The purple plum tree is a deciduous species of tree that does not grow well in conditions with pollution or soil that is overly compacted. It produces a beautiful deep-purple-coloured leaf and fragrant pink flowering blooms. Each year the dark, sweet-flavoured plums result. Although this tree is a fairly hardy one, it is susceptible to disease. It is important to practice diligent care and prevention to assure the health and survival of your tree.
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Black knot can be a very serious disease of purple plum trees. It is characterised by bumpy black swollen knots on the trunk and branches, often beginning at where the leaves meet the branches. These knots start off soft and green in colour, and then gradually harden and become black and rough. When left very long, the knots sometimes grow a fungus on them as well. If left untreated, the tree will develop brittle branches and the leaves will have sparse blooms, and as a result, the fruit will become more sparse as well. Fortunately, black knot disease on the purple plum tree is preventable. With proper pruning, an antifungicidal program and the correct amount of moisture exposure, this tree can flourish.
Verticillium wilt is a fungal disease that is common to the purple plum tree. It begins in the roots, contracted from the earth it is situated in, and is usually not noticeable at the beginning of the infection. Symptoms of this disease include odd leaf colouring such as yellows, reds and browns, wilting of the leaves, retarded growth, dying branches and possibly large areas of the tree. This debilitating disease is unpredictable, for it can occur gradually over a period of years or very fast and sudden. The best defence for verticillium wilt is thoroughly watering the tree on a weekly basis and fertilising it with an ammonium sulphate solution. A purple plum tree can live for many years while still harbouring the disease if you cut off dead and damaged areas of the tree. Verticillium wilt is contracted from the soil, so be sure not to plant another tree in the same area after one dies from this disease, as it is likely the soil is still affected.
Cytospora canker is a rather serious natured disease of either fungi or bacteria that can attack fruit trees including the purple plum. Usually the infection is introduced through a wound or an injury on the trunk, twigs, buds or branches. Most commonly, cytospora canker begins in the beginning of autumn or spring, as these are the times when the temperature is most friendly to the fungus or bacterial growth. It is possible to manage the disease by removing all cankers and the area below them about 4 inches. This will assure the diseased area is completely removed from the branch. After cutting the branch clean using a very sharp blade, injecting a copper sulphate and hydrated lime solution into the cut area will help prevent further canker growths.
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