Plum help

Discussion in 'Fruit and Nut Trees' started by Deidre., Jun 25, 2022.

  1. Deidre.

    Deidre. New Member

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    I have an italian prune plum tree that I need some guidance with. It is 4 years old and I have not had any flowers or fruit since it was planted. The first year was very wet, and my local nursery diagnosed it with leaf curl. Last year it had terrible problems with aphids that I attempted to treat with insecticidal soap with no success. I noticed today, in addition to the aphids it has also has some other type of bug that (I hope) is eating the aphids. It is in a windy area and with a very wet saturated ground over the winter it is now leaning quite heavily to one side. I don't know how to fix these problems, or if I should just cut my losses and get rid of the tree. If anyone has experienced this and can offer suggestions it would be much appreciated as I am so uncertain what to do.
     

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  2. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Regarding the insect shown in the second photo, that is the larva of a Lady Bird Beetle and preys on the aphids; so, it is good to have. These aphids are a common problem on Italian Prune plum trees, and they are "farmed" by ants that protect them from the Lady Bugs. So, damage can be reduced by keeping ants off the tree by using something like Tree Tanglefoot. However, this problem is not significant if the tree is not going to produce fruit. I have an Italian Prune plum tree that has produced fruit prolifically ever since I planted it. I suspect that your tree just doesn't like its location, since you mention saturated ground during winter. No fruit tree likes saturated soil; the roots could be damaged during the winter, preventing nutrients required for fruit production from getting to the new growth in spring. I think that you either have to find a better location or provide adequate drainage for the site.
     
  3. Deidre.

    Deidre. New Member

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    Thank you for your information, and reply. I will see what I can do about finding an alternative location for it. I appreciate the advise.
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Since the top is green, growing and has some size to it the lack of flowering will not be due to obvious cultural factors (including aphid infestations, which curl the leaves). With the structure of the crown making me wonder if you really got a grafted 'Italian' or if instead you were sold a rootstock that replaced a failed scion in the production field without this being noticed. If it really is an 'Italian' grafted onto a fully dwarfing rootstock then that will be why it is leaning - permanent supports have to be provided for orchard fruits on fully dwarfing stocks. Because these latter dwarf the tops by being runty themselves. Which means they are too small growing to be able to support even a fully dwarfed top.
     

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