I have purple non- fruit bearing plum tree that is 15+ years old. It gets...

Asked February 21, 2017, 6:48 PM EST

I have purple non- fruit bearing plum tree that is 15+ years old. It gets full sun in the morning and early afternoon. It has flowered and grown to 25 to 39 feet during this time. This winter I noticed the bark breaking as in the enclosed pictures. Is there any need for concern? Thank you,

Prince George's County Maryland trunk damage purple leaf plum trees

1 Response

In general these trees are not long lived. Looks like there has been some trunk damage, possible cankers, etc. Also, drought, poor drainage, poor soils, compaction, planting too deeply can stress the tree and makes it more susceptible to insect or disease issues. See our publication on these types of problems http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG86%20Common%20Abio...
There is not much you can do when damage is to the main trunk. No pesticides or pruning paint are recommended.
Most likely the tree will limp along but never return to its former glory. All you can do is water during dry periods, mulch with several inches of mulch to conserve moisture. Keep mulch away from the base of the trees. You may want to consider replanting with another tree species. if located in a prominent location in your landscape.