Thundercloud Plum storm damage

We received an email from Cindy about her Thundercloud Plum:

I just bought and planted a 2.5"- 3" diameter trunk with a height of about 13' thundercloud plum tree.  I was unable to stake it and a high wind thunderstorm blew through, leaning the tree and breaking the ground.  We were able to fix it but now watering it it looks as if the leaves are drying out.  Also it looks as if there are holes in the leaves as if something is eating them but I find no bugs.  Can you help.  I don't know if I'm killing it or if the storm shocked or tree.  Can it be healed. Thanks for your time!  Cindy

Thundercloud Plums often outgrow their root systems

In many cases, Thundercloud Plums outgrow their root systems, creating situations similar to yours. That being said, most trees over 6 to 8 feet tall should be staked, but of course, that is 20-20 hindsight at this point. Now would be a good time to straighten the tree and stake it. Staking is described further on our tree planting page.

Staked tree

One method of tree staking

You didn't mention where you live, but with the heat and dryness that many areas of the country have been experiencing lately, your new Plum should be thoroughly watered once a week, especially if rainfall isn't amounting to more than an inch or two per week.


Holes in the leaves

Regarding the holes in the leaves, Japanese Beetles love purple-leaf Plums! Try spreading an old bedsheet under the tree early in the morning and shaking the beetles onto the sheet. They can then be dumped into a bucket of soapy water to get rid of them. Otherwise, you might have to spray the tree if leaf damage is severe enough to warrant spraying. Always read the label of the insecticide you are using and spray in the cool of the day (early morning works best) when winds are calm and rain isn't expected for 24 hours or more. Adult beetles should be disappearing from view soon, as the adults finish laying their eggs and the next phase of their life cycle begins -- as 'C-shaped' grubs in the soil.

Japanese beetle adult Japanese beetle grub
Japanese Beetle
Japanese Beetle
larva (Grub)
Japanese beetle leaf damage
Classic Japanese Beetle leaf damage
Adult beetles 'skeletonize' tree leaves

Fertilizing your tree

I wouldn't recommend fertilizing your new Plum since it is late in the season, and the trees grow so fast without fertilization that it can actually make them more prone to windthrow.
It wouldn't hurt to trim the tree back to reduce the number of branches and leaves, either by shortening the outside branch tips or by thinning the tree. Thinning the tree will allow wind to pass through the tree more easily, and make it less likely to act like the sail on a sailboat. Always remove crossing branches that rub together when trimming your trees.


Flowering plum trees
Flowering plums in full bloom with a magnificent spring display!


Where does mulch come from?

Roots of Trees

Tree preservation


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