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What Makes a Methley Plum Good for Deer?

Deer love Methley plums, yet they are known to be selective eaters of fruit. The appeal of Methley plums to deer can’t be just a coincidence, so what are the specific factors that make these fruits highly desirable to these animals? What makes a Methley plum stand out from the rest as a preferred fruit for deer?

What Is a Methley Plum?

Methley plum is a fruit tree that produces small to medium-sized red to purple plums. It is a cultivar of the Japanese plum, a deciduous tree native to China, Korea, and Japan.

The tree can grow up to 20 feet tall, and it blooms in early spring with small, fragrant white or pink flowers. It is also a hardy tree resistant to many diseases and pests. Besides its hardiness and adaptability, people appreciate the Methley plum for its ability to produce an abundance of fruit.

The fruit is small, juicy, and sweet, with reddish-purple skin and yellow flesh. People commonly eat Methley plums fresh or dried. They also use them to make jams, jellies, and other preserves.

It’s not just humans who love them, of course: Methley plums can be a valuable food source for deer, partly because their high sugar content makes them attractive to animals. The fruit is also high in nutrients, which can be beneficial for the health and growth of deer.

They’re not just for eating, either. The Methley plum tree is a deciduous tree that provides cover and shelter for deer, especially during the winter months when other vegetation is scarce. The tree’s dense foliage can also provide a good hiding place for deer from predators. As such, Methley plums can be an essential part of the ecosystem for deer and other wildlife.

History of the Methley Plum

The Methley plum has a rich history and is a beloved fruit for many people worldwide. It was first introduced to the US in the 1920s by Luther Burbank, a famous horticulturist and plant breeder. Burbank created the cultivar by crossing two Japanese plum varieties, the Burbank and the Shiro. The resulting hybrid was named after Methley, a town in England where the plum was first introduced.

The Methley plum quickly became popular and was widely planted in home orchards and commercial fruit farms due to its attractive appearance, adaptability, high yield, and ease of care. The Methley plum remains a widespread variety in the United States and worldwide.

In addition to its horticultural importance, the Methley plum has cultural significance in some regions. In Japan, for example, plum blossoms symbolize early spring and are celebrated in festivals such as the annual Ume Matsuri. Plum blossoms are also used in traditional Japanese art and poetry, symbolizing beauty and resilience.

Why Are Methley Plums Good for Deer?

Methley plums are a nutritious and tasty food source that can help support deer populations’ health and well-being. They are high in sugar, making them a quick energy source. Additionally, they are easy to digest, making them a great food option for deer when other food sources may not be as readily available.

Methley plums are also high in fiber and contain essential nutrients like vitamins A and C, which can help boost the deer’s immune system and keep them healthy. Methley plum trees can also be a good source of browse, as deer will eat the leaves and twigs in addition to the fruit.

Besides being an excellent food source, Methley plum trees provide cover and shelter for deer thanks to their dense foliage, which can offer protection from predators and the elements.

How to Grow Methley Plums

With proper care and maintenance, Methley plum trees can produce abundant sweet and nutritious fruit. Here are some steps to help you grow Methley plums.

Choose a Planting Site

When selecting a planting site for Methley plum trees, there are a few key factors to consider. First, Methley plum trees require full sun, so choose a site that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.

Additionally, test your soil as it should be well-draining and rich in organic matter, with a pH level of 6.0-7.0.

It is also essential to ensure that the tree will have enough space to grow to its mature size, up to 20 feet tall and wide.

Finally, consider the climate in your area. Methley plums enjoy cold weather and thrive in hardiness zones 5-9. They need 150-200 chill hours—the average hours when the air temperature lies between 32 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit in a typical winter season. Choose a site that meets their chill hour (CU) requirements, which will help ensure a good fruit set. In warmer climates, ensure you have a minimum of 250 hours between 32 and 45 degrees.

Plant the Tree

Once you have picked the right location, prepare the planting hole by digging a hole twice as wide as the root ball and mixing in some compost to improve soil fertility and drainage.

Carefully remove the tree from its container and place it in the planting hole, making sure that the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil.

Fill the hole with soil and water the tree thoroughly. Spread a layer of mulch around its base to retain moisture in the ground, suppress weeds, and provide insulation against temperature changes.

Water Regularly

Methley plum trees require regular watering, especially during the first few years of growth.

Watering a Methley Plum tree regularly after planting is essential for its survival and healthy growth. When you transplant a tree, its root system is disrupted, and it needs time to establish itself in the new soil. Watering regularly helps the tree to develop a strong, healthy root system that can absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil.

During the first few years after planting, Methley Plum trees need more water than established trees because their roots are not yet deep enough to access moisture from deeper soil layers. Regular watering also helps to prevent stress and damage to the tree caused by drought, which can lead to leaf drop, wilting, and even death.

Using the proper watering technique is also essential. Water the tree deeply once a week or more frequently during hot, dry weather to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot and other problems. Watering your Methley Plum tree regularly and correctly can help ensure its healthy growth and fruit production.

Fertilize Annually

Fertilizing your Methley Plum tree annually with a balanced fertilizer can help promote healthy growth and fruit production. This means adding fertilizer to the soil around the tree once a year, typically in the spring before new growth appears. Use a slow-release fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. A slow-release fertilizer will gradually release nutrients into the soil over time, providing a steady supply of nutrients to the tree. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates.

Prune Annually

Prune the tree annually in late winter or early spring to remove dead or damaged wood and to shape the tree. Besides helping to maintain the size and shape of your Methley Plum tree, pruning also promotes healthy growth and fruit production. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth appears, removing damaged, diseased, or dead branches. Thin out crowded or crossing branches for better air circulation and sunlight penetration.

Protect against Pests and Diseases

Methley plum trees can be susceptible to pests and diseases such as aphids, plum curculio, and brown rot. Monitor the tree regularly for signs of infestation or disease and treat it as necessary with insecticides or fungicides. Your Source of Methley Plums

When you buy your Methley plum trees from a trusted provider like, follow the tips mentioned above, and provide proper care and maintenance, your Methley Plum tree should thrive and produce an abundance of delicious fruit for years to come.

You can get 40% off when you pick up your order, but we also offer free shipping on all orders and a 10% discount on orders over $1,000. Call us now at 832-400-5978 or contact Wildtree online to obtain the best Methley plum trees for your wildlife-preferred orchard and get started on your deer project!