Santa Rosa Red Plum after heavy pruning

I inherited a 30yo red plum when we bought our house in zone 10a five years ago. The season we bought, the tree put out a decent crop. The next year, after a decent pruning and fertilization, it put out a ton of fruit. The last two years, after light and no pruning, it was awful, as were our neighbor’s trees.

This past winter, I pruned really aggressively, thinking I could kick-start the tree. I also began a regular fertilization program, with Calcium Nitrate in August and Jobe’s Organics Fruit & Citrus Spikes in March. While there is decent new growth, some of the branches show no growth at all. They all had growth last year, before the pruning. Is this to be expected?

Thank you.

This low vigor thirty year old plum tree may be reaching the end of its productive life. Branches showing no growth are almost certainly diseased or else the root system has issues.

If you’re in a California type climate, a nitrate application in August could have burned the roots.