Help! Pictures of Plum Tree-What to do?

kansasfruiterMarch 23, 2009


3 years ago I planted 2 plum and 2 apple. The apple are fine, but looking at the plum as I was getting ready to spray, I found the following. What is it and what should I do?



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theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

kansasfruiter, It doesn't appear to be canker ooze. Because the photos are all close up I'll take a guess and say a Deer or branch rub. It will grow over or you can prune it. Do you have a photo of the whole tree.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 11:00PM
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Could it be Pampas Grass! It is not deer, as they are planted next to a privacy fence. However, between the fence and the trees are these ridiculous Pampas Grass. Huge. Could they cause that kind of damage? I will post a full tree picture tomorrow night. Thanks Ace.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2009 at 11:17PM
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Here is a picture of the entire tree. The other pictures were taken from the other side where the damage is. They are by my house. All of my other trees are at a farm in the country. If the damage is caused by the pampas grass, I could move them?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 3:29PM
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What kind of plum tree is that (is that a nursery tag I see on the tree?), and what was its source? That is a pretty miserable looking little tree for having been in the ground for three years. Your first two photos were a little out of focus, but from what I can see of photo #2, it looks that that branch is dying or already dead. The overall impression conveyed by the color of photo #3 is that the tree is the wrong color and most of it is dead.

Certainly, the site where that tree is planted is not good. Any competing vegetation, most certainly large pampas grass, should be cleared from a circle around the tree to allow it to grow normally. The fence may be another issue. If that fence is on the east or south side, it is cutting off much of the available light that the tree needs to grow.

Take your hand pruner, and start snipping down those branches and twigs from the top down, looking for green in the cambium layer just beneath the bark. If you find only dry brown twigs it is over, but if there is still a little living cambium on the tree, I would transplant it immediately to a better site where it can get full sun without so much competition. Maybe that would be on your farm, not the back yard.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 7:44PM
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juniorpilot(USDA 10 Suns 20)


I would strongly suspect mechanical abrasion injury from the pampas grass. Wind could have repeatedly blown one or more pampas leaves against the same area on a branch and easily caused the injuries in your photos - especially on young branches with tender bark.

The pampas leaves are very sharply saw-toothed on both edges. Repeated rubs are like rubbing a saw blade against the same area. I have read there are some varieties of pampas grass that are not sharply saw-toothed. But I have never seen one.

I've had several cuts on my hands from pampas leaves even when trying to be careful. You probably have too. So you know if your variety is of the razor blade family.

I agree with Jellyman. Get that pampas grass outta there and far enough from the tree that there is no chance of physical contact. And those pampas clumps are going to get bigger still - up to an 8 foot sphere. And the plumes (flowers) can get to 12 feet tall. So make good allowance for this growth both in terms of physical contact and shading.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 11:53PM
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It looks like the grass is doing well and the tree is in bad shape. Why should she give up both by removing the grass?

I say keep the grass if you like it and lose the tree.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 3:18AM
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theaceofspades(7 Long Island)

Kansasfruiter, we all have lost a tree. Make sure the other Stanley plum has mulch and gets watered in summer. I would not plant another plum tree in that spot with the pampas gras, too much competition. Find a stand alone place with full sun. Get a different European plum than Stanley to help cross pollinate both trees. If your soil drains quickly amend the new planting hole soil with organic matter to help retain soil moisture. Here on Long Island we have areas with sandy soil. A nursery by me gives an extra year guarantee when you buy soil amendment 'Bumper Crop' with a tree.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 6:45AM
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The plum is a Stanley Plum. The other plum is about 15 ft. away, but still next to the fence and pampas grass. It is an east fence. I will just move them both. To answer Don, I pruned it a couple of weeks ago and it was green, so it must just look dead on the outside. Would it be OK to dig it up now? Finally, I was concerned that it was a type of fungus. Any concern with moving it into my small orchard at the farm, with those types of wounds?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 2:27PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

It's really hard to see what's going on with these, somewhat out of focus and low light pictures.
Sure, you can transplant now, give a bit of fertilizer the first couple of years....if you don't see much
growth, don't prune any branches if you have done already.
Stanley is a slow grower.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 9:46PM
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You guys are great! What a wealth of knowledge you all have. I truly enjoy reading your posts and have learned so much. Your forum has become my stress reliever at the end of a busy day. Thanks again.--I will try to post a few pics tomorrow of my trees that I got this fall. I am having trouble deciding how much to prune them. The Apricot is about 12 ft. tall.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2009 at 11:03PM
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