Plum tree questions

Hi- I have a decorative plum tree in my front yard with what looks like shot hole. From what I’ve read this usually accompanies wet weather, which we haven’t been experiencing both this past winter, spring and summer. We’ve had warmer weather and less snow/rain fall this year. In the spring the tree looked fine, leaves looked normal and I could see abundant newly forming fruiting bodies. Now mid-summer, the leaves are filled with holes and I see almost no fruits. I’ve never dealt with fruit trees before so any help with ideas to help the tree would be appreciated. I know this tree hasn’t been appropriately cared for, our landlord from whom were buying our house from, has let both house and gardens go. So, any suggestions on literature would also be very helpful. Thanks.

You say no rain but you have water droplets on your leaves.:slight_smile: If your supplemental watering it do not water over head, keep the water you are applying off the leaves as well. If it is ornamental I wouldnt worry about having any fruit. Looks like it could be some insect damage as well. Shot hole is usually smaller diameter for me and also some discoloration around the hole. I am sure others will add their thoughts.

This looks like insect damage.

I agree with Naomi and TurkeyCreek. I get shothole on my stone fruits, and it usually is much smaller with a brownish discoloration. This looks more like some sort of insect/beetle damage. Your profile doesn’t indicate where you live, but I would check your local land grant college/university to see if they have an ag section where you can check the local pests in your area for these types of trees and this time of year.

Patty S.

Thanks for you responses. I live in Southern NH, so we normally have moderate temps and regular moisture through out the year. This year however, it’s been hot and dry, what you see on the leaves was the first real rain we’ve had in a couple months. Meaning a steady rain lasting day and a half vs. occasional short passing showers in late afternoon. I noticed the ragged edges of some of the leaves as well and wondered about some type of insect issue. Shot hole seemed similar in appearance, but the environmental conditions didn’t seem to fit. I’ll check our local county extension to see if they have any useful info, thanks so much for your input it was extremely helpful to get a more experienced opinion to lead me in the right direction.

Shot hole starts as small necrotic spots on the young leaves and surface of fruit. The infected spots on the leaves fail to grow and eventually may fall out leaving a hole. Just to the right of center of your picture I see what appears to be a hanging chad in one of the holes and to the left of center what appears to be a couple of small chads that have fallen out of other holes. This is a common characteristic of the disease. If you looked closely you may have noticed small brown spots when leaves were younger.

I have the same issue with my plums in No. California. In my orchard it affects Japanese plums much more than European. I would bet that this is shot hole.

Another thing to look for is damage at bud sites.

I think I have shot hole also
Also more Japanese and nectarines but doesn’t seem to affect my European plums
But I read here that I think plum curculio feeds on leaves before entering fruit…but I’m leaning more towards shot hole

I am no expert but the damage on those leave does not look like shot hole disease to me. The leaves are too green and healthy for the kind of shot hole leaves that I have seen.

I think it is done by insects but I could be wrong. @Olpea, @scottfsmith and others with more experience could help you identify the problem you have.

Also, I think you confuse plum curculios with oriental fruit moths. The OFMs are the ones bore into new shoot tips and also fruit esp. stone fruit.

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Like mamuang mentioned, when I’ve seen shot hole on plums, my leaves don’t look quite as pretty as the ones pictured. That said, shot hole on plums can be caused by fungus (Coryneum blight) or bacteria (Bacterial spot).

I really don’t have much experience with the fungal shot hole (because I use fungicides to control scab and rot, which also suppresses fungal shot hole) but I have/do see bacterial shot hole on plums, but as mentioned, the leaves generally don’t look quite that pretty with bac. spot here.

Sorry I’m not much help here.

Here are some online pics of bac. spot and Coryneum blight on plums

Those could be caused by insects, I don’t see any bacterial or fungal signs anywhere only holes. Flea beetles for example can make holes something like that. These bugs attack at night so if you go out with a flashlight you may be able to see them in action.

Thanks Scott
I’ll do flashlight test…
Do you recommend a particular spray to get rid of them if I see them malathion perhaps?