I think I want to grow an Ume but....

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I think I want to grow an Ume but....

Post  Todd Ellis on Tue Feb 09, 2010 11:38 pm

I love looking at the Ume pictures and would like to try one...again. But, everything I seem to read says to protect them from hard freezes. I read that they will grow in zones 6-8, but to protect them from hard freezes. I'm a bit "stumped" Shocked If a plant is "advertised" to grow in certain zones, then why would it have to be protected from hard freezes? I provide protection: mulched to cover the containers, wind breaks, but I leave my material to exposed to the elements. I live in zone 7, Central VA Piedmont (foothills), and we can get temps as low as zero, ocassional below zero windchills, etc. So, I guess my question is "Are there any growers who are successful with Ume in zones 6-8, with this type of "minimal" protection? I do have an unheated garage and haven't stored material in there...yet....
Any comments or suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks!

Todd Ellis
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I Think I want to Grow an Ume

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:36 am

I had one for several years. I'm in Zone 5, and wintering it was not a problem. I wintered it wrapped up in an unheated garage. (When it got down near zero, I brought those trees indoors overnight.) It was fine. One problem was that it never bloomed. I suspect it was a seedling and never reached puberty, which is about 10 years for fruit trees. The worst problem was that our summers are too hot & dry, even with some shade. Before the end of the summer, its leaves were rags, and our show is in the fall. I finally got rid of it. Where you are is probably cool enough, but how dry is it in the summer? If you get one, make sure it is cutting grown, or grafted at the ankles.
Iris

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Re: I think I want to grow an Ume but....

Post  tom tynan on Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:01 am

Hey Todd - You should be able to grow Japanese Flowering Apricot in your area. I live in Southern NY State; and I have no problem. Trees in the ground for development get a good mulch of leaves; and it is better to plant them next to a wall or some obstruction to act as a windbreak. My few better trees I bring into the garage and they winter there til Spring. The trees will flower in the January thru the March period depending on conditions. The heat of summer can be a bigger problem; if the tree is heated stressed the leaves will curl and drop - your chance of getting flowering in late winter and early spring diminishes. Of course - with all Prunus sp. you have a never ending battle of fungal problems, etc. that require spraying. My biggest problem is actually hungry deer - they go for the Ume in late winter and they will shred the ends of many branches before Spring arrives - sort of natural pruning.

As Prunus sp. grow - they grow as a perfect cylinder with little or no taper - this requires lots of chop backs, and time in the ground - so if you going to explore this species - you have to a have long-term plan [what doesn't?]. Given your location - check out Camellia Forest Nursery in NC - they are one of the better growers on the East Coast, many sp. and cutting grown. Sounds like you have the itch - go for it... Tom

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Re: I think I want to grow an Ume but....

Post  Todd Ellis on Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:45 am

Thanks Iris and Tom, I appreciate your input. FYI, I grew up in the Hudson Valley, in Saugerties, NY. NY is a pretty state, but the Winters were harsh for me. I live near mountains which remind me of the Catskills. BTW, I get the itch anytime I see a pretty tree!

Todd Ellis
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Re: I think I want to grow an Ume but....

Post  JimLewis on Wed Feb 10, 2010 1:03 pm

You have to remember that the zone system is NOT intended to apply to plants in pots. A plant in the ground may do OK in zone 5 but be killed by a freeze in zone 6 because of either freezing or freeze drying.

The zones were invented for farmers. Then gardeners adopted it too, and that was OK. We bonsaiests are stretching it.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: I think I want to grow an Ume but....

Post  Todd Ellis on Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:45 pm

Indeed, thank you for this reminder. I just "forget" these little facts sometimes until I'm reminded... Rolling Eyes

Todd Ellis
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Re: I think I want to grow an Ume but....

Post  Brent on Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:45 pm

The problem with Prunus mume, and other Prunus species to some degree, is not the freeze kill temperature in deepest dormancy, but rather their ability to tolerate freezing once they begin emerging from dormancy. I have spent many years studying this problem and finally just gave up trying to grow them in my area.

The nursery is in a cold zone 8 with usual lowest lows around 15F, although we had some 12F weather this year. This is nothing for mume and most Prunus. The problem is that we don't move out of winter in a nice smooth curve to warmer temperatures. We are in a high Coastal Valley that is a cold sink and we get late spring freezes well into April every year. These freezes are devastating to many deciduous trees because they get hit with sub 28F weather after they have begun to leaf out, and in some cases suffer damage even at bud swell. The trees that leave dormancy the soonest are hit hardest. Mume is prized for having flowers earlier than any other tree. That also means it starts leaving dormancy earlier than most. Late spring freezes creates stem damage even before leaves appear, and tiny cracks are perfect entry points for spring fungal diseases in a cold wet climate. The combination of these two factors makes a mess of mume here in our valley, but just six miles away, next to ClearLake, there is no problem whatsoever due to the influence of the air warmed from the water. They can even grow Citrus there.

So, the bottom line is: If mume is rated for your zone, that's great, but you have to go a step further and analyze your spring weather to make sure it doesn't fall below about 28F after flowering and not below freezing after the leaves bud out. In addition, dormant spraying is a good idea too to prevent the multiple fungal attacks to which they are susceptible. In summer, the leaves are always going to look crappy no matter where you live, so plan on a winter silhouette tree.

Brent
EvergreenGardenworks.com
see our blog at http://BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com

Brent
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Re: I think I want to grow an Ume but....

Post  Todd Ellis on Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:57 pm

Thanks Brent. This makes a lot of sense to me. It is amazing to me how "six miles" can make a difference...
Have you grown any in your landscape? If so, how are (or did they) they doing?
All I can do is try, right?
Good luck with your recovery. I just read one of your blog posts. Wow, you have really been through the mill!

Is your mail order business on line?

Todd Ellis
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Re: I think I want to grow an Ume but....

Post  Brent on Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:20 pm

Todd

Yes, I have a few mume in the ground under some oak trees that gives them a little protection. They are surviving, but still struggling with a lot of dieback each year. Yes, our entire business in online, just click on the link.

Brent
EvergreenGardenworks.com
see our blog at http://BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com

Brent
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Re: I think I want to grow an Ume but....

Post  Todd Ellis on Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:21 pm

Great web site, Brent!

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Re: I think I want to grow an Ume but....

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