Dying Prunus mume 'Beni-chidori'

I had a lovely Prunus mume 'Beni-chidori' but 2 years ago it seemed to go into very early autumn and lost its leaves, last year it looked very unhappy with sparse flowers and foliage which all dropped very early. This year there are just three flowers and I think it’s had it!!

Any ideas what might have gone wrong? (Well mulched, improved clay soil, in a sunny mixed herbaceous border). It was great for about 5 years and seemed well established. 

Can I risk replacing it in the same place? 

Posts

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 4,801
    Sorry to hear about your poorly cherry, Anna!

    Did the foliage look an unusual colour?  Cherries can suffer from silver leaf disease.  If you cut a branch which is around an inch in diameter and it has a brown centre, that's the diagnosis - but you really don't want to be hacking your tree about, if there's a chance it might recover.  If the whole tree is suffering there's nothing you can do, I'm afraid.
      
    If there were sunken patches on the bark, or you could see sticky stuff oozing from it, that would be bacterial canker.  Again, if the whole tree is affected, there's no hope for it.  There are no chemical treatments licensed for use by gardeners.

    Otherwise there could be a problem with the roots - you probably won't know until you take it out, if that's what you're planning.  Phytophthora root rots can attack lots of different sorts of tree.

    I'd be a bit reluctant to plant another cherry in the same place, though others might advise differently...
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • Anna99Anna99 Posts: 2
    Thanks. There was no obvious discolouration or infection anywhere . Just the leaves went brittle and dropped prematurely

    i think I knew replanting with the same tree was a bad idea - what a shame - it used to look so lovely!!!
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 2,382
    edited 11 February
    Sometimes it is very hard to know what is wrong, and obvious signs don't always show straight away. I would not give up on it right now. It does sound like you might have the early signs of Silver Leaf, or possible root rot. I would wait till late spring and give it a prune to see how it responds.

    Sometimes, especially when you had it in the early years, a light prune helps the shrub/tree to form a more stronger healthy shape. They also need a sheltered and protected spot, so if you have no barrier or it's not planted close to a wall/fence, it can suffer from wind damage too. Provided the spot is right for your Prunus Mume (lots of sun and not in an exposed area), I think, why not get a replacement. 
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