About Plum Tree Fungus

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Plum trees grow fungus because of moisture collected on the tree during humid months, which may make Japanese plums better at avoiding fungus in some U.S. climates. Treat fungus on your plum trees with natural fungicide powders applied in the summer with tips from an expert gardener in this free video.

Part of the Video Series: Gardening for Trees & Plants
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Video Transcript

Hi this Yolanda Vanveen and in this segment, we're going to talk about plum tree fungus. Now if you've got plum trees in the Northwest especially any area where we have really wet winters, then you've probably had a problem with plum tree fungus. And what happens is that there's so much moisture in the spring and the fall, that the plum trees just start to rot. They get fungus on them, just like in your shower. There's fungus starts to grow. And so what happens is that, the leaves and the branches will start turning brown, and there will be brown spots on them. And they get very soft. So the only way that you can control the plum tree fungus, is to put a fungicide on the trees in the middle of the summer. So that's first. There's different types of fungicides that you can use, but the natural ones are better than any of the types that use any types of synthetic chemicals. And it's just basically a powder, that dries it out. And so, you can help the tree itself too, by making sure and thinning it out every year. Make sure and prune your plum trees as soon as they're done bearing fruit every year. So as soon as you've picked the plums off of them, just trim it down 1/3. Make sure it's not 1/3 as big as it was before. And trim out all of the inside wild branches, so that you only have a few main branches, and not lots of wild branches in the middle. And that way there's a good air flow. Because you want a good air flow in the middle of the tree in the spring and the summer. Because if it's real dense, branches, there's no air flow and it will be more susceptible to the fungus. And they're finding because Japan is such a wet area as well, that a lot of the Japanese native plums do really well in wet areas, as opposed to the Italian plums. Because a lot of the Italian plums are from a drier region. So when them in the Northwest, they're not used to all the water in the spring and the fall, and they do get the fungus. So get varieties that are more susceptible to wet conditions, and that can handle it a little bit better. Prune it really well, cut out all of the dead branches. Cut out a lot of the extra branches in the middle so it can get some more air. Make sure they're getting full sun, and make sure that they're getting really dry in between the watering if you're watering them in the summer. And, if it's still a problem, a little bit of fungicide applied in the summer can help too. But in the end, I've found it's better to not to use any chemicals, and so select the varieties of the plums that aren't as susceptible to fungus as the others.

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