I was fortunate to get this original wild goose plum tree from a well known plum expert in Virginia. I grafted it onto several American plum rootstocks and planted it out on a wind swept hill. From there the trees began to fruit after eight years of waiting. Since then I added its seedlings next to it which greatly increased the yields from 8 plums to several hundred plums per year. This original form matches the original taxonomy of the variety and has survived well in Michigan producing delicious plums that can be eaten direct from the tree. The ripening period is long starting in the second and third week of July and continues through August. The plums ripen one by one along the branches going from yellow to red. The flesh is translucent yellow and very sweet once fully ripened.
The original story about this tree comes from a hunter who found the seed in the crop of a goose and planted it. Since then many seedlings from this tree were distributed under the name ‘wild goose’. My source had the original Wild Goose plum and he suggested I not grow it from seed in his collection as it was just such an heirloom treasure and it should be clonally reproduced for that reason alone. Sure enough as time went on the descriptions of the fruits and tree matched mine perfectly. As far as I know I am the only source of the true wild goose plum. For this reason, I am releasing the scion wood again as it needs to be widely distributed and in collections again.
The reason for discontinuing in the past was due to diseases like peach leaf curl and possibly other virus found within the sap of the plant. I was fortunate to have a scientist who knew these diseases visit my farm and make suggestions on how I can minimize it and eventually eliminate it at least for a period of time. I did this by removing the grass, fertilizing and spraying the tree for sucking insects (Monterey and Neem). The scions cannot be shipped to California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and New Mexico. Scions are sent dormant in the winter along with the seeds.
Seeds of two types are available : Wild Goose Original seeds from the grafted tree. Wild Goose Next Generation seeds from the 2nd and 3rd generation seedlings.
From seeds, this plum produces amazing seedlings which show both hybrid vigor and an array of delicious plums. Worthwhile to grow to make new cultivars from much more forgiving than the American and chickasaw plum as far as the taste goes. It can be harvested and eaten fresh off the tree without astringency or tartness but not like the insipid bland overly sweet California plums.
To germinate the seeds: Plant outside in the fall 1/2 inch deep with seeds spaced 1 inch apart. Some seeds will germinate the first spring. Keep in mind with the wild goose plum a portion of the seeds will germinate the second spring. For the refrigerator method, put your seeds in a zip lock bag with lightly moist Canadian peat moss for 60-120 days at 33-38 F. Never freeze plum seeds. Seeds will begin germinating in 60-90 days and the seeds will crack open. Take these out and plant in pots that contain well aerated sandy or perlite rich soil mix. Avoid using heavy compost as the roots rot easily. A portion of the seeds will need an additional warm (120 plus days room temperature) and cold stratification (as above) to break dormancy so do not throw your seeds out thinking they are bad.
Additional Notes: Most plum species naturally begin to go dormant in late summer meaning the leaves begin to loose their dark green shine and the trees begin to stop growing. This is normal and desirable as the plant begins to close down after fruiting is complete. During fruiting in the early stages in June and July is the ideal time to fertilize to help secure the crop and build up the reserves in the plant. I use chicken manure and gypsum during this time to help the tree build reserves for the current fruiting year and the following year. It has been found that fruit and nut trees during fruiting build additional roots and massive minute root networks during this time to help prepare the tree for seed production. It also prevents biennial bearing by increasing flower buds. Although some heavy setters may set a light crop the following year to some extent, even a small fruit crop is worthwhile. If a frost occurs, then the stored energy is used the following year and an exceptional crop may occur. There is no reason to not grow this plum as both a seedling fruiting plant and a cultivated plant even if done commercially on a larger scale.
20 by 20 spacing 109 trees per acre. Wild goose plum needs as much space as a peach tree for most applications.
20 by 30 spacing 73 trees per acre. 30 ft. rows is ideal as it provides more room for driving as the lower limbs can get large.
Hedgerow 5-10 ft. apart assuming no vegetation on either side-full sun. 100 trees would make a a row 500 ft. to 1000 ft. long.
Request for scionwood can be made for the original with an order of seeds. Scionwood is sent dormant in January.
All seeds have been floated to eliminate blanks.
|Genus & Species||Prunus hortulana and hybrids|
|Seed Source||Michigan-Both seeds and scions- Originally midwestern form found in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.|
|Hardiness||minus 25F or more|
|Width (ft)||10-20 Spacing in an orchard 20 by 20 or 20 by 30. 109 trees per acre for 20 by 20 spacing. Hedgerow spacing of 5-15 ft. apart|
|Pollination Requirements||Self fertile but 2-3 plants is ideal for production. Will cross with other dunbars and chickasaw plums to some extent as there is overlap in the pollination periods. The varietal "Wild Goose" is not very self fertile and would need other related wild plums to help in its yields.|
|Soil||Best in sandy loam or loam soil. OK in clay even with a higher ph.|
|Ease of Cultivation||Easy to grow from seed. May need 2 years to germinate the seeds fully. Very practical to grow from seed and shows great variation from seed which is an asset as far as producing varieties from. But also a fantastic flavor circus with the whole population. Trees fruit in 4-6 years from seed. A small population is ideal for fruit yield and a variety of flavors. Vigor is amazing and one reason to grow this plant is that the fruit quality is fantastic and no need to spray.|