Perfection Plum Tree- Zone 2
Characteristics of the tree
Perfection is a small round plum with dark pink or light purple skin, and saffron-yellow flesh. It measures about 3.2cm in diameter. The skin is quite astringent and somewhat acidic. The plum is freestone, and resembles somewhat a European Plum in texture: it is less juicy and more firm than the majority of hybrid American plums. It tastes sweet and very flavourful, with hints of apricot and peach, and even at times banana and candy in the background! It measures 17 Brix at peak maturity. It is one of our favourites for fresh eating, but would surely also be excellent dried. If you wish to use it for drying, you should definitely remove the skin, as otherwise its astringency and acidity will taste too strong when dried. It ripens in early to mid-August.
The Perfection plum tree is hardy to zone 2, and has no known issues with disease. It is self-sterile, and needs to be pollinated with a Canada plum tree or an American plum tree.
The origins of this variety are somewhat confused. In 1960, two new varieties called ‘Perfection’ and Superb’ were introduced by the University of Saskatchewan. However, it seems that after this there arose at some point a confusion in regard to the two cultivars and their names. By 1975, nurseries were selling a cultivar named ‘Perfection’ – but the plums produced by the trees on the market did not match the original description of that cultivar, and instead fitted the original description of ‘Superb.’ The ‘Superb’ variety had meanwhile disappeared, while the original trees at the University were lost. We have decided to keep the name ‘Perfection’ – although it would be equally fitting to call it ‘Superb’!
Plums are fast-growing trees, but stay relatively small. A plum tree at maturity will not usually exceed 5 metres or 16 feet in height. Its life expectancy is also quite short: one can generally expect it to live between 30 and 50 years. This illustration shows a 20-year-old plum tree that has attained its maximum height.
You should note that this illustration is meant only to give a general indication of what you can expect, and the growth of your tree might look somewhat different. The development of a tree depends on the soil type, irrigation, fertilisation and climatic conditions. What we show here is based on our observation of the growth of plum trees in zone 4, in rather poor soil. In zone 2, growth will probably be slower, while in a rich soil it could be faster.
All our plum trees are sold bare-root, without pots. They have been cultivated directly in our soil. Bare-root trees must be taken out of the ground and shipped during their period of dormancy, which is why we only ship trees in the spring. A big advantage with these kinds of trees, is that they take up very little space, and can therefore be easily shipped by mail all over Canada!
This photograph shows a 2-3-foot plum tree, just like one that you might receive. Depending on the height you choose at the time of purchase, the tree might be a little smaller (1-2 feet) or somewhat taller (3-5 feet.)
Our plum varieties are hybrids of Canadian, American and Japanese plums. If you are thinking of planting a plum tree, it is important to understand how their pollination works. Hybrid plum trees are self-sterile, and cannot produce fruit alone. Moreover, they are not good pollinators for one another. Even if you plant two different varieties next to each other, you are unlikely to harvest any fruit.
Instead, hybrid plum trees need a wild plum tree to pollinate them: either the Canada plum (Prunus nigra) which is considered the best pollinator, or the American plum (Prunus americana) which also works well. So if you intend to plant plum trees, you must also plant at least one of these nearby, unless of course you already happen to have one. One wild plum tree is enough to pollinate up to around five grafted plum trees.
One drawback of plum trees is that they tend to flower early, making them sensitive to freezing in late frosts. Some microclimates help to mitigate this, such as the proximity of a lake or ocean. We also have a trick to help prevent them from flowering too early: applying a layer of mulch or compost underneath the base of the tree while there is still a good amount of snow on the ground. This insulates the snow underneath, so that it melts more slowly, and by maintaining a colder environment around the base of the tree, delays the start of its flowering period.