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Plum Tree infestation and cut back

I have a plum tree which is about 5 years old or so. This year it's not produced any fruit and has become heavily infested with greenfly/whitefly. I've chosen to cut it back by about 75% and open it up and just leaving a few branch's/twigs with some foliage on them. The wife thinks I should just leave the branch's etc with nothing on but think it would be better to leave it as it is now. What should I do?? 


  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,592
    Wow! Our plums were devasted by pigeons eating the leaves in the Spring. This year we have had the best harvest of plums for 5 years. The pigeons didn't attack the fruit (while the magpies did later on). The white fly etc... not a problem as the birds in the garden will take them. Go on the RHS site for more advice
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,440
    I usually leave infested stuff. The blue tits get them.  My beech hedge had aphids on for years, but it seems to have come to a balance now.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,979
    edited July 2022
    The lack of fruit is likely to be due to weather conditions at flowering time ... frosts or strong winds and consequent lack of pollinators ... or even drought ... we have had a very dry year, through from winter and spring until now ... unless the tree was watered generously it may well have aborted any fruit it was carrying.  Also a tree that is struggling due to dry roots will always be more susceptible to infestation by aphids, whitefly etc.  

    Here in East Anglia I would have been giving a young fruit tree at least two buckets full of water three times a week from March onwards this year.

    I wouldn't prune to get rid of aphids ... it'll be counter-productive ... pruning just produces fresh young growth which is just what aphids love.

    As others have said, do all that you can to attract small birds, particularly the tit family, to your garden ... they'll harvest the aphids for you.  Also wasps, hoverflies, lacewings and ladybirds.  They all eat aphids.  I've not used insecticides in this garden for years ... we really do not have an aphid problem ... the few we get on our plants are quickly eaten.  

    I would not remove leaves ... leaves are needed to photosynthesise the sunlight and produce the energy that feeds the roots so the tree can grow.  

    Edited to add:  of course, the lack of fruit could simply be down to the pigeons you told us about, that were eating the blossom back in April  :)

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • That's a pity dovefromabove as the wife has gone out and cut off all the foliage leaving bare branch's etc. Hopefully everything will grow back again next year????
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,979
    Well … hopefully your tree will think autumn has come early 🤞 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • My greengage was infested with aphids this year. I gave it it's annual prune last month and found that I had a lot more ladybird larvae than I thought. Any that were on the clippings I relocated back onto the tree. I took a bit of a risk and put some of the clippings back in the tree to make sure the larvae had enough to munch on and fortunately they polished them off and they didn't spread any further.

    Fingers crossed your tree recovers  🤞
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