Desperate for Advice on Ornamental Flowering Plums

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Desperate for Advice on Ornamental Flowering Plums

Postby SerenityNow » Wed Jul 10, 2013 2:12 am

Hi Everyone,

I am a new member and this is my first post, so I would be extremely grateful for any advice or feedback that you are able to send my way.

I was hoping to get some valuable advice about Ornamental Flowering Plum Trees. I have 3 small trees, roughly 3 years old. I never seem to be able to get them to look healthy and the only time they do look healthy is at the start of spring when they have new shoots and flowers. After a while they seem to go back to having dried out and curled up leaves and appear to have small holes on the leaves as if some pest has possibly been attacking them. They seem to be growing at a very slow rate as well-is this normal? I am having similar issues with my Japanese Maple Tree as well. These trees are watered and Seasoled reasonably regularly and pruned as required, so I am scratching my head as to what I am doing wrong!

Any info would be great :D :D
SerenityNow
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Re: Desperate for Advice on Ornamental Flowering Plums

Postby HortMaster » Wed Jul 10, 2013 1:56 pm

Perth is a bit hot for Japanese maples but I imagine you're looking at either a hydrophobic problem or a nutrient deficiency problem. It's a common misconception that seasol is a fertiliser. It is not a fertiliser but a "plant tonic" or soil improver as I call it. It's more for promoting a healthy bioglogical aspect in your garden not a chemical health. My advice to you is add a wetting agent (liquid is always best) and a general complete fertiliser like "Thrive" in spring time or just before and this should see your problem fixed:) That said I have an ornamental nectarine and by the end of summer it's looking pretty worse for wear
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Re: Desperate for Advice on Ornamental Flowering Plums

Postby SerenityNow » Wed Jul 10, 2013 3:35 pm

Thanks a lot for that HortMaster,

When you say liquid wetting agent, do you mean pre-mixed and applied with a watering can?
SerenityNow
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Location: Gosnells WA

Re: Desperate for Advice on Ornamental Flowering Plums

Postby HortMaster » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:57 pm

Watering can is best. It doesn't really matter but it's just cheaper to buy the concentrate and then dilute it yourself:)
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Re: Desperate for Advice on Ornamental Flowering Plums

Postby Systema_Naturae » Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:21 pm

Given you're from WA, is your soil very sandy with sharp drainage? The problem might be a lack of organic matter in the soil. When soils are sandy, water drains very quickly, taking a lot of nutrients with it. If you work more organic matter into your soils by way of compost and mulch, you might find that helps. Mulches like lucern break down quickly and are great for helping soil hold onto water and nutrients.

Building a good soil takes time - at least a few years of judicious applications of compost and mulch, especially with sandy soils.

As for the eaten leaves on the plums, it could some kind of bark beetle. They emerge in early spring after the first flush of growth and 'skeletonise' the leaves. You have to hit them with white oil at just the right time to deal with them organically, or use a systemic insecticide like confidor. You might find with the soil improvement that the trees' health perks up and they fend off the beetles on their own.

Ornamental plums are notorious for looking scrappy in the growing season, especially the purple-leaved cultivars.

All the best,
John
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