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kazschow
kazschow Posts: 436 Forumite
Wonder if anyone can help meI'?ve had my property for 2 years now, and I've got a couple of large victoria plum trees, about 25 feet high. They look gorgeous, and flower fantastically. They then seem to be covered in small plums, but mid way through the season the fruits shrivel and die, leaving literally only a handful of fruit :(

Does anyone know what this might be, the trees have got to be a good age, the property was derelict for about 20 years, so they were put in a while before that i think.

is it a virus, and if so is there anything I can do to help? I've had to take down a couple of the trees to make way for swales and reed beds etc, but I don;t want to lose the last couple of possible... so please help save a tree or two, and help me get fat on plum jam ;)
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  • Lotus-eater
    Lotus-eater Posts: 10,789 Forumite
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    How big are the plums when they die? Could it be a late frost that kills them? That's what does in my plums.
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
  • ukbill69
    ukbill69 Posts: 2,789 Forumite
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    Our 50 year old tree has loads coming on about 1" big now. Dont worry, just hope no more frosts.
    Kind Regards
    Bill
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,559 Forumite
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    kazschow wrote: »
    Wonder if anyone can help meI'?ve had my property for 2 years now, and I've got a couple of large victoria plum trees, about 25 feet high. They look gorgeous, and flower fantastically. They then seem to be covered in small plums, but mid way through the season the fruits shrivel and die, leaving literally only a handful of fruit :(

    It's unlikely to be problems with frost as the fruits are setting.

    If the trees haven't been pruned for some time, too many fruits might be forming and so the tree is aborting the bulk of the crop. A June drop is normal to thin out the crop but it sounds as if the trees are over-doing it.

    The trees will also drop a lot of the crop if they aren't getting enough water during the growing season.

    Have a read of these - http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?pid=339#section4 and http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?PID=340
  • Lotus-eater
    Lotus-eater Posts: 10,789 Forumite
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    Mojisola wrote: »
    It's unlikely to be problems with frost as the fruits are setting.
    Frosts will kill set fruit.
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.
  • kazschow
    kazschow Posts: 436 Forumite
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    I don't think it's a frost problem, they seem to develop to almost full size, then shrivel right up to nothing, leaving almost no fruit to mature, we literally had less than half a dozen fruits on each tree last year. The wizened fruit dont fall off til the leaves come down either. I did wonder about watering, as the trees own canopy keeps the ground very dry, might start putting the hose onto the ground at weekends to see if that helps.

    Should I feed them? if so what would be good? Would well rotted manure be any good?
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,559 Forumite
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    Manure would be good if you can topdress around the trees with it. That will provide nutrients and humus which will improve the water-holding capacity of the soil. Otherwise you could use a general fertilizer.

    Water well - a lot occasionally is better than little and often.

    Keep your fingers crossed and look out some recipes for plum jam, plum chutney, plum wine, etc!
  • kazschow
    kazschow Posts: 436 Forumite
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    Mojisola wrote: »
    It's unlikely to be problems with frost as the fruits are setting.

    If the trees haven't been pruned for some time, too many fruits might be forming and so the tree is aborting the bulk of the crop. A June drop is normal to thin out the crop but it sounds as if the trees are over-doing it.

    The trees will also drop a lot of the crop if they aren't getting enough water during the growing season.

    Have a read of these - http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?pid=339#section4 and http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?PID=340

    Many thanks for the link ;) In fairness though, i'd need a crane to prune these trees, they're huge, 25 -30 foot high!!! I'm desperate to get them back to producing a decent crop again, as the few plums we got were delicious, but if it's not possible I forsee their future as fuel for the log burner :(
  • Mojisola
    Mojisola Posts: 35,559 Forumite
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    kazschow wrote: »
    Many thanks for the link ;) In fairness though, i'd need a crane to prune these trees, they're huge, 25 -30 foot high!!! I'm desperate to get them back to producing a decent crop again, as the few plums we got were delicious, but if it's not possible I forsee their future as fuel for the log burner :(

    Try the food and water route first!
  • kazschow
    kazschow Posts: 436 Forumite
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    yeah, I'm going to do that ;) They're lovely I have a little wood, and these two are at the mouth of it, it looks like the entrance to pandoras labarynth, I'd hate to lose them tbh :)
  • Drinda
    Drinda Posts: 265 Forumite
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    A couple of years ago I had this propblem and I was advised to spread plenty of lime all round the roots, but leave a lime free space around the trunk, well after that we had so many plums we had to put props under the branches, also now when my husband needs to change some of the water in the pond he runs it off to the plum trees and they get a real good drink, but the lime did the trick.
    Drinda
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