Distressed Plum Tree

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Old 05-16-15, 12:50 PM
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Distressed Plum Tree

I have a mature plum tree that has faithfully provided an abundance of fruit (mostly for the squirrels) for as long as I have lived here - 15 years. It has even survived being split in two when an oak fell on it during a hurricane back in 2003. Accept for a little light pruning, it pretty much does its own thing.

I knew some thing was up last year when one of its main branch trunks had its leaves brown on the tree as opposed to change color and fall to the ground. Of the three main truck lines, one is now dead. The others are fine with healthy leaves but no signs of fruit. At the base of the dead trunk line, there are new shoots (feeders if you will) that are growing.

My question is, do I leave it be so as to not cause it any more stress by trimming off the dead section? Or do I call this years crop a wash and prune and give it the rest of the season to rebuild itself?

I'll try to post a picture or two once the sun has switched sides and I can get one that doesn't have so much glare.
 
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Old 05-16-15, 02:10 PM
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Upper left and back side are dead, sorry it blends in with all the other green in the yard.

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Back side main section up the middle is what is dead.

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Feeders growing off the dead branch trunk line.

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Old 05-16-15, 02:58 PM
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Do you think all of the branches are of the same variety of plum ?

Up here in Vermont, they have to graft branches of the more desireable fruits onto trunks/roots of the more frost tolerant, or hearty species. Sometimes, multiple varieties are growing, flowering, and fruiting all on the same host root stock.

And the suckers appearing on the trunk are usually from an undesireable (but hearty) variety.

Did the dead portion suffer more harsh weather/freezing than the rest of the plant ?
 
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Old 05-16-15, 03:08 PM
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I noticed something wrong last fall, before the harsh winter. It went through a normal growing season and only noticed something amiss when the leave started to turn. Only verified when leaves did not appear this spring. Finally was going to tackle, and noticed the suckers. They are also at least a foot up on the dead trunk, so if grafted would be above the graft.

Truth is, I have no idea about grafting. All the branches produced the same fruit. There wasn't any variation in size or time to maturation.
 
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Old 05-16-15, 03:25 PM
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Don't feel badly. I had to take down a faithful cherry tree last week due to the same thing. Old age, IMO. Cut the tree off about 3' high, and will use the stump for a planter holder until it rots away. Planted a replacement about 5' away.
 
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