St. Amant tree is plum good

Mary-Glenn Smith

Blake and Romona DeBate have never seen as many plums on the tree in their St. Amant yard as they have this year.

Blake planted the De La Rosa plum tree in his yard 10 years ago and has been enjoying fruit off the tree for years.

“Every year the tree will load up pretty good, but never like this,” Blake said. “We usually only have about 1/4 of the plums we have this year.”

The DeBates say they have already picked well over 50 gallons of plums from the tree since the fruit started getting ripe about two weeks ago.

“The secret is just a few feathers away,” Blake said about why he thought the tree was producing so well this year.

When Blake says feathers he is referring to chickens.

Under the branches of the plum tree, the DeBates have a small, raised, wire cage with two chickens in it.

The chickens keep soil around the tree fertilized and add nutrients that aid in producing the unbelievable amount of fruit on the tree.

“Whenever I have a plant that is not looking too good I just put it under the cage and within a few days it looks healthy again.” Blake said.

Friends and family of the DeBates have been telling everyone about the tree. According to Romona, people have to come see the tree to believe just how many plums are on it.

“We used to sit under the tree in the shade,” Blake said. “But we can’t this year because the branches are so weighted down with the plums they are touching the ground.”

So this year instead of socializing underneath the tree, the DeBates and friends socialize while picking plums from the fruitful tree.

The DeBates say whenever people visit they almost always leave with a bucket or two of plums.

“Having our friends and family picking and eating our plums has brought us so much enjoyment,” Romona said.

Emily DeBate picks a plum from the tree.