Plum tree death

Hello fruit tree experts, 

I've got a four year old Jubilee plum on St Julian A. It grew brilliantly last year despite of or because of all the rain, however I've had my high hopes for splendour this year dashed by the gradual branch by branch die off. At first it was just the twigy, little branches in the middle but this morning I noticed one of the bigger top branches looking sad. On inspecting the cambium layer it seems the tree is dead all the way to the ground but it's just taking time to become apparent towards the tree's extremities. There are no other sign of pests nor disease. Does anyone have any ideas what could have happend and if it would be feasible to replace it with another Jubilee. To be honest I have fallen in love with it and wouldn't care if I never got fruit it was such a beautiful tree. 




  • Oh what a terrible shame.  I am suffering the loss of a yellow pershore plum tree at the moment which has canker on the trunk where it was rubbing against the support, as it was a new tree.  Added to that the branches seem to be 'disappearing' ie put in the bin secretively by my son and husband football players.  My Jubilee plum tree is pixy and hasn't grown noticeably at all.  This year it only has 3 plums.  I planted both 2 years ago.  Personally I am a bit ruthless for getting rid of things and replacing them.  There is no point having an unfruitful fruit tree.  Last year my new morello cherry tree had orange gum oozing out all over the place, and I replaced it with a fig tree which I am just as much in love with as I was with the cherry tree.  I am wondering whether to replace the 2 plum trees now.  For professional advice I have emailed orange pippin uk who is very kind and helpful (you could say you are thinking of buying your new tree from his website).  All the best, Caroline x

  • Jim MacdJim Macd Posts: 751

    Hi Caroline,

    I spoke to someone from Keepers Nursery, it seems pretty conclusive from what he said that it was bacterial canker. I hadn't even noticed all the little shot holes in the leaves. I knocked a small branch off myself while weeding earlier in the year which is probably where the canker got into the main trunk. The guy at KN told me had the tree been older it would have been able to survive it. It's made me very cautious about replanting with another Jubilee since he said it is susceptible to canker. Such a shame. I've got an Amelanchier lamarkii that I'm going to put there. I'm not happy about where it is at the moment so it seemed an obvious replacement. I won't get the plums but the blossom shouldn't be too different and I'll get fantastic autumn colour. 

    If you do replace your plum with a plum keep in mind replant disease, you will need to dig out a good hole and replace the soil from a part of the garden that hasn't had plums grown in it and use micorhiza. Of course if you replace with something other than a plum you won't need to worry about diggin out any soil. I have six other plum trees in the garden including a victoria so I won't miss the fruit. 

    Talking about supports. I really don't bother, we were told at college back in the ??!!'s image that for most trees a stake is a disadvantage. The Horticulture community is very conservative though and most people still sugest staking. If the tree's on Pixy then you may need a stake but make it as low down as you can and use those rubber spacers to keep the tree away from the stake and put the tie as high up the stake as you can. Keep in mind the stake is only to steady the roots not support the tree so the stake should go deep in the ground. 

    Thanks for the reply. 

    Jim image

  • Oh, good luck with your new tree then Jim!  And thanks for all the advice image  xx

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