Plum Tree Care, Pruning & Disease Prevention

plum-treeThe purple-leaved plum tree is a dramatic ornamental tree. It is usually selected for its abundant and stunning display of pink flowers and lush reddish-purple leaves. It is particularly showy because flowers bloom early in the spring before foliage appears. The plum tree’s richly colored leaves are 1-1/2 to 3 inches long and are present throughout most of the growing season, making a lovely contrast and enhancement to the landscape. Some people do opt to purchase the fruit bearing variety, which produces small purple plums. A fast grower, the plum tree has an upright form with a lovely rounded and dense canopy. For best results, tree should be positioned in full sun and well-drained, acidic soil

Size of Tree:     15-20 feet high and wide.

Plum Tree Care

plum-tree-leavesPlum trees are susceptible to several stresses and insect and disease issues. By properly controlling insects and disease, fertilizing, watering and regularly pruning the trees, you can encourage tree health and enjoy the beauty of this tree on your landscape for years.

At the beginning of the growing season horticultural oils should also be used to smother scale insects and reduce over wintering populations of aphid and mite eggs. Plum trees are also susceptible to Japanese beetle attacks. Preventative and curative treatments are available to ward off this pest.

Newly planted trees benefit from ArborKelp® – SavATree’s exclusive seaweed biostimulant which aids in tree establishment, promotes root growth and heightens stress tolerance.

Mature and established plum trees benefit from fertilizer feedings of organic-based macro and micronutrients for the nutrition necessary to sustain their health.

Plum Tree Pruning

consultation63Pruning is recommended to preserve or improve tree structure, heartiness and life-span. Prune plum trees right after flowering to promote vigor. If controlling tree size, it is best to prune in the winter.

Pruning can reduce specific defects or structural problems in a tree to greatly lessen the risk of failure. Broken, diseased, or dead branches are typically removed in order to prevent decay-producing fungi from infecting the wood in other areas of the tree. Removal of live branches is occasionally necessary to allow increased exposure to sunlight and circulation of air within the canopy. This assists in reduction of certain diseases. We also advocate the removal of branch stubs to promote successful and proper healing over of wounds.

Your SavATree certified arborist is equipped with the latest techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to keep your plum trees healthy, beautiful and safe. Contact us today for information on pruning or any of our other plum tree care services.

Plum Tree Diseases and Pests


There are several damaging diseases and pests that affect plum trees. Some of the most common are:

  • Black Knot – This is probably the most serious and widespread of the diseases that affect plum trees. This disease causes hard black long knots to form on smaller branches, often killing them. If left untreated, growth will be stunted and the entire tree will eventually die. Immediate pruning of diseased areas can help stop the spread of the disease.
  • Plum Pox Virus (PPV) – This disease is spread by aphids and attacks fruit bearing plum trees.  Infected fruit can develop brown or yellow rings or blotches and may deform the fruit. The quality and quantity of the fruit production is dramatically reduced.
  • Brown Rot – This fungus infects blossoms, fruit and small branches. Signs include cankers, fruit rot and blight.  Powdery, brown gray tufts can be seen on the twigs or fruit especially when wet.
  • Plum Rust Mites – These pests range in color from yellow to pinkish-white or purple. Leaves of infected plum trees turn silver and start to curl up.

Don’t let these diseases or pests destroy your precious plum trees. If you suspect a problem with your trees, call a SavATree certified arborist right away for an evaluation and treatment options. Our plum tree care experts can help protect your trees and keep your landscape beautiful.

Diseased photo: Plum Tree-Leaf Curl-5366448 by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University,

Other Common Tree Varieties in the US