Red Plum Tree Leaves: Why Are Leaves Turning Red On Plum Tree

Green Leaved Plum Tree With A Single Red Leaf
red leaves plum
(Image credit: Jennifer Martell via GKH Scavenger Hunt)

Fruit trees can cause a lot of worries. They’re a big commitment, and if you count on their harvest every year, noticing something wrong can be a real scare. What should you do if you notice your plum tree leaves turning red? How can you tell what’s wrong? Luckily, red plum tree leaves can mean a lot of different things, and just how the leaves are changing color can help a lot in diagnosing. Keep reading to learn what red plum tree leaves mean, and how to combat plum tree problems.

Why are Leaves Turning Red on Plum Tree?

Rust and root rot are the most common reasons for plum leaves turning red. One cause of red plum leaves is rust, a fungal disease that results in bright yellow spots on the leaves with red spores on the undersides. It can be treated by spraying fungicide monthly leading up to harvest if the outbreak is early, or once after harvest if the outbreak comes later. Phytophthora root rot can manifest itself in discolored, sometimes red leaves. The red leaves may start on just one branch, then spread to the rest of the tree. The red leaves are accompanied by dark root crowns, sap oozing from the trunk, and brown spots on the bark. This problem is usually caused by improper drainage or overwatering. To fight it, dig up the topsoil around the tree to let the root crowns dry out.

More Plum Tree Problems Causing Red Leaves

Bacterial leaf spot is another possible cause of red plum tree leaves. It begins as black or brown spots on the underside of the leaves that eventually disintegrate, leaving a hole surrounded by a red ring. Prune your branches back for better air circulation. Apply fixed copper in the fall and spring. Coryneum blight can appear as small red spots on young leaves that eventually disintegrate, leaving behind a hole in the leaf. Spray with fungicide. Leaf curl twists and curls the leaves, coloring them red along the curled edges. The leaves eventually drop. Remove and destroy all the dead leaves and any other debris to keep the disease from spreading.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.