the weather condtions can i hand pollinate it regards Graham

Name: Mr D. Heaven
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: August 28, 2010 - 04:05 pm
Message: Many roadside trees with small yellow and red ( plums ). About 1 & 1/2" seem ripe end August, taste fairly sweet. Are the o k to eat or bottle with gin or vodka ?

Name: David
E-mail: [email protected]
Date posted: August 07, 2010 - 01:43 pm
Message: We moved into our present house 26 years ago. In the back garden were 3 trees an apple tree, cherry tree and another tree, after 26 years the other tree is covered with plums and is about 20 ft high, all the plums are at least above 10 ft up the tree nothing on the lower branches, is this a normal behaviour of the plum tree .

Name: Jane Lee
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 03, 2010 - 01:32 am
Message: My friend has a "Spiro Plum" tree which she bought from Dave Wilson Nursery many years ago. I like to buy one also, but where can I find one? I live in the Sacramento, CA area. Thank you.

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Plum tree blossoms are sure sign of spring

With the early arrival of spring and the abundance of flowering trees, shrubs, and bulbs that seemed to appear all at once, I recently was challenged to identify specific blooming trees according to their color and found myself becoming a bit confused.

Photos/ Lee Gugliada Dark reddish, plum-colored leaves resembling a Japanese Maple will appear after the flowers fade on this tree, possibly a Purple Leaf Plum, in Cindy Stolzenthaler's garden.

During a February tree walk at the Staten Island Botanic Garden we encountered a beautiful pink, flowering Prunus mume, Japanese apricot tree, which I mistakenly thought was a cherry tree. When I saw “Prunus,” I immediately thought it was a species of cherry. Wrong! Our guides, Greg Lord and John Killcullen, soon set us straight on Japanese apricot trees, which bloom much earlier than our cherry trees.

In March, Cindy Stolzenthaler, a garden club member, remarked that her plum trees were in full bloom, so I invited myself to photograph her lovely trees that same day. I was thoroughly surprised to find a glorious white flowering plum tree with a stunning pink plum tree right behind it. Cindy says, “I always know spring is here when the Green Gage Plum tree flowers.”

Her white flowering plum, a European Green Gage Plum, produces pale green, oval-shaped plums which are smaller than the round plums. The name Green Gage Plum originated back in 1724 when Sir William Gage imported the tree into England from France. Not long after, Green Gage Plums were brought to America where they were very popular, notably having been grown by both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. They are very sweet and considered to be one of the best dessert plums.

Green Gage European Plum

This Tree is not available for Sale at this time through Bower & Branch. Bower & Branch provides this information for reference only. Please check back with us or contact us for more detail.

The Green Gage European Plum (or Greengage Plum) is not simply another fruit tree. This heirloom tree, cherished since at least the 16th Century, produces funny, dull yellow-green plums that don’t look very promising, but taste like pure ambrosia. Super-soft and very fragile when ripe, they’re impractical to ship, and growing your own tree is probably the only way you’ll get to experience the extraordinary, honey-like sweetness of this incredible fruit. Use Green Gage plums to make heavenly desserts like cakes, ice cream, or tarts, or add them to chutneys to give sweetness and pizzazz to savory main dishes like pork, chicken, or turkey. That is, if any of these luscious plums actually make it to the kitchen!

Growth Facts

The Story

Before there was candy, there were Green Gage plums. These syrupy-sweet fruits have been loved for centuries in Europe. In France, they are called ‘Reine Claude’, for Queen Claude, who ruled with King Frances I way back in the early 1500s. In 1724, the British were introduced to the decadent fruit when a priest in Paris gave a tree to his brother, Sir William Gage, in England. The tag was lost in transit, so instead of keeping the name ‘Reine Claude’, the tree was renamed ‘Green Gage’. By the late 1700s, Green Gage had traveled to the U.S., and both Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew it in their gardens.

The Details

Much of the food in our grocer’s produce aisle today has been engineered to endure the trials of being picked mechanically, packed in boxes, shipped great distances, and stored for long periods of time. These attributes have often come at the expense of taste. Old World Green Gage plums come from another era, when flavor reigned supreme—not shipability. To grow this tree is to preserve a piece of history, while also enjoying a very special treat each year of the most delectable fruits you’ll find anywhere!

Watch the video: How To Grow Plum From Seeds. From Fresh Fruit Seeds