Plum Tree and Brown Rot

My Victoria Plum tree has had masses of fruit for years. Last year something strange happened. There was lots of blossom and lots of fruit as usual then the fruit started to get squidgy and did not ripen.  Panic set in, should I cut it down, should I prune it, if so how and how much. I had not sprayed the tree with winter wash the previous spring – a once a year effort of 10 mins, and I wondered if it had made a difference.

I looked up plum tree diseases and found one that fit what mine looked like.  It turned out the tree had brown rot fungus caused by cold and wet at the wrong time.

I need my Victoria plums for jam, bottling to eat in the winter, or just to eat. They are delicious warm with the sunshine, when there is any sun, soft and juicy and so aromatic. Most fruit bought from supermarkets or stalls has to be picked when it is not ripe so it travels well and waits for the consumer to buy it. You know those ‘ripen at home’ items? To get optimum flavour once bought sometimes it has to be kept for up to 2 weeks, depending what it is.  Because the plum tree is in my garden I can wait for the fruit to ripen on the tree for best flavour. If you have ever bought plums that are hard, leave them until they go soft and they will be much nicer to eat.

Below plum tree blossom May 2018 when it is cold weather.

Above the flowers are where the branches were pruned to give an open airy middle to the tree. I thought it was already that but took out some more.

It turns out that one of the best solutions to brown rot is to pick any fruit off straight away that is rotting and keep the ground clear around the tree if any falls off so the fungus does not spread. Let’s see if my efforts work this year.

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