Plum Tree Yellowing Leaves - Knowledgebase Question

Sugar Land, Te
Question by paulalowranc
August 19, 2010
I live in Sugar Land, TX and we went from no rain to lots of rain and now back to no rain. I have two plum trees that have not produced yet. They both have lost most of their leaves and the rest of the leaves are yellow. I also am confused about how and when to prune. I found the watering rules as stated on the website and usually use a drip line when there is no rain. Please help me.


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Answer from NGA
August 19, 2010

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You didn't mention how long the trees have been in your landscape so I don't know whether they are suffering from transplant stress (usual symptoms are dropping and/or yellowing leaves until the roots become established), or it they are stressed by the heat and excessive rainfall. Generally trees will rebound from these conditions but you may not see any improvement until next spring. Heat stress can cause premature defoliation; water stress can cause yellowing leaves. At this point I'd just water as usual to keep the root system healthy. Drip systems are great but they should be run long enough to saturate the soil at the root level. You may need to probe the soil to make sure you're watering deeply enough. Use a metal rod (I use a 6' long piece of rebar) and push it down into the soil. It will be easy to push it down into moist soil but hard to push it into dry soil. Expect the roots to be about 18" deep. Your soil should be moist at least 2' beneath the surface. If not, either make a watering well beneath each tree so you can hand water, or leave your drip system running for a longer period of time. Plum trees should be pruned in the late winter, just as new buds are forming. Hope your trees recover!

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