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Burbank PlumPrunus salicina 'Burbank'

  • Burbank Plum - Prunus salicina
  • Burbank Plum - Prunus salicina

Burbank is the most popular variety of plum, so it’s no wonder that this tree is a common choice for home orchards and commercial production alike. It’s a Japanese cultivar that is hardy, bears early and sets heavy crops. The fruit is great to eat fresh or can, and it makes great jams and jellies.

Just a little tip: If you want to keep the birds from eating all of your delicious plums, plant mulberries close by. They’re the one fruit birds prefer to plums.

Hardiness Zones

The burbank plum can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 5–9. View Map

Tree Type

This is a fruit tree, grown primarily for the edible fruit it produces.

Mature Size

The standard Burbank plum grows to a height of around 35' and a spread of around 20' at maturity. The dwarf variety grows to a height of 8–10' with a spread of up to 10'.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The Burbank plum grows well in a variety of soil types and has some tolerance for heavy and waterlogged soils. It prefers a well-drained, loamy, mildly acidic to mildly alkaline soil.

Attributes

This tree:
  • Produces firm, aromatic and juicy fruit with amber yellow flesh. The sweet, uniquely flavored fruit is ideal for eating, canning, and jam making.
  • Yields ripe fruit typically around mid-July in the West and South, early August in Michigan.
  • Is best when picked before fully ripe.
  • Begins to bear crops in as little as 2–3 growing seasons, with substantial yields usually beginning in the fourth season.
  • Blooms early in the spring, profuse with delicate white flowers.
  • Requires cross-pollination with another Japanese plum variety (with a matching bloom time) growing within 100' for standard trees and within 20' for dwarf trees. Santa Rosa, Abundance and Shiro varieties are great options.
  • Requires moisture but does well where rainfall and humidity are minimal during the growing season.
  • Is available in standard and dwarf sizes. Our standard Burbank seedlings are budded to Nemaguard and Guardian peach rootstock, and our dwarf seedlings are grafted to Prunus besseyi (Sand Cherry).
  • Features ovate or elliptic leaves that are alternate and finely toothed on the margins with a bright green coloring on top and a lighter green underneath.
  • Has a chill hours (CU) requirement of 400. (Chill hours are the average hours of air temperature between 32° and 45° F in a typical winter season.)
  • Grows in an irregular shape.
  • Is susceptible to early frost.

Wildlife Value

Plum trees provide food and cover for butterfly larva, birds and mammals.

History/Lore

Plum seedlings were sent from Japan to legendary plant breeder Luther Burbank in 1885. Recognizing the superior quality, Burbank sent some of the fruit on to a Professor Van Deman, who was a pomologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Van Deman recommended that the new (to the U.S.) fruit be named after Burbank, and the American Pomological Society added it to their catalog in 1897.