Q. I lost two fruit trees this winter because of an irrigation problem. I would like to replace them with 4-in-1 pluot and plum tree. I’m hoping it’s not too late to plant.
A. It is not too late to plant fruit trees in containers but it is too late to plant them bare root or sold in packages.
I am not a big fan of fruit trees that have more than one variety on the same tree. In a few years the more aggressive varieties dominate and kill the weaker varieties. In a very short time the tree is dominated by one or two varieties instead of four.
I prefer separate trees planted very close to each other and managed as one tree. I would plant these trees about 12 to 18 inches apart; one on the east side of a large hole and the other on the west.
In the case of pluots and plum, the plum tree should be a Santa Rosa which is a good pollinator for pluots. Pluots are self-pollinating in our climate but having a Santa Rosa plum tree close may help with fruit set and increase yield.
Two rules should be followed when planting trees close together; never let them grow back into each other and keep them both pruned and trained to the same size.