Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What's wrong with my flowering plum tree?

My 17 year old flowering plum tree's leaves turned green. This is the first year it has done that. I had it pruned, as I do every other year. It bloomed it's pink blossoms and initially came in with the deep purple leaves. About two weeks ago the leaves turned dark green - what's wrong with it and is there something I need to do?

What's wrong with my flowering plum tree?
Purple-leaved plums are notoriously susceptable to borers, leaf miners, and diseases. They also only live to be about 10 years old, on av erage. So is your tree dying from borers, disease, or old age? You can take a leaf or picture to your local nursery or botanical garden (put the leaf in a sealed plastic bag) and let them have a look - check the condition of the bark as well - is it loose, has the appearance changed? Overall, the consensus about them would indicate you have gotten your money's worth from this specimen. Some fertilizer and a treatment if it does have insects would be waranted, but I would not break the bank trying to extend it's life - "it's dead in dog years", as they say. Meanwhile, I would consider something else more disease and insect resistant as a replacement, so you are not disappointed in the near future with a tree that catches the same illness or insect problem at the same location.
Reply:I don't think your tree has a disease, or insect damage your leaves would be damaged or drop off, not turn green. The purple leaves usually start darker than they end up at the end of the season, perhaps your tree has some type of deficiency.

Perhaps a good fertilize, or a sea weed tonic may help.

If the leaves hadn't started out purple I would have said the pruner had cut out the purple leafed plum and only left the rootstock plant which would have a green leaf.

I don't think your tree is old either, in my dry area there are plently thriving at 30 plus years. The one's in my garden are 20 years old and thriving and they have just gone through 3 years of drought with an occassional water.

I have never treated any of my flowering fruit trees for diseases or insects, and they aren't prone to diseases or borers. Trees that are not well looked after are prone to disease and insect attack, the trick is to water as required and an annual feed.

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