DAMSONS & GAGES

Less popular than plums, damson and gages are the two opposites of the plum family. Damsons (and the close relation, the Bullace) have the tart, acid flavour that make excellent jams , preserves and pies. A few varieties can just about be eaten fresh if allowed to fully ripen. The trees are hardy, growing in places that would not suit a plum and are often planted as a hedgerow tree. Gages on the other hand are far more fussy than a plum, requiring a warm and sunny site, better still fan them out on a warm sunny wall. The trials garden did have four large fan trained gage trees in the open on wires (see picture below). Every spring they would flower profusely but fail to crop satisfactorily even though they were closely matched for pollination. These have been removed and plums planted in their place. Damson can be treated as self fertile like many plums.

Gages, however, can be a mine field so self fertile ones are best

Rootstocks are the same as plums, Pixy for dwarf trees, bushes and fans and St Julian A for larger specimens.

It's worth noting that Damsons often make a smaller, more compact tree than many plums on the same rootstock

Choice of Rootstocks

PIXY
For more compact Fan trained trees or larger bushes. Minimum wall height 6 feet and width 10 feet for fan training

St JULIAN A
For larger fan trained and free standing trees

VARIETIES GROWN IN THE TRIALS GARDEN (OR NURSERY)

Damson Delma

Picks end of August

A new introduction found as a chance seedling in Hampshire. All the usual culinary attributes but one the can be eaten fresh as well.

Gages & Damsons - Damson Langley Bullace

Damson Langley Bullace

self fertile

Small round, blue black fruit.

Gages & Damsons - Damson Merryweather

Damson Merryweather

Nottinghamshire 1907

A large plum sized damson which can be eaten fresh. relaible and heavy crops.

Gages & Damsons - Damson Shropshire Prune

Damson Shropshire Prune

self fertile

A midlands variety with intense flavour, reliable and makes a good, small, hedgerow tree.

Gages & Damsons - Gage Old Green Gage

Gage Old Green Gage

partially self fertile

Excellent old fashioned flavour and more reliable cropping than most.

Gages & Damsons - Gage Oullins Golden Gage

Gage Oullins Golden Gage

a good one for bottling and freezing

Quite large greenish yellow fruit with good flavour.

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