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How To Revive A Dying Plum Tree? Do This!

How To Revive A Dying Plum Tree? Do This!

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A dying or diseased plum tree can be caused by bugs or pests, rain, mildew, bacteria, hot and cold weather, frost, no pollination, too much water, or a lack of water.

Plum trees are resilient trees and there are many ways to treat bugs and diseases.

There are many causes of why a plum tree is not growing well or dying.

This article will cover some of these causes, how to treat them, as well as revive a dying plum tree.


How to Revive a Dying Plum Tree?

To revive a dying plum tree, remove pests with chemical or organic sprays or kill them with insecticidal soap and water. Also, remove fungi-affected fruits and branches and spray them with fungicides. Lastly, adjust the watering schedule, fertilize, and use well-draining soil.


Top Tips in Reviving a Dying Plum Tree


Treat Insect Infestations


Plum Sawfly

The plum sawfly lays eggs in the plum fruit that produces brown marks on the exterior. This insect is difficult to control using organic ingredients. Hence, growers find chemical sprays as the most effective method.

Another method is to turn over the soil around the tree with a gardening tool in the months of February and March. This brings the bugs to the surface so that birds will eat them.



Aphids are another bug that attacks plum trees, causing leaf curls and other damage. The leaves develop spots and turn brown and curl.

Chemical contact sprays and systematic sprays are most effective in treating the problem. Some growers spray insecticidal soap and water on the leaves to kill these insects.



Scale insects attack plum trees and look like dark peas growing on the branches and stems. They’re usually brown or purple in color.

Ask your garden shop to recommend a horticultural oil spray. From May to July the eggs hatch and this is a good time to use sprays.

In the winter months, a plant oil wash treatment works well and is also found at your local garden center.



Wasps are another pest that can cause damage to your plum tree. However, it’s best that a professional should be called for a solution as they know how exactly to deal with them.


Treat Plum Tree Diseases


Brown Rot

Brown rot is caused by a fungus in the fruit caused by rain, birds eating it, and insects. The fungus enters the fruit causing raised gray or brown spots to appear.

Certain plum trees are susceptible to this rot. The first thing you’ll notice during springtime is wilted and discolored blossoms.

It can spread to the branches, causing rot. To treat this, remove the flowers, branches, and fruits by pruning thoroughly. Spray with a copper fungicide for preventing further spread.


Phytophthora Root Rot

Phytophthora root rot will cause a plum tree to wilt and die. The leaves start to become dull and turn into red, green, purple, or yellow.

The upper roots start to darken, while the bark starts to show discoloration, both in the outer and inner layers.

With this disease, the tree needs good drainage. One solution is to remove the soil around the roots and let what is known as the crown tissue dry. 

Also, calling in a professional is a good strategy to solve this problem.


Plum Pocket

Plum Pocket is a fungus that spreads through the air and water by spores. It infects the fruit, causing it to grow long, develop white marks, and the plums wither and die.

It starts in the spring and does not affect your crop until the following year. When the fruit is infected it must be removed and destroyed. This includes fruit on the ground.

Thick clusters of branches should be pruned regularly.

Spray the tree with a fungicide recommended by your garden center in November and March. This helps prevent the fungus from growing next year.


Black Knot

Black knots are swellings in the branches that change color and have a velvety appearance. They become black as the disease progresses and can destroy the branches.

With this disease, the branches have to be removed and destroyed. It is recommended that you clean your shears with bleach periodically.

Remove all fruit and leaves from the ground too. Treat your plum trees with a recommended fungicide in the spring to prevent black knots.



A scab is a black spot on the fruit that creates scab-like lesions. But, usually, they start out as green spots before turning into black.

It sometimes engulfs the whole plum, breaking the skin, ultimately spreading and ruining your crop.

Scabs can be prevented by spraying a fungicide spray before the growing season. 

Spores can also infect branches, so you should prune the tree after harvest and in the spring.

Check with your garden center how often to spray the tree and when.



Cankers cause dark, sunken areas on the trunk and branches. They often leak amber liquid and as this disease progresses it can cause the tree to wither and die.

The only way you can solve this is through pruning and removal of dead branches near the canker. Disinfect your pruning shears after use and burn the branches. 


Treat Wilted Leaves

Wilted leaves occur on the upper plum tree because it does not receive enough water. This happens more often to plum trees in containers and new plantings.

If you see this, water more frequently and move the trees in containers to a more shady spot.

Too much water also causes the same effect. The solution is to stop watering until the soil dries out.


Frequently Asked Questions about How to Revive a Dying Plum Tree


What methods help with controlling insects on plum trees?

Chemical sprays recommended by your garden center will kill bugs that harm the plum tree. They can recommend traditional and more organic solutions to the problem. Some people remove the bugs by spraying insecticidal soap and water on the branches and leaves. Other products used are neem oil, sulfur spray, and winter wash. Some consumers grow other plants that attract birds and bugs that kill the pests.


What helps control plum tree diseases?

Many diseases that infect the plum tree and fruit are caused by fungus. Most growers use a fungicide spray recommended by their garden center. You should remove and ultimately destroy the diseased branches and fruit. Pruning your tree in the winter may help control the problem too. Root rot can be controlled using chemicals or fumigants near the base.


What keeps plum trees healthy?

You need to plant them in soil with good drainage qualities. They should receive 6-8 hours of sun per day. Water plum trees regularly and into October. Only fertilize when they have a fruit crop and all year round. Prune in the spring and summer.