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.
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.
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.