Canadian plum trees
I have two Canadian plum trees that are about 15 years old. Every year they blossom and are full of leaves and fruit. This year there is nothing not even leaves on them. They are located on opposite sides of my yard and I can see no bugs or hole the bark looks the same as always most branches are bendable but the smaller one break off. There are a few suckers growing around both trees, but that is it. I tried pruning one a week ago and there is no change. Do you think they are dead or will they come back next year?
Adams County Colorado
The damage you are seeing is likely the result of the sudden early November frost we experienced last year. Many plumbs, cherries and other woody plants were damaged or killed by this event.
You can check for green tissue just under the bark to assess if a branch is still alive. Normally if a branch is brittle that is also a good indicator. However, because it has been so moist many dead branches are currently soggy which can make them misleadingly supple. A branch which is dead this year will not come back to life next year.
Weather or not you should prune out the dead and give the tree a chance is a personal choice but with many of the plumbs I have observed there would not be much a of a tree left after you take out the dead wood. It might be better to stat over.
Sorry about your tree, it was a bad year for woody plants along the Front Range. If you have further questions please let me know.
Thank you for your help