Part Of Purple Plum Tree Seems To Have Died

Question From: B. Lipinski - Rochester, New York, United States
Q: I have a purple plum that has given us no problems ever, but this year about 1/4 of the tree seems to have died. I honestly cant remember if this 1/4 ever blossomed this spring or not. I didn't notice it until about a month ago. The limbs seem fine and I cant find any cracks or breaks in the branches. The rest of the tree is normal. Its is about 15-17 years old. Should I wait and see what happens next year or prune these branches off? Any fungicides that might help? Thanks! Great Great website.......I love it!

A: Ben - it's probably winter damage. The polar vortex did an incredible amount of damage. We have no peach crop here in Michigan. If it leafed out I would let it be. If the branches did not leaf out they are gone and should be removed to prevent Mother Nature from doing it this winter. Though fruit trees do not need fertilizing every year, I would give it a feed, but not until spring - just before bud break is best but you can do it up to June. I would use an organic product, feather meal or cottonseed meal or you can use an Espoma product. Sprinkle it on the ground out to the drip line not right next to the trunk. An inch or so of good compost and then a couple of inches of organic mulch with make your plum tree smile. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy