Why are the leaves silvery and the branches dying on my plum tree?
Posted by Dobies Staff on 13 November 2014 02:11 pm

Silver leaf is a common disease on Plums but can also attack Apple, Apricot, Almonds, Cherry and Hawthorn, Laburnum trees along with Roses and Rhododendrons. At first the leaves have a silver sheen which is more noticeable on plums and less so on other trees, later browning may occur around the leaf margins and around the mid-rib. A single branch becomes infected at first and if not pruned out other branches soon show the symptoms. When cut infected branches have a brown stain running through the centre. Infected branches die back or fail to produce leaves in the following season and are dark brown in colour. From late summer onwards small bracket or flat crust like, brown, hairy fungal growth appears on the dead branches.

To reduce the risk of infection any pruning of plum trees should be carried out in late spring. Where silver leaf keeps recurring coating all pruning cuts with Arbrex Seal and Heal or similar product may be beneficial.

Silver Leaf attacks the tree normally from September to May through fresh wounds, often from insect damage or pruning cuts. No chemical control is available for this disease but occasionally mildly affected trees may naturally recover. Cut back infected wood 15cm (6ins) beyond any internal staining. The leaves do not carry this disease. If the entire tree is infected and especially if suckers are infected it should be uprooted and burnt. The Leaves are not a source of this fungal disease and do not need to be destroyed. All dead wood should be burnt.

Silver leaf is no longer a notifiable disease.

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