Alsace damsons or quetsche, delicious plums

Alsace quetsche, a damson species

The Alsace damson plum tree is a sweet variety of damsons.

Alsace Damson (Questche) facts

NamePrunus domestica insititia
Typefruit tree

Height – 16 to 20 feet (5 to 6 m)
Exposure – full sun
Soil – rich enough

Foliage: deciduous  –  Flowering: early→mid spring  –  Harvest: summer→fall

This particular damson variety, locally called “quetsche”, is delicious and sweet, and it’s quite ornamental, too. Planting, pruning and caring for it is important to avoid diseases.

Planting Alsace damson plum tree

Favor planting in fall or in spring but avoid freezing temperatures.

planting damson quetscheRemember that for all fruit trees, the best period for planting is fall, because this season has the highest success rate for root development in spring.

  • Plum trees prefer locations with a rather high exposure to sunlight to give good plums.
  • Think ahead: your plum tree will grow to its adult size within a few years, and it needs space to grow.
  • Over the first weeks, water regularly as long as it doesn’t freeze.
  • It’s better to water during the day, since nights tend to be much cooler.
  • To ensure good development for your plum tree, refer to our guidelines for planting

Pruning Alsace damson plum tree

General pruning principles

Pruning quetscheIt’s recommended to prune only what is strictly necessary because plum trees are delicate and wounds make it vulnerable to diseases.
After each cut, apply pruning paste like pine tar to protect the wood from fungus and other diseases.

Directional pruning

Nonetheless, you may perform directional pruning in the first year to shape the structure of the tree. The goal here is to thin out shoots from the trunk to end up with 3 or 4 main branches facing outwards.

Like all pit trees, notably the cherry tree, pruning is performed at the end of the summer or in the beginning of fall.

After having harvested the plums

Once you have harvested the plums, remove dead wood and fragile branches.
Remove fruits that haven’t fallen from the tree – they are often diseased – and destroy them.

Also, remove suckers, which are those shoots that emerge at the base of the tree.

Learn more about Alsace damson plum tree

Quetsche plums tree are fruit trees for which fruits are both eaten fresh from the tree as common damson, and preserved. This can be done in various manners such as jams, liquor, pastries or simply desiccated as dried prunes.

Plum trees are also grown as ornamental plants since their blooming is generous at the beginning of spring and their foliage stays appealing until the leaves fall off.

Fruit-bearing will be greatly enhanced if manure is added at the base of the Alsace damson plum tree in fall, and if fruit tree fertilizer is added in spring.

This rather ancient variety is one of the most famous and one of the most tasty. It is particularly sought after for its juicy and sweet flesh.

Read more about insects and diseases that attack plum trees:

  • alsace damson diseases pestsRust – brownish-orange lesions appear on the underside of leaves.
  • Aphids – leaves lose their original color and curl themselves into tube shapes.
  • Scab – brown spots appear on fruits and leaves.
  • European brown rot – plums rot while still on the tree.

Smart tip about Damson plum

Mulch the foot of the trunk to avoid weeds, protect roots from the cold during winter and retain moisture in the summer.

Images: CC BY-SA 2.0: Lukas Large, dreamstime: Slowmotiongli, Pixabay: Szabolcs Molnar, Tomaž Jevšenak