‘We have two plum trees that both blossom, but a lot of the fruit drop before they are fully formed – why is this?’

So ask a Mr. and Mrs. Howard Hughes from Surbiton, Surrey.

Well, the likely reason is a lack of calcium, as this is vital when the stones are being formed. Many sandy soils are low in Calcium, so if you have this sort of soil, this might explain the problem. If there is insufficient Calcium to go round, some fruit will drop off before they have fully formed. To remedy this try a dressing of Lime over the whole area during the winter and then in the spring a mulch around the trees with well-rotted manure or compost should also help.

Whilst we’re dealing with plums another problem you might come across is the leaves developing a silvery sheen and the tree looking sick. This is most probably a sign of ‘silver leaf’ – a disease which requires all of the infected and dead wood to be burned before the middle of July. If you accidentally cut into healthy wood, cover the cut with a wound sealant.  To improve the general health of the tree apply a general fertiliser such as Fish, Blood and Bone in February /March.

Silver Leaf- infected leaves (left) compared to healthy

Silver Leaf- infected leaves (left) compared to healthy

Old School Gardener

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