Home Page

Plant Doctor Archive

Wayward plum tree

HELP! I've got a 10-year-old plum tree that didn't crop so well this year and it's sending up suckers all over the vegetable garden. I've been told it's a rogue tree and I should chop it down, but I feel the need for some expert advice before committing to this drastic action. Hope you can help.


IT'S not unusual for plum trees to bear well one year, or even several years, then to have a poor crop for a year or two. There are various reasons put forward to explain this, including poor weather at flowering time and drought, but sometimes there seems to be no reasonable explanation, and the phenomenon is referred to as "irregular bearing".

The suckering problem is probably from an entirely different cause. Vegetable garden soil is an ideal place for plum tree roots to grow and some of them will have been damaged as you've dug around the vegetables, which encourages the growth of suckers. I wouldn't cut the tree down just yet - try pulling up the suckers so they break away from the roots and if possible avoid digging in the area as much as possible. You may have to consider starting another vegetable plot further away.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 146, 2004, Page 24

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

Home | Journal | Newsletter | Conferences
Awards | Join RNZIH | RNZIH Directory | Links

© 2000–2022 Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture
Last updated: June 30, 2005