Why plant Audubon® Native Chickasaw Plum?
The key to attracting lots of birds to your garden is not simply having food for them to eat, but also providing places for them to live, roost, and escape from predators. Chickasaw Plum gives backyard birds prime nesting habitat with its dense, twiggy, somewhat thorny stems. It makes a space where birds such as Brown Thrashers, mockingbirds, field sparrows, vireos, and Painted Buntings can feel secure. Meals are provided, too, in the form of small, sweet-tart fruit and caterpillars. Many species of moths and butterflies use Plum Trees as host plants, and their offspring make top-notch bird food.
Chickasaw Plum is similar to the Wild, or American, Plum, but with a more southerly distribution. This species is found from Delaware to Florida and west to Arkansas and Texas. The Chickasaw people once made the fruit a part of their diet; hence, the name. The little half-inch plums are usually quite tart until they are completely ripe. Today the tree primarily serves wildlife. Besides feeding birds and caterpillars, Chickasaw Plum also serves pollinators. The frosty white flowers open early—in March in much of its range—and they offer nourishment to bees when not many other plants are blooming.
How to use Audubon® Native Chickasaw Plum in the landscape?
If they can escape the birds, some of the caterpillars that feed on Chickasaw Plum become gorgeous adults. These include the Promethea, Io, Imperial, Polyphemus, and Cecropia moth, and the Tiger Swallowtail and Red-Spotted purple butterfly. The funny Hummingbird moth, which looks and acts like a miniature hummingbird, also uses Plum as a host plant.
Hardiness Zone: 5-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Chickasaw Plum
Chickasaw Plum is not difficult to grow, and with a little bit of care, it will grow very quickly indeed. Give it as much sun as you can; it will also tolerate light shade. Good drainage is crucial with Plum Trees—be careful not to plant them too deep and never site them in a spot that stays constantly wet. Your tree will need regular water during the first year or two of establishment, but it will be fairly drought tolerant after that. If you’d like to maintain your Chickasaw Plum as a single-stemmed tree, be sure to remove (pull or prune) suckers when they appear.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.
Growth showed low to the ground when we planted. The plant is fluffy, spreading out around the plant, lots of growth, about 3’ tall but lots of growth from the bottom toward the top of the plant ground. Bushy in the middle where you see some large stalks, (like its trunks), are going up. Drinking a lot of water. Miracle grow tropical fertilizer was recommended by our friend, the local nursery owner, in Cedar Point, NC, Redfern’s. Just a mild application. It worked great on our banana plants this spring, and last spring.