The Q&A Archives: ornamental plum trees

Question: we have two plum trees in our backyard (San Diego). Both have been planted for four or five years. One is very sparsely covered with leaves and the other is somewhat sparse but has tremendous sappling growth at its base. What can we do to promote the leaf growth?

Answer: Ornamental plum trees develop leaves on new growth so pruning them back a little will encourage new growth and lots of new leaves. Spring is the best time to prune. Wait until after they have finished flowering and then prune them back a bit. I think you'll see a great improvement. I'd cut off the suckering growth at the base of the tree. There's a product called Sucker Stopper that usually keeps new suckers from developing. You cut the suckers down and then apply the product to the stubs and they won't sprout up again. Best wishes with your trees.

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