Plum Tree - help??

greenthumb4(8)June 18, 2013

Hello! We just moved into a new home and we have some fruit trees. I'm concerned for our little plum tree. It's produced some beautiful juicy plums, but it's not looking real healthy. We have only been here a week but I want to get started on her quickly. The home hasn't been lived in for four years so I know she's been neglected. I've very unfamiliar with fruit trees of any kind. Can anyone give me any tips? I've attached some pictures to help you see the condition. Thanks in advance! I really really want her to blossom once again.

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fireduck(10a)

G...someone has done a poor job of pruning and maintaining this older tree. Maybe you can bring it back to health. Trim all of the dead wood out....and cut off (flush with connecting branch) all "stumps" that were left to rot and die back. Never leave a stump...always prune back flush to the supplying branch. It will easily heal over. Feed and water and pray.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 6:30PM
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ltilton

That tree is a real mess! On the left-hand limb, I'm seeing a lot of dead and peeling bark. You might have to remove the entire thing, down to those smaller branches that might make new low scaffolds. [Maybe too low]

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 8:29PM
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greenthumb4(8)

Thank you both for your replies to my help question. I appreciate it very much! I'm going to take both your advise and try my best to save her :( It saddens me not more people take care of fruit trees more....thank you again and I will keep you posted on her progress. Hopefully she still has some life left! :) (I posted another picture of her overall)
PS. She bared fruit the first week we were here (last week). Maybe a hand full of plums. That was it though. No more and it doesn't seem there are any more babies coming. We have had plenty of rain prior to us getting here and a few days of rain since we arrived, so I know it's not lack of water....

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 9:18PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I would chainsaw it and put a new one in. There are many very good varieties out there. Having said that...if you do keep it, i would butcher it back hard and try to rebuild... that tree is in very rough shape, so no promises...

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 10:28PM
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marknmt

All sound advice above, but I think the tree can be saved and be productive. It is rough, true, but I've seen some very rough plums that just seem to find a way to keep on keeping on. And you know this one is suited to your conditions, or it wouldn't have lasted this long with the treatment/neglect it has gotten.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 10:25AM
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murkwell

You have plenty of room. Its crazy to cut down a producing tree unless it is posing some danger or you have other producing trees and won't miss it.

Better to plant another, or 5. Meanwhile you can experiment with rejuvenating this tree. In 3 or 4 years maybe it will be doing great, or maybe it won't , but you'll have another tree or 5 to enjoy the fruits from.

If you still feel the urge, you can cut it down then with much less remorse.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 7:38PM
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ltilton

I see a lot of dead in that 2nd photo, that's where to start.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 8:56PM
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marknmt

A friend of mine and I are in the process of rejuvenating a Wealthy apple, and it's a mess. Frankly, I don't know whether it'll work. But we've taken out the dead, diseased and damaged wood, as well as the crossers, and are trying to pick what of the new growth to train. There's a lot of new growth to work with, although the tree is at least fifty years old. That tree really wants to live, and with good treatment it just might.

The big challenge for it is sun. It just doesn't get enough, but not much we can do about that.

Point, I guess, is that there's a lot of trees out there that were well established before I moved into the neighborhood 36 years ago that are still going strong. It's a mistake to give up on them too soon, and there's a good chance of learning something in the effort at any rate.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 10:11PM
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