Plum Tree Not Leafing

Filed Under: Fruit Trees · Keywords: Plum Tree, leafing, tree trunk · 1594 Views
We bought a plum tree a couple of months ago and planted it in our yard. When we first bought it, it had some green leaves on the top branches and some green buds at the base of the tree trunk. The green leaves at the top of the branches quickly wilted but the green leaves at the base of the tree trunk continue to grow. It's been a few weeks now and we still don't see any leaves coming out from the branches, except for the few leaves continue to grow bigger at the base of the tree trunk, and they actually look pretty healthy. It doesn't look like our tree is dead, but is there anything we can do to get the leaves to come out on the right places?

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Answer #1 · Maple Tree's Answer · Hi Christina-There could be several reasons your plum tree may not be leafing out. Was this tree growing in a container, balled and burlapped, or bare root? Do you remember if the trees soil was possibly dry when you planted it? Once planted, especially a bare root or balled and burlapped tree, it needs to be kept moist and not allowed to dry out. Keeping the soil moist never means too wet as too wet a soil can also cause root rot and limb die back from disease. If you had any late freezing temperatures this can cause damage to flower and leaf buds. You want to make sure the tree was not planted to deeply. The upper most roots in the root ball should be just below the soils surface. Sometimes it is easy to plant a balled tree to deeply as grower will pack extra soil above the root ball and around the trunks to give the trunk extra support in shipping and handling before planting. Any extra soil need to be removed down to the top of the root ball before planting. When bare root and balled trees are removed from the ground a large amount of their roots are cut. Many times I have seen trees that can not support the canopies they had until they establish enough new roots. Enough of the roots being cut or damage can affect the growth that may or may not develop once planted. I would first check to see if the upper parts of the tree are still living. With your finger nail or knife scratch small spots of the outer bark off on upper stems that have no new growth showing. If the tissue under the outer bark is green the limb is still living. If still living they may still sprout new growth. If the tissue is brown or there is no new growth within a couple more weeks I would contact the nursery you purchased the tree from and inquire about a replacement tree. Most all nurseries including the box store garden centers will guarantee the tree for a year. I'm thinking a few late freezing temperatures or some type of transplant shock had affected the leafing out. If the upper part of the tree appears to be living I would give it a couple more weeks to see if it recovers. Don't do any fertilizing of the tree this first year in the ground. Forcing a tree that is under stress for one reason or another can do more harm.

Let me know what you find when checking the tree to see if the limbs are still living and if you feel one of the reasons mentioned may have affected the trees leafing out. Did the tree by chance have any blooms this year?


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