Plum tree leaves dying

How to Save a Dying Tree

Trees are living organisms that live, fall sick, and die just like human beings. But hey, do not lose hope. This article will guide you about revival of dying trees. …

Trees add life and color to your gardens. They not only provide fruits, flowers, and shade, but also play host to a variety of beautiful birds and creatures. A healthy, beautiful tree can therefore be a prized ornament of your garden. This is just one side of the story though! A fungal, bacterial or viral infection, shortage of water, and lack of essential nutrients can make your tree extremely weak, leading to its untimely death. Most of the trees are robust enough to fight these problems. But there are times when you may have to intervene and save the tree.

Identifying Signs of a Dying Tree

You will all agree that a layman cannot distinguish between a sick tree and a dead tree. It is assumed that, in either cases, the tree will look dried up, lifeless and without any traces of green foliage. Before you invest your time and resources for reviving a tree, it is essential to identify whether the tree is dead or dying. Some of the first tell-tale signs of a dying tree are listed below.

✿ Scanty or No Leaves

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There is a definite difference between trees shedding leaves during the autumn season and trees without leaves on account of sickness. Such trees, with bare branches, look like skeletons. At times, dying trees may have foliage that is scantier than a healthy tree of the same genre. At other times, such trees are known to have foliage on just a couple of branches or on a tiny area, with rest of the branches completely bare.

✿ Dried up Wood

Another sign to look out for is extreme dryness of wood. The branches look lifeless and can crack into pieces if pressure is applied. Unlike a healthy branch, dried branches do not bend. This lack of elasticity makes them brittle.

✿ Decaying

You cannot miss this sign. A growth of mushrooms or other fungi on the tree’s surface is a giveaway that the tree has a soft decaying trunk or branches. A fungal problem is more serious than it may look. This is because trees decay from their center towards the outer edge. By the time the fungal growth is noticed, the tree is already damaged to a great extent.

✿ Cracks on Trunks

A dying tree may start displaying vertical, continuous cracks on their trunks. Similarly, it might lose the outer smooth layer of its bark.

✿ Leaning Tree Structure

While the tree starts dying, its roots lose their strength and ability to hold the tree upright in the soil. As a result, you will notice that the tree starts bending or leaning rather awkwardly towards one particular side. If the tree in question is huge, it can pose a serious threat to safety of your house.

✿ Weak Branches

The branches of a dying tree are likely to lose strength and give way easily under the weight of its own leaves.

How to Revive a Dying Tree

It is always advisable to consult a certified arborist to revive your sick tree. If this is not possible, you can still salvage a dying tree with a little guidance and understanding. I have listed below some common plant diseases with their recommended cures.

Dutch Elm Disease

This disease has severely affected the Elm trees all over America. The disease spreads like a wildfire from one tree to another on account of ascomycete microfungi carried by the American or European bark beetle. The disease can also spread to other Elm trees in the vicinity through the roots of an affected tree. You may notice wilting and gradual yellowing of branches from the crown towards the base. Branches start turning brown and dry up.

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Since this disease is more likely to start from the crown, it is recommended that the infected parts be cut down. Similarly, you may administer some therapeutic fungicidal injections to the plant. Treatments are likely to be successful, provided infection is noticed in early stages.

American Chestnut Blight

This disease is caused due to a pathogen called cryphonectria parasitica. You may notice unusual orange-colored spots on the branches and tree trunk. A sunken type of canker is formed on the tree which may eventually girdle the tree’s surface. You may also notice yellow colored spores exuding from the tree’s affected area under humid conditions.

You may either opt for a soil compress method or hypovirulence transfer. These procedures can be done only by a professional.

Fire Blight

This disease mostly affects fruit trees like apple, raspberry, crabapple, pear, etc. It is contagious in nature and happens due to infection from a pathogen called erwinia amylovora. An affected tree looks blackened and shrunken, as if it were scorched by a fire.

Experts suggest that the affected area be cut off, as soon as the first symptoms are noticed. Antibiotics sprays made from terramycin or streptomycin may be sprayed all over the tree. These methods tend to yield positive results.

Powdery Mildew

This disease is caused due to a wide variety of fungi falling under the order Erysiphales. It can affect a wide variety of plants in your backyard under extremely humid weather conditions. The disease starts from the lower leaves of the trees and heads up to the crown. One of the first symptom of this infection is the appearance of a white powdery layer on foliage and fruits of a tree. In advanced stages, the white patches start turning gray or black in color.

Fungicides such as propiconazole and triademefon are known as the most effective solutions for this plant disease.

Sudden Oak Death

This disease is caused due to a pathogen called phytophthora ramorum. Prominent symptoms include splitting of bark and exuding of a dark brown sap. The tree foliage starts turning pale and will eventually wilt away. New shoots rising from the tree also tend to wilt.

Experts recommend spraying of phosphonate mixed with a surfactant on the oak tree trunk. Effectiveness of this treatment can be seen in about five weeks time.

A Few More Suggestions

✿ Winters in the US tend to be long and severe. They can dry up some trees in your garden. Try root feeding such dry trees with a solution of water and fertilizer.
✿ At times, under-watering is the root cause behind death of a tree. Understand the water requirement of the tree and water it adequately. If you find it difficult to spare time for watering, it’s best to invest in an automated garden sprinkler system. This system can be set up with a special timer to suit your requirements.
✿ Avoid running the lawn mower near the exposed roots of trees in your garden. The sharp blade of a mower can permanently damage the tree roots. Similarly, the damaged part of the roots can accumulate moisture and attract a host of bacteria and fungi.
✿ Avoid sprinkling weed fertilizer close to the trees.
✿ Trees of different varieties require different methods of pruning. Make sure that the method used by you is suitable for your tree. If you are not sure about pruning, then take professional help.
✿ When mulching around the trees, leave sufficient breathing space for the tree roots. This will help to avoid the root rot.
✿ Make sure to cut away and destroy any section of the tree that is infected. This is help to control spreading of the infection.
✿ Always sterilize all knives and shears used to cut away sections of a diseased plant. For this, you may use household disinfectants or bleach. You can also opt for a heat sterilization procedure, provided it is suitable for your equipment.
✿ When making organic fertilizers in your backyard, make sure that none of the diseased plant material gets used.
✿ Make sure to water your diseased or dying plant regularly. You may also add some plant nutrients to ensure tree’s good strength to retaliate the disease. It is recommended that you use natural fertilizers for better health of your trees.
✿ Sometimes, trees start dying due to root rot on account of over-watering. Water the tree only when the soil around it appears to be dry and fragmented. If there is a water-logging at the foot of the tree, make sure to devise a proper drainage system for the same. You may opt for removing soil from water-logged area and exposing the roots to fresh air for a few days.

I hope these suggestions will prove to be helpful in your endeavor to save your precious tree. After all, it would really feel bad to lose a tree after spending your time, energy and money on it.

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Plum Tree Losing Leaves: Why Is Plum Tree Dropping Leaves

Why is my plum tree dropping leaves? If this is a question and you need a solution, be advised that there are many reasons why your plum tree is losing leaves. First you need to try to identify the cause and then prepare a plan of attack to resolve the problem.

Preventing Leaf Drop on Plum Trees

Control methods such as preventative tactics, cultural practices and chemical control can be used to combat the issue, sometimes singly and sometimes in conjunction.

Most problems of leaf drop on your plum trees are cultural and environmental in nature, so examine these first. Some of these may include:

  • Inadequate water or nutrients
  • Space or sunlight inadequacies
  • Deficient soil
  • Low pH
  • Temperature
  • Root damage from cultivation

Making the appropriate choice of tree to plant and purchasing healthy disease resistant varieties is the key to preventing and managing any future problems.

Instituting a practice of integrated pest management (IPM) is the best way to prevent or manage pest infestations. IPM consists of identifying the pest, whether insect or disease, and learning about its life cycle, foresee and avert problems by reducing tree stressors, and choosing the least toxic control method, which can be anything from hand picking bugs to horticultural oil and insecticidal soap applications.

Good sanitation practices are another preventative measure that can be taken. Cleaning up debris, weeds, and grass from around the base of the tree can thwart over wintering insects and fungi that may be the cause of the plum tree leaves falling off.

Why is Plum Tree Dropping Leaves?

Listed below are the most common reasons for a plum losing leaves:

Nutrient deficiencies – Nutrient deficiencies such as a boron, iron, manganese, sulfur or nitrogen, may contribute to the plum tree leaves falling off. Stone fruit trees need nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.

Consult a nursery or extension office for information on the correct chemical fertilizer and timing for application, or an organic fertilizer (such as composted manure and yard waste) can be used. Foliar application of seaweed extract, compost tea or fish emulsion are also great.

Improper watering practices – Watering properly is important to prevent leaf drop. Newly planted trees should be watered in 6-8 inches down in the soil about two to three times a week through the fall and keep organic mulch around the tree (6 inches away from the trunk) to aid in water retention.

Phototoxicity – Phototoxicity may also result in a plum tree losing leaves. Phototoxicity often happens when summer oil sprays, like neem oil or insecticidal soaps, are applied when the tree is under stress from dry conditions or when temps are over 80 F. (27 C.).

Diseases – Bacterial leaf spot or shot hole disease may also afflict your plum tree and cause leaf drop, sometimes severely. Wet weather makes both these diseases worse. A winter application of a copper fungicide can prevent these diseases, but can’t be used during the growing season due to phototoxicity. Use Agri-Mycin 17 Streptomycin now and next year before the disease hits.

A number of fungal diseases may also contribute to lost leaves on a plum tree, and these include: Armillaria root and crown rot, Phytophthora, and Verticillium wilt. Foliar diseases, such as plum leaf spot, may be the culprit too. Sanitation, by raking and disposing of infected leaves should be implemented and a fungicide may be applied after the petals drop. Post harvest, a mixture of copper sulfate and lime can be applied.

Pests – Spider mites or an aphid infestation may also result in plum tree leaf drop. Also, the honeydew excreted by aphids leads to sooty mold. A strong spray of water can reduce the aphid population and a dormant oil spray at bud swell can be applied.

Diseases in Thundercloud Plum Trees

The thundercloud plum tree (Prunus cerasifera ‘Thundercloud’) is a small deciduous tree that produces edible purple fruits in the fall. The fragrant white or pink flowers appear in the spring. The foliage emerges ruby red and turns reddish purple as it matures. Thundercloud plum trees grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 5 to 8 in full sun and well-drained soil. They grow best in acidic soil, but will also grow in alkaline soil, and are moderately drought tolerant. They are prone to several fungal diseases that affect the trunk, foliage and fruits.

Trunk and Branch Diseases

Poor growth and undersized leaves are the symptoms of armillaria crown and root rot on thundercloud plum trees. It is caused by soilborne fungus that produces mats of white growth under the bark of affected trees.

Crown galls are soft spongy wart-like growths on the crown or roots of thundercloud plum trees. As the galls mature, they become rough and hard, and may girdle the trunk and kill the affected tree.

The cytospora fungi forms elongated cankers on the trunks and branches of thundercloud plum trees. It is a perennial canker that continues growing each year and causes discolored foliage and drooping branches.

Foliage Diseases

The foliage of thundercloud plum trees can develop small circular leaf spots. The leaf spots are purplish and turn brown as they get bigger. The centers of the leaf spots may drop out causing shot holes.

Rust causes yellow spots on the upper sides of the leaves, and brown spore masses on the underside of the leaves. The leaves appear yellowish and drop prematurely.

Leaves affected with silverleaf are ashy gray in color with a green tinge and curl slightly. As the disease progresses, the affected branch declines and dies.

Blossom and Fruit Diseases

Brown-end blossom rot affects the blooms on thundercloud plum trees in the spring. Infected blooms turn light brown with buff or gray areas of spores. The disease can spread to small twigs and branches.

Plum pocket disease on thundercloud plum trees causes distorted growth of leaves, limbs and twigs. Infected fruits turn yellow and become swollen and bladder-like.

Russeting causes scabs to appear on the fruits three to four weeks after full bloom. As the disease progresses, the shiny scabby areas form irregular bands, which turn brown and become rough.


When should I spray my purple-leaf plum tree for the mites and disease they seem to get every year?

A: That is a problem-prone tree, in my opinion. The dark leaves are nice, but it usually ends up getting scale and black knot in addition to mites and assorted other issues.

They also seem to end up leaning after windstorms.

Anyway, I don’t suggest spraying anything, other than possibly a dormant-season spray of horticultural oil in late winter to smother scale, aphid and mite eggs.

Unless this is a valuable tree that you really don’t want to lose or see damaged, it’s just too complicated to put the right sprays on at the right time and right intervals.

Mite control requires a different product than scale control, for example. Diseases need a fungicide, but those vary depending on what disease you’re trying to prevent. Then there’s the question of whether it’s a good idea to spray for something that you may or may not get.

Even the right insecticide is useless if you spray it at the wrong time or if you’re spraying according to the calendar and that year’s weather has altered the usual bug-emergence time.

Pesticides also bring up the issue of safety and environmental concerns and whether your spray is also killing a beneficial insect that might’ve controlled the pest in time or given some other benefit to the landscape.

And on top of that, sprays are expensive and time-consuming to mix, apply and clean up.

If it were my tree, I’d just watch for signs of trouble and then decide if any damage is A.) temporary and cosmetic or a serious threat, and B.) worth taking action.

Then depending on what’s causing the trouble, I’d go with the least toxic avenue to address that particular problem.

A few stiff blasts of the hose can control a mite outbreak, for example.

Neem oil is a low-impact, organic product that often repels Japanese beetles.

In my yard, if a plant is going to end up with repeated trouble unless I do something, it should be more worried about me, my shovel and that new plant I’ve been eyeing than any bug or disease.

Plum, Flowering-Brown Rot Blossom Blight


Cherry, Flowering (Prunus spp.)-Brown Rot Blossom Blight

Cause The fungi Monilinia fructicola and M. laxa can incite both a blossom blight, a twig and branch dieback. Fungi survive year to year on infected twigs, branches, old flower parts, or mummified fruit of other Prunus spp. Conidia are produced on infected plant debris in the tree when the temperature is above 40°F. Wind and rain blow spores (conidia and ascospores) to healthy blossoms in spring to begin the infection process during wet weather. Infection does not occur below 50°F and will occur for M. laxa above 55°F. Flowers can be blighted any time floral tissue is exposed but are most susceptible at full bloom. More spores can be produced on this tissue, initiating several more disease cycles during the spring. Under severe conditions, non-flowering shoots or leaves can be infected directly.

Both fruiting and ornamental plums (purple leaf plums), peaches, nectarines, prunes, cherries, almonds, and apricots are susceptible. Susceptible cultivars include Prunus x cistena, P. x blireiannna while resistant cultivars include P. cerasifera ‘Frankthrees’ (Mt. St. Helens), Krauter Vesuvius, Newport, and Thundercloud. During the cool wet spring of 2010 cultivars Krauter Vesuvius and Thundercloud were badly affected in western Oregon.

Symptoms Infected flower parts turn light brown and may develop areas of buff-color (M. fructicola) or gray (M. laxa) spores. Infected petals may look water soaked, which can be mistaken for frost injury. Flowers generally collapse as the fungus invades through the pedicel. Infected flowers often adhere to twigs and spurs through harvest or even winter. Depending on the fungus and plant infected, the disease may continue into twigs or spurs. Lesions may remain discrete or girdle the twig, causing all distal portions to die. Profuse gumming also may occur in these areas. Again, buff or gray spores (in sporodochia) may develop on these necrotic twigs.

Cultural control These must be supplemented by chemical control methods especially in the wettest areas such as west of the Cascade Range.

  • Remove and destroy infected twigs and branches in summer.
  • Use moderate amounts of nitrogen fertilizer.
  • Plant resistant cultivars.

Chemical control Do not use on edible fruit or within 12 months of harvest. Only one (1) or two (2) applications during bloom are needed most years. Tank-mix and/or alternate products with different modes of action to prevent the build-up of resistant fungi. Limit the use of any one group during crop production.

  • Banner MAXX at 2 to 4 fl oz/100 gal water. Group 3 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Bonide Fung-onil Multi-purpose Fungicide at 2.25 teaspoons/gal water. H
  • Chipco 26019 N/G at 1 to 2.5 lb/100 gal water. Group 2 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Daconil Weather Stik at 1.4 pints/100 gal water. Group M5 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Decree 50 WDG at 0.75 to 1.5 lb/100 gal water. Group 17 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Mural at 3.5 oz/100 gal water. Can be phytotoxic to certain apple and cherry cultivars. Group 7 + 11 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Pageant at 12 oz/100 gal water. Group 7 + 11 fungicide. 12-hr reentry.
  • Spectracide Immunox at 1 fl oz/gal water. H
  • Thiophanate-methyl-based products. Group 1 fungicides. 12-hr reentry.
    • Cleary’s 3336 EG at 12 to 16 oz/100 gal water.
    • OHP 6672 4.5 F at 10.75 to 20 fl oz/100 gal water.

A Tree to Try — Not a Purpleleaf Plum (plenty of other pleasing purple plant picks)

Even in Olympia purple leaf plums are over-planted, however these may be the right tree for the right place in this particular instance. Photo by Ben Thompson/DNR

What is it about purple leaves that people find so attractive? Whatever the reason, purple-leaved trees are here to stay and none is more prevalent in the Northwest than purpleleaf plum (Prunus cerasifera or Prunus x blireanna). Popular cultivars of purpleleaf plum trees include ‘Autropurpea,’ ‘Thundercloud,’ and ‘Krauter Vesuvius’.

To their credit, purpleleaf plums are hardy and adaptable trees with attractive spring blooms and tolerance for urban stresses. Their small size at maturity makes them an option for constrained urban planting spaces, such as those near powerlines.

Fundamentally there is nothing wrong with purpleleaf plum trees but that’s the problem. People love them and they are EVERYWHERE as a result. A diverse urban forest is a healthy urban forest, but with so many purpleleaf plums out there in the landscape there’s really no reason to plant more of them.

In his book, “Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Sixth Edition,” retired Horticulture Professor Michael A. Dirr remarks on the over-planting of purpleleaf plum, “…there is something about a purple-leaved beast that inspires people to spend money.”

That inspiration to spend money has captured the attention of the nursery trade, which has responded in spades to meet our demands for pretty, purple leaves. The following trees are alternative purple-leaved trees that deserve your consideration if leaf color is non-negotiable.

Aside from leaf color, other characteristics of the following trees can differ greatly from purpleleaf plums. Evaluate the unique characteristics of each tree before selecting the right tree for the right place.

Evening light snowbell in the Schmidt Arboretum. Photo by Linden Lampman/DNR

Japanese Snowbell (Styrax japonicus, ‘Evening Light’): Native to China, Japan, and Korea. This brand-new cultivar matures at just 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide with an upright, vase-shaped growth habit and rich, dark purple leaves. Leaves may take on shades of olive green in shadier planting locations. Blooms white in Spring.

Redbud (Cercis canadensis, ‘Forest Pansy’): Native to eastern North America. A small utility-friendly tree with shiny, heart-shaped leaves. This tree blooms in spring with small, dense, and beautiful pink or purple flowers that emerge directly from twigs and stems prior to leaf break.

Crabapple (Malus spp., ‘Royal Raindrops’): Native to Europe and North America. This disease-resistant crabapple variety has an excellent, upright form and the dark red fruits it produces are very small and persistent, making this ornamental crab tree a viable candidate for planting in the right-of-way.

Plume-like blooms on this smoketree in Olympia. Photo by Ben Thompson/DNR

Smoketree (Cotinus coggrygria): Native from Southern Europe to Central China. A large shrub or small tree with an irregular, spreading form and rounded, ovate leaves. It has airy and delicate blooms in Spring that collectively resemble smoke plumes, a characteristic that gives this interesting tree its name.

Katsura (Cercidiphylum japonica, ‘Rotfuchs’ or ‘Red Fox’): Native to China and Japan. “Rotfuchs” is a German cultivar, the name of which translates to ‘Red Fox’ in English. This is an upright and compact tree with purple leaves in spring that morph to a blue-green color just in time to start changing again to the gold, red, and orange fall colors that katsura trees are known for.

Japanese Maple(s) (Acer palmatum): Native to Japan. No particular cultivars are recommended since Japanese maples are grown in a prolific variety of sizes, textures, colors and growth forms. Some Japanese maples are upright while others are weeping. Leaves are palmate however some have lacey-textured leaves with deep sinuses called ‘cutleaf” varieties, while others have a broader leaf blades with fine serrations along the edges. Colors range from rich purple to shades of burgundy and maroon depending on the cultivar.

A weeping cutleaf Japanese maple. Photo by Ben Thompson/DNR This is probably the Japanese maple cultivar ‘bloodgood’. Photo by Ben Thompson/DNR Another Japanese maple example. Photo by Ben Thompson/DNR.

Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana, ‘Shubert’): Native to Eastern North America. Leaves emerge green in Spring but fade to deep purple by summer on this medium sized landscape tree. Flowers are white and showy. Fruits are small and attractive to birds and other wildlife. Pest and disease issues are common.

Leaves of European beech with trunk and buttress roots in background. Photo by Ben Thompson/DNR

European Beech (Fagus sylvatica, ‘Autropurpea’): Native to Europe. A very large tree with a spreading canopy and large buttress roots at maturity, making this tree appropriate for only the largest of planting sites, such as in parks. Bark is distinctively thin, smooth, and light gray in color. A very stately specimen tree.

Norway Maple (Acer platanoides, ‘Crimson King’). Native to Europe. This tree has been included strictly because of its leaf color. Norway maples are invasive in native ecosystems and largely undesirable for planting. DNR does not recommend these trees for planting except under very limited circumstances where few other trees will survive and invasive potential is scant, such as parking lot islands in central Washington, for example.

Purple Leaf Plum Tree – Knowledgebase Question

Purple Leaf Plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Atropurpurea’)
Posted by kimkats
Congratulations on your first home and first tree! Purple plum is not native, so it can struggle with our aridity and alkaline soil. However, we can not significantly influence humidity or soil type, so planting around it will not be helpful. In fact, it may do more harm because the plants around it would require a different watering schedule, and they won’t alter the humidity. The majority of plant problems in our area are caused by ineffective watering, and learning the basics of how to water (any type of plant, not just your plum tree) will help you grow healthy plants and save lots of time, money and frustration! I’m going to provide alot of info on that topic below. Without knowing exactly how much water your drip system is putting out in those 14 minutes, I can’t say definately, but from my experience it is most unlikely that your tree is being watered effectively. Here’s why:
Drip emitters come in different “sizes” based on how much water they put out, such as 1, 2 or 4 gallons. Running drip emitters daily for short periods is seldom effective because the water doesn’t soak deep enough to moisten the root ball. For example, an emitter that puts out one gallon per hour would only put a quart of water on the ground in 15 minutes. A good way to visualize this is to imagine filling a Big Gulp cup and pouring it on the ground. Does that seem like sufficient water for a tree? Nope! For mature trees, each irrigation should soak 3 feet deep; for newly planted trees, about 2 to 2.5, depending on the size/depth of the rootball when it was planted. Also, water should be applied evenly all around the tree’s circumference at the dripline (the outer edge of the canopy where rain would “drip” off the tree). This is where its feeder roots are growing and spreading, and actively absorbing water. Applying water with one emitter right at the base of a trunk doesn’t do anything as the tree grows. So, move those emitters outwards as the tree expands. You may need to do this twice a year, or perhaps annually, depending on growth rate.
Use a soil probe (any long, pointed piece of metal, such as a long BBQ skewer, or a sharpened piece of rebar) to poke into the soil and check how far water has penetrated. The probe moves easily through moist soil, but stops when it hits hard dry soil. There are numerous variables involved for watering schedules, such as type of soil, how fast or slow it drains, sun and wind exposure at your site, temperature, age and condition of the plants and much more. Use the information above to determine how moist the soil is before automatically applying more water. It’s essential that you allow your drip system to run long enough for water to penetrate the appropriate depth. Depending on the size emitters, soil type, etc. this might take several or many hours. You can change the emitters to put out more gallons per hour, or add more emitters. As the tree grows, you’ll likely have to do this.
Here’s why watering deeply is essential, in addition to just ensuring the roots get wet. Desert soil and water both contain salts, which can accumulate in the root zone over time. Salts dissolve in the water, and buildup where the water stops penetrating. Short periods of watering cause salts to accumulate in the top layers of soil, roots absorb it, and eventually damage or kill your plant. Salt burn shows up as yellowing and then browning along leaf margins. Deep watering or leaching, prevents this by flushing the salts past the root zone. As a tree grows, its new roots tips, where nutrients are being absorbed, spread out laterally. Expand your watering zone out PAST the tree’s canopy edge, or dripline, as it grows. As the tree grows, continue expanding that water zone. If you have an irrigation system, you need to move the emitters out. Or drag a hose out further.
With any plant in the desert, your goal is to water slowly, deeply and as infrequently as possible for that plant’s needs.
Here are some watering guidelines for establishing desert-adapted plants in summer from Desert Landscaping for Beginners, published by Arizona Master Gardener Press. Weeks Since Planting 1-2, water every 1-2 days; Weeks 3-4, water every 3-4 days; weeks 5-6, water every 4-6 days; weeks 7-8, water every 7 days. Gradually extend the watering as plants establish. Note these are guidelines, which will vary depending on your soil type, microclimate, etc. and they apply to desert-adapted plants. Your plum tree is not entirely desert-adapted, but not entirely high-water-use either, so you may need to monitor it until you understand your microclimate (soil, weather, exposure, etc.) Desert adapted trees that are already established take watering every 7-21 days in summer; non-native, high water use trees every 7-14 days. In winter, water less frequently.
I suggest that you get a soil probe, and after your drip runs, use the probe to see how far water penetrates. Repeat the drip in 15 or 30 minute increments until you determine that the water soaks through the root depth. Then you’ll know how long to program the timer for. Good luck!

Prunus cerasifera

  • Whole Plant Traits: Plant Type: Tree Leaf Characteristics: Deciduous Habit/Form: Dense Rounded Spreading Vase Growth Rate: Rapid Maintenance: High Texture: Medium
  • Fruit: Fruit Color: Red/Burgundy Display/Harvest Time: Summer Fruit Type: Drupe Fruit Length: 1-3 inches Fruit Description: 1 in. reddish fruit in summer, not an effective fruit for eating or display.
  • Flowers: Flower Color: Pink White Flower Inflorescence: Head Flower Value To Gardener: Fragrant Flower Bloom Time: Spring Flower Shape: Radial Flower Petals: 4-5 petals/rays Flower Size: 1-3 inches Flower Description: Fragrant single pink or white flowers 1/4″-1″ across, appear in mid-spring before leaves emerge.
  • Leaves: Leaf Characteristics: Deciduous Leaf Color: Gold/Yellow Purple/Lavender Red/Burgundy Leaf Value To Gardener: Showy Leaf Type: Simple Leaf Arrangement: Alternate Leaf Shape: Elliptical Ovate Leaf Margin: Serrate Hairs Present: No Leaf Length: 1-3 inches Leaf Width: 1-3 inches Leaf Description: Alternate, simple, 1.5″ to 2.5″ long and 1″-1.5″ wide , ovate to ellipical, serrated margins, rounded base, acute apex. There are glands at the leaf base near the petole. No significant fall color
  • Bark: Bark Color: Dark Brown Red/Burgundy Bark Description: Red-brown with many horizontal lenticles.
  • Stem: Stem Is Aromatic: No
  • Landscape: Landscape Location: Small Space Landscape Theme: Asian Garden Cottage Garden Design Feature: Border Flowering Tree Hedge Screen/Privacy Small Tree Specimen Attracts: Songbirds Problems: Short-lived

My plum trees leaves have started to turn yellow & are dropping what could be the cause & is it likely to die off?

just copied this from the RHS website

x x x

Plum trees seem to grow in a very untidy fashion. They seemingly will never look as neat as an apple tree after pruning. That said the following tips should yield you some nice fruit.

If your tree has rather yellow leaves it is probably short of mineral such as iron or magnesium or needs a general fertilizer. Apply in a foliar spray to the leaves before flowering or once the fruitlets are bigger ie in late May,June or even after harvest.

If you have silvery leaves on a branch this is a sign that the tree has silver leaf. This is bad news! Without wasting time cut off the affected branch and any dead branches and burn said branches. You will see the dark diseased wood as you cut in the centre. Try and cut back until it all looks good. The feed with fertiliser and repeat each year. Unfortunately the chances of saving a diseased tree are small but this will prolong its life and stop the disease spreading to other plum trees.

Ideally always cut out any dead branches in the spring.

Pick fruit the day before the flies arrive! They are more of a pest than wasps. If you have wasp or fly damage you have left the fruit too long on the tree.
or like Louloubelle said may be thirsty?

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Plum and prune


Plum, Prunus domestica, is a deciduous tree in the family Rosaceae grown for its edible fruits. The plum tree has an erect growing habit with a spreading canopy. It possesses large, thick, oval-shaped leaves which are darker in color on the upper surface than on the lower and which often have a serrated edge.The tree produces buds on terminal spurs on the branches with each bud generally producing 3–5 flowers. The fruit is a fleshy oval fruit with a single seed contained within a stone. The color of the fruit varies with variety and fruits can be purple, blue, green, red or yellow. Plum trees can attain a height of between 6 and 10 m (20–33 ft) and can live for periods in excess of 50 years if properly maintained. Plum may also be referred to as European plum and originates from Southwest Asia

Plum tree
Plum tree
Plum blossoms
Plum foliage
Plum fruits
Plum leaf ‹ ×


Plum fruits are commonly consumed fresh or used to make jams or jellies. Plums may be dried to produce prunes.


Basic requirements Plums grow best in areas with warm summers and require a summer temperature between 20 and 30°C (68-86°F) for the fruit to mature. The trees also have a chilling requirement to break dormancy. Plum trees grow best in well-draining sandy loams in areas that receive full sun but can will grow in a variety of soils as long as water does not sit on the surface after heavy rainfall. It can be beneficial to plant the trees on elevated land to allow cold air to drain away. Trees will grow optimally in soils with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 Propagation Plum trees are propagated vegetatively to maintain the desirable genetic characteristic of the parent. Plum rootstocks are commonly used but plum may also be grafted onto peach, Japanese apricot and almond rootstocks. Plum trees should be planted in full sun. Plant bare root trees in a pre-dug hole which is slightly wider than the root ball. Backfill the hole so that the tree is planted to its original planting depth ensuring that the bud union is above the soil line. It is usually possible to identify this from changes in the color of the bark. If planting multiple trees they should be spaced 2.0–2.5 m (6.6–8.2 ft) apart. Most plum varieties are self fruitful but cross pollination may be required for fruit set. Plums are pollinated by honeybees and it can be beneficial to maintain bee hives in orchards. General care and maintenance Plums should be pruned annually, including the year of planting and are best trained to an open center. When the tree is bearing fruit, it is important to thin the fruits to prevent the tree from over-bearing. Aim to have 1 fruit every 15–20 cm (6–7 in). This allows fruits to become larger and prevents the tree from reducing production the following year. Trees should be watered regularly during the growing season to aid with fruit development. During dry periods, water trees every 10 to 14 days. Apply water deeply and widely, to at least the width of the canopy. Trees will also benefit from the application of a nitrogen fertilizer in Spring. Harvesting Plum fruits should be allowed to mature on the tree. Fruits can be picked by hand when the skin has turned the color typical of the variety being grown.
CABI Crop Protection Compendium. (2014). Prunus domestica (plum) datasheet. Available at: . Paid subscription required. Ogawa, J. M., Zehr, E. I., Bird, G. W., Ritchie, D. F., Uriu, K. & Uyemoto, J. K. (eds) (1995). Compendium of Stone Fruit Diseases. American Phytopathological Society Press. Available at: Available for purchase from APS Press. Parker, D. (1999). Plum. Clemson Cooperative Extension. Available at: . Free to access. Strang, J. (2012). Plums. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Available at: . Free to access.

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