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Diseases of Plum Trees (continued - page 7)

Diseases of Plum Trees
(continued - page 7)

Harvesting and Storing Plums

Plum trees will begin to produce fruit at four or five years old. Like most fruit, leave the plums on the tree until they are ripe and ready to eat. Ripe plums will be produced over a month or so and it is best to pick a few but often over this time. Any diseased fruit should be removed immediately because they will only attract diseases and wasps.

Ripe plums keep for only a few days and are best stored in the fridge. If you want to keep plums for longer, pick them when they are slightly under-ripe, placing them in a paper-lined box in a cool dark place.

Pests and Diseases of Plums
Use the 'symptoms' column to diagnose the problem, then click on the disease for more information and details of how to deal with it.

Disease / Pest


Plum Sawfly Small holes in the plums, sometimes with a gooey black liquid seeping from the holes. The young plums will fall before ripening fully.

Red Spider Mite Leaves fall earlier than normal and are bronze in colour.

Rust Slightly raised round spots on the underside of the leaves. The spots are rust coloured (browny-red).

Silver leaf Silver coloured leaves turning brown, wood flesh stained brown or purple, fungus growth on the infected branches. 

Bacterial Canker Shallow depressions at the base of branches during Autumn which enlarge in spring. An amber like gum may also appear.

Aphids Leaves curl and new shoots are distorted



Name: jim@GardenAction
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 20, 2011 - 01:50 am
Message: Sounds like you're right. Herbicides work in different ways and one feature is distortion, new growth is the most telling.

Name: Leanne
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 20, 2011 - 01:36 am
Message: We have a row of liquid ambers around 4 years old and the new growth is curly leaf and distorted stems. Initially I thought it could have been drift from roundup/grazon as we are on a rural property and were doing weed control. We have recently had good rains. I have cut them back, fed them with seasol and dynamic lifter and are hoping for the best. Could it be a pest/disease?

Name: christine Cox
Date posted: November 18, 2011 - 08:44 pm
Message: Hi

I have a plum tree that never fruits, it always has heaps of flowers and when the flower drops off it is left with a little green plum the size of a baby pea, but then it goes yellow and drops off. could you help me as to what is needed. My Husban put Blood and Bone around it.

Name: jim@GardenAction
Date posted: November 13, 2011 - 12:33 am
Message: Seems like a bacterial infection. Shot hole perhaps. Avoid planting young susceptible trees near old ones. Use a balanced fertilizer; avoid excess nitrogen

Name: Patricia
Date posted: November 11, 2011 - 04:13 pm
Message: I have planted a Louisa Plum this year and have just found the leaves covered in spots. It looks like they have had water droplets on the leaves and been burnt by the sun. The spots are perfectly round, brown with some transparency around the spot. It does not look like rust as there is no rised area on the underside of the leaf and not a rust colour. Any ideas and what would you recommend to spray with?

Name: jim@GardenAction
Date posted: November 07, 2011 - 11:49 pm
Message: Hello Alison.
Your email address appears from New Zealand. How about 'possums'. They come at night and like the growing tips.

Name: Alison
Date posted: November 07, 2011 - 06:29 pm
Message: Hi I have a plum tree that is about 5 years old and last year and again now something is eating the leaves, mainly the new growth but I cant see anything eating it, what could it be?

Name: jim@GardenAction
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 05, 2011 - 11:16 pm
Message: Hello Gloria
Remember that your plum was grown from seed and may be different from its parent, a 'new' variety with different characteristics.

Name: Gloria Davidson
E-mail: Private
Date posted: November 05, 2011 - 10:02 pm
Message: My plum tree is four years old, grown from seed, and has had a blush of flowers this year. Each flower had one petal curled tightly over the stamen, and I had to peel them off to pollenate by hand. I have one plum. Why do the flowers do this?

Name: jim@GardenAction
Date posted: November 05, 2011 - 11:54 am
Message: Plums are usually self fertile, perhaps yours is one that is not. Leave the tree unless there are signs of disease, perhaps it's damage from winds?

Name: Marie Taylor
Date posted: November 05, 2011 - 07:30 am
Message: I have a victoria plum tree grafted on dwarf root stock it's roughly 5 years old.
In spring it produced a lot of blossom but only produced one plum which dropped off way before it's time.
The trunk has developed cracks and split on it.
Could you please tell me what this is and is it curable or should I discard the tree.

Name: Bill Bond
Date posted: October 06, 2011 - 06:30 pm
Message: We have a 3 yr old plum tree that had fruit last year but as of today (in NZ)there is no sign of blossom or leaves. It is a hybrid with early and late fruit. It is planted on a slope so drainage should not be a problem. Any ideas as to why it appears dead this year?

Name: Cinda
Date posted: September 01, 2011 - 12:15 pm
Message: I have a "Candy Rosa Plum" is it self-pollinating?

Name: Barbara
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 26, 2011 - 11:23 am
Message: Ha ha just realised I'd quoted back some information from this website!! It really has all the answers you need, thanks very much!

Name: Barbara
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 26, 2011 - 11:13 am
Message: I've just listened to Gardeners Question Time on Radio 4, lots of advice on plums; then I did some googling and found more. The sticky beads on the bottom of the fruit is from a maggot, the fruit is OK but pick it as soon as you spot it so it doesn't spread - if the fruit's not ripe, cook it. Curling leaves is probably silver leaf, for that you spray with antifungal chemical (Bordeaux mixture) in late summer/autumn. Also prune plums in JUNE to keep air circulating and prevent fungal infections etc. (

Name: richard
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 22, 2011 - 02:10 pm
Message: why has all my plums got worm or maggotin side the skins are all perfect

Name: Clark
Date posted: August 18, 2011 - 01:48 pm
Message: For those wishing to know the maggot inside is that of the plum moth. It has a pinkish body and brown head and the brown pellets found around the stone at the centre of the fruit are its excrement. They are harmless to eat and barely affect the flavour. Plums that ripen later in the season are less likely to be affected.

Name: davis
Date posted: August 17, 2011 - 04:16 am
Message: load of plums on tree put they all roit
on tree with gray sugary substance and drop off //tried grease band is there any cure every year same thing happens

Name: Justin Pannell
Date posted: August 15, 2011 - 01:27 pm
Message: Exactly the same thing has happened to my victoria plums. They look fine from the outside but there is a small pink maggot inside in every one. HELP!!!

Name: halloran Mary
Date posted: August 15, 2011 - 10:50 am
Message: our plums look to be very good with no outsde markings of invaders , but when you open them up to remove the pip there is a small pink Maggot this is the first time this has ever happend. it is a Victoria plum tree & we have two close to one another there is also black specs in it please can you tell me what is happening thanks