Weirdly withering plums

Many of the ripening plums on my tree have been withering - discoloured (pale and mottled) and shrivelled, lengthening until they almost resemble laburnum pods. Yet their neighbours appear fine. The symptoms don't fit those of any disease of plum trees that I can find online.

Any ideas for what's causing this and how to treat/stop it? This was the first good crop the tree's had for some years.

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Posts

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,244

    Try Taphrina pruni,

  • DianaWDianaW Posts: 57

    Thanks. Aside from the mention of swelling on one side (which I haven't seen in dozens of affected fruits), the Wikipedia description of this sounded very much like the problem I've got. The RHS (whose site I finally remembered to check specifically) only called this 'pocket plum' - confusingly different from the American 'plum pockets' apparently caused by Taphrina communis. Clearly it's a developing science!

  • Kaz14Kaz14 Posts: 3

    Hi, did you find a treatment for this? I think I have the same problem.

     

    Thanks!

  • DianaWDianaW Posts: 57

    Already? It's much earlier in the year than I found it happening to my plum tree....

    I cut off all the affected twigs etc, in hopes of preventing any spread to previously unaffected fruit, but didn't have much fruit in the end. Hoping for better luck this year, since the blossom has been quite lush and we haven't had high winds etc to knock it down.

    You could check Wikipedia and the RHS site information about this in case there are any chemical treatments which, as an organic gardener, I wouldn't have tried.

  • Kaz14Kaz14 Posts: 3

    Thanks for that. Appreciate the update. Our plum trees are huge (as tall as the house) so it's not going to be possible for me to cut off the branches etc. so I have no idea what I'm going to do... Good luck this year!

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,244

    Can you get a photo of what's happening to yours Kaz

  • Kaz14Kaz14 Posts: 3

    Hiya - thanks for looking at this.

    I've attached some photos - a couple of the fruit and one to show the size of the trees - the greenhouse in the photo is 8 foot tall. I hope they help.  

    As you can see, the fruits with the problem are a lot larger than the normal ones and they have no pips which is what leads me to believe that the trees have the problem described above.

    We have 4 of these trees and they all have the same problem.

     We had the trees pruned 2-3 years ago (can't recall exactly, but if this is important I can find out).

    There was no fruit on any of the trees last year, but a huge amount of good quality fruit the year before.

    Any pointers regarding how I can get this under control would be appreciated.

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  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,244

    I think this is something that happens some years when the Taphrina is about.

    I've had it happen to a bird cherry twice, but in between there's been no problem

  • DianaWDianaW Posts: 57

    This is entirely different from the problem I had. The affected fruits on my plum tree lost all their usual colour and texture, withering away to something long, thin and distorted as well as completely discoloured. The absence of any stone (what you called a pip) inside the fruit was purely incidental to the failure to mature normally.

    My experience is that a plum tree can go for several years without bearing any fruit (or only very little) after producing a really heavy crop one year. They need time to regain their strength, apparently.

  • DianaWDianaW Posts: 57

    My plum tree has got the same problem again - and there are healthy plums growing on the same twigs as affected ones, so cutting out the bad growth is going to be fiddly and unlikely to eradicate the parts of the tree that are obviously infected. I'll have to mark what bits to prune off later in the year.

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