I have a chum tree, and would like to know how to promote fruit from this tree. It has only produced about 4 pieces of fruit so far. Should I prune it, or just use some fertilizer? I would like to know why it isn’t producing more fruit.
Chums (or cherry plum) trees could be either Prunus cerasifera, a type of Asian plum tree, or a shrub/tree that is a cross between cherries and plums. How to grow them depends on which one you have in your garden.
Prunus cerasiferais usually grown as an ornamental tree in zones 4-8, but if there is a pollinator (another tree that can fertilize it) close by, it can produce fruit, which are plums, and not at all like cherries. Fruits are most attractive to birds, not humans.
I believe that you are asking about cherry-plum tree hybrids, which are crosses between plum and cherry trees. The fruit that results is between the size of a cherry and a plum. These trees are hardy in zones 5-9, with some varieties hardy to zone 3. Care for these trees is the same as care for any cherry or plum tree. Note that some varieties of cherry plum are self-fertile, but others need a nearby cherry or plum tree for pollination so that they will produce fruit. And even where trees are self-fertile, they will likely be pollinated best where there is another variety nearby.
For information on general care of fruit trees, see Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs – Fruit trees in the home garden. Briefly, these trees need full sunlight, well-draining soil (avoid windy areas) and if the soil is good, should not need fertilizing for the first few years. This article also recommends type of fertilizer to use and also includes helpful information about pruning.
I suggest that you ask the nursery from which you purchased the chum tree whether your plant is self-pollinating or if you need to plant a second variety to cross-pollinate. As well, they can provide tips on pruning.
I hope you have a bountiful chum harvest!