Help needed

by Tyrone
(Cape Town )

Hi there, we have a Wild Plum tree it's about 7 years old and during winter it was doing well nice colour and tree was full. When we went into Spring we had a few hot days and we also removed the H frame from the tree as it was cutting it. Then our leaves started to go brown and we started loosing leaves the tree is almost bare. We have given it Nitrosal twice but have not seen any changes yet.

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Nov 11, 2020
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Another wild plum tree problem
by: Caroline

Hi Tyrone,

Thank you very much for your question. You're the second person who has asked about the wild plum Harpephyllum caffrum. I presume this is the one you mean, rather than Carissa macrocarpa.

The other lady was in Joburg and her tree started dropping branches. When I looked up the diseases of this tree, one of those mentioned was the shothole borer. You have to look for holes that are weeping on the trunk, or other symptoms like patches of white powdered wood on the bark surrounding entrance holes of the beetles, oozing resin on the bark, or small, elevated lesions resembling shotgun wounds. (my source was this article http://saforestryonline.co.za/articles/new-pest-and-disease-threats-discovered-in-sa/.

If you don't find those signs, I'm thinking it may be a kind of fungus. Harpephyllum is extremely hardy and drought resistant and it may be harmed by too much water, and we've had a very wet winter. As the warm weather starts, fungi proliferate. It also does not need fertilizer, like many of our native plants it may even be harmed by fertilizer. I am wondering if this was the problem the other lady had, as the tree was in the middle of a very green lawn. So it was receiving the fertilization and watering regime for high intensity lawn maintenance, which was not appropriate for the tree, perhaps.

You say the H frame was cutting the tree. It may have debarked it during a windy spell. Paint over any places where the bark has come off with tree sealer as soon as possible. Its like having a wound and can lead to infection and drying out. My curry tree looks as if its dying and every time we find it has been debarked. By snails. Debarking makes trees look very sick.

I hope this helps. I'm not an arborist or educated tree expert. Let me know if you find any shothole borer symptoms and I can help you further. Please let my know if you try something and it works.

Good luck.

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