Dying yellow plum tree - Knowledgebase Question

Snoqualmie, Wa
Question by mariacarlson
July 20, 2010
Yellow egg plum tree grows fine for 3-4 years. Then in the spring the whole thing dies and then new shoots come up from the root and the whole process begins again. The root does not die.


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Answer from NGA
July 20, 2010

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Your yellow egg plum tree is a European type plum noted for its cold hardiness and adaptablility to late frosts and cold, rainy weather so I'm at a loss to know why yours dies down every 3-4 years, especially if the roots remain healthy and the tree resprouts when the top dies down. I suspect the top is killed back by extreme winter weather every few years so I'm wondering if it is exposed to icy winds or other unusual conditions? If this is an ongoing problem it might be worth planting a new tree in a more protected part of the landscape. I think once the tree is able to reach a more mature stage in its life, it won't be so prone to dying back during especially cold winter weather. You might also check with your local Master Gardener Clinic or cooperative extension office to see which plum tree varieties they recommend for the microclimate your landscape contains. There may be a local favorite that doesn't mind the weather. Wish I could offer more suggestions.

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