What caused this?

appleseed70July 14, 2014

This is a Damson plum I got from ADF several years ago as a 18" whip. It is just begginning it's 4th or 5th year and as you can see has grown phenomenally. It was even started in a pot and when transplanted was root bound as all get out, infact: roots had punched thru the plastic pot as I had buried the pot for winter.
This has to be the easiest fruit tree you could possibly grow. This is bothered by NOTHING except plum curculio. I don't even spray it anymore.
This spring I noticed (even before leaf out) that the bark had cracked terribly. As you can see it was cracking everywhere around the trunk and up into the tree.
Surprisingly the tree seems to be suffering no ill effects from this other than a lighter than normal crop load.
Any ideas?
I LOVE this tree...the fruit smells SO good and the flesh is unbelievable sweet. It would be too sweet if not balanced by the ultra tart skin. I don't want to loose this beauty.
BTW...I just bought this place not quite 4 years ago. Can you believe that growth?...and I pruned it hard once.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I guess it is bothered by something other than PC. And it looks serious. If it gets worse you might want to plant another.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:08PM
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appleseed70

Wet from rain...in fact it's raining when I take this photo. I would estimate trunk diameter at around 8"...height probably 14' maybe more, with about an equal spread.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:12PM
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appleseed70

Fruitnut...the PC has really only marred the fruit...no tree damage.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:16PM
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appleseed70

The more I think about it, the trunk I think is probably 8" minimum...probably larger. I think I paid $6.98 for this tree and even got a free red maple and a forsythia...which is also growing beautifully. The price for this tree has went up every year since and I think now is around $10 or $12.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:22PM
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appleseed70

The brown stuff you see near the smaller cracks is latex caulking which I applied late winter/early spring in a vain attempt to prevent infection.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:26PM
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appleseed70

1 last photo. I am really thinking some sort of freeze damage. We had a absolutely brutal winter...one night going to -14 on the thermometer and ridiculously cold with the wind chill. I may have also fertilized a bit too late keeping sap up in the tree, but I can't remember. One thing I know I did was apply a handful of triple super phosphate 0-48-0 to stimulate root growth during the dormant period. Maybe fluid stayed up in the tree into the freezing temps causing a small split. Maybe this split allowed water infiltration that again later froze and expanded causing the damage. If not this then I have no idea. Is it possible for a tree to grow so quickly as to outgrow it's skin/bark? When I saw how fast this tree wanted to grow I thought I'd "bodybuild" it beyond normal just to see how big I could get it"...kinda silly I know. Ideas? Anybody?
BTW...the bucket in the photo is covering 2 mouse traps baited w/peanut butter and oatmeal to hopefully snag some of my resident voles.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 6:43PM
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appleseed70

OK...I lied...Forgot I took these photos. Doesn't have anything to do with the cracking issue...just thought I'd post. This is a pic of the fruit...pretty representative of the average. It set a lighter than normal crop this year, I suspect due to the cracking issue couple with cold and rain at time of bloom. You can see the PC damage on the fruits to the left in the photo.
Found Imidan offered on Ebay. Think I'm going to get some. Triazicide seems to offer little in the way of PC control. I noticed it's not a listed insect in the informational literature. I will say, that it appears as if the PC never gets anywhere with their scraping. I've many times carefully cut into the fruit and there is nothing below the skin. I read another poster here that said the same thing. I don't even want this skin marring. Will Imidan stop this?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 7:25PM
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mamuang_gw

Appleseed,

I have no idea what has caused it. To me, it looks almost like your tree was on steroids and it burst out of its own skin.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 7:28PM
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appleseed70

Difficult to see in this photo, but some fruit up in the canopy that will be ripe in a week or so. This seems to be a trait of the Damson (uneven ripening). I actually like this because in a good year it would be just too much at once unless you wanted to make the famous Damson jam/jelly.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 7:31PM
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