No more vampires on our farm!
I got rid of them yesterday.
Of course I'm talking about Vampire plum trees - what did you think?
Vampires are a dark red, round plum. What makes them unique is their flesh - a blood red colour, instead of the usual yellow flesh of most red plums. Hence their name!
Vampires are a fairly new variety of plum. When they first became available we planted only a few trees, to see what they would be like.
I have been ambivalent about them. The colour is somewhat dull & dark, they're a little soft, the skin splits too easily, and the taste is only average. But they are juicy and with that amazing colour inside ...
It is fun to sell Vampires. We refer to them as the "twilight" plums and when customers ask for an explanation we break one open so the "blood" can flow out. Marketing geniuses we are!
But now they are gone. No more Vampires on our farm.
Black knot is what did them in.
Black knot is a fungal disease that affects the woody parts of plum trees - not leaves or fruit. It appears as an ugly, black, misshapen growth on the branches. It spreads by spores especially during a cool & wet spring. Left unchecked it can spread and weaken and eventually kill a tree.
During winter or early spring we cut off infected branches and burn them. In spring, fungicides can be applied to help control this disease.
Our Vampire trees had so much black knot that we could not cut it out. We had to cut down the whole tree - all the trees.
Fortunately there are still 4 other varieties of red plums on our farm - all redder, sweeter, better flavour ...
But not Vampires!