Plum tree leaves died

Asked July 29, 2013, 7:33 PM EDT

With the intense heat we've been having, it appears that my young plum tree got sunburned. The leaves have turned brown and the plums, which are not ripe, have turned purple and shriveled. I see no signs of injury to the tree trunk, nor do I see any evidence of insect infestation or disease. What can I do to keep it from dying ?

Lane County Oregon

2 Responses

Younger trees are indeed susceptible to extreme heat. This being a drought year we needed to water our trees as early as mid May. At this point your only recourse is to deeply water your trees . Soaker hoses around the drip line until mixture penetrates at least twelve inches. Thereafter physically check the soil to ensure that it is kept moist, but not wet. You should probably water every week or so, depending upon your soil conditions. The scalding of the leaves is permanent as is the sun burning of the fruit. However, some of the fruit may still be harvestable. As long as the soil is kept moist and the trees have water to transpire this problem should not reoccur. Sun screens or shade cloth will be of little help. Be sure not to OVER water. Good luck!

I forgot to mention care of the tree trunk. On young trees it is advisable to coat the bark up to about the first branches with a mixture of half exterior latex paint and help water. This procedure reflects heat and light from the tender bark. Minimizing the occurrence of blistering. It also protects the trunk from winter freeze damage some.