joe2211
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2018 6:04 pm
Location: Delaware County, NY - Zone 5a

Plum Tree problems

A few years ago, I had several fruit trees planted on my property. Different varieties of Apple, pear, and plum. Upstate NY, Hardiness Zone 5a.

Among other issues, I seem to be having big problems with my plum trees. There are two Burbank and one Santa Rosa.

The first year after planting, there were a few plums. After that, nothing. Last year, it seemed the Santa Rosa died. No leaves. Both Burbank trees had leaves but no fruit (likely because the other wasn't there to cross-pollinate?)

This year we replaced the dead Santa Rosa with a Methley plum and also added a new Santa Rosa plum.

Existing trees are about 8ft tall. New trees are about 4ft tall. The soil is not the best (quite a bit of red clay in the area) and everything seems to grow rather slowly (Although there are plenty of wild apple trees that fare very well).

While all my other trees are full of leaves and blossoms, the Methley plum and new Santa Rosa have no leaves. Also, only one of the existing Burbank plums has leaves. The other appears to be dead or dying. (We also planted a Northstar Cherry at the same time, which is full of leaves and blossoms).

Am I doing something wrong? Is this just a bad location for plums? Is there anything I can do to correct the situation and help these trees thrive?

Thanks in advance.

JONA
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Re: Plum Tree problems

Hie Joe.
Sorry to hear of your problem.
My suspicion would fall on Bacterial Canker. Once any stone fruits are infected it can be a devil to eradicate. The devil then lays in wait in the soil to reinfect any new planting’s..
If you have a fresh area to plant your plums try there. It’s the stone fruits that are affected.
John

joe2211
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2018 6:04 pm
Location: Delaware County, NY - Zone 5a

Re: Plum Tree problems

Thanks for the info.

Is there any way to confirm Bacterial Canker as the problem?

Also, how far away is considered a "fresh" area?

If the problem is in the soil, that would definitely explain one of the new trees dying (it was put in the same hole as the one it replaced). However, the other new tree was planted 50-75 feet away from that area. It is actually closer to the plum tree that has survived. It is also fairly close to the new cherry tree that seems to be doing well.

The second plum that seems to have died is also over 75 feet away from all the others.

JONA
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Re: Plum Tree problems

Sorry to hear of your dilemma Joe.
As you say...the one planted in the same spot as the old tree is always going to be at risk. But....I’m having doubts that canker is your problem.
Are you happy with your supplier?
A plum tree of just four feet is not a strong tree at all. I would expect even a maiden tree to be around six foot.
It’s best if you can buy your trees straight from the nursery...not via a GC.
When did you plant your trees?
If your soil is not too good with lots of clay then you should spring plant...not early winter.
It’s important that your tree does not sit in cold wet soil for months before it gets into growth as a lot of root death can occur in the meantime.
Sorry I can’t be more specific..but don’t give up Joe.
John

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Plum Tree problems

Did you take pictures of the trees when they were first planted and since then? Some visual history might help understand what’s going on.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

joe2211
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Location: Delaware County, NY - Zone 5a

Re: Plum Tree problems

Jona,

Original trees were planted in spring. I used a local landscaper who purchased from a nursery. He did a decent job, but in the end I wasn’t too happy. Even he admitted the nursery didn’t have a great selection at the time. Of all the trees planted at that time, 2 of 3 plums are now dead.

Recent planting was done by me in early spring. Trees came from a local garden center and the selection wasn’t very good. I see your point - perhaps I need to find a better source. I was trying to stay local, but the area options are slim.


Apple star...

I should have some photos from the original plantings. Plenty of travel lately and won’t be home for a while. Once back I will see what I can find.



Thanks all for the input.

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Plum Tree problems

This is where I’m going to order my next fruit trees from. I haven’t purchased from here yet, but they have all the information JONA has recommended knowing in the past.

https://www.cumminsnursery.com/
Cummins Nursery is a small, family-run fruit tree nursery located in Ithaca, a small town in the beautiful Finger Lakes district of western New York.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

JONA
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Location: Sussex. England

Re: Plum Tree problems

It really does pay to buy your trees straight from the grower if you can. They want to be proud of their trees and are far more liable to sell you the best.
Remember that your tree could be with you for years, and a strong one will repay you very quickly.
John

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