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Anna, Biologist, Gardening Expert
Category: Landscaping
Satisfied Customers: 11541
Experience:  I am a biologist with experience in water gardening, and growing trees, ornamental plants, and vegetables.
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We have a flowering plum tree that isn't flowering. we live

Customer Question

we have a flowering plum tree that isn't flowering. we live in Boston area and had a very snowy,cold,long winter. all the birds seem to congregate to this tree all winter. Is it possible that they ate all the buds on tree for lack of food? the trunk and a few branches are starting to sprout. is there anything i can do to help it survive?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Landscaping
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in trees. I'm sorry to hear of this problem. I closed out your other questions - about the error message- because I assumed this was your original question, and it did finally come through.

Birds, notably cedar waxwings and finches will eat flower buds when they can't find better foods. They don't, however, eat leaf buds. They may be responsible for the lack of flowers on your plum tree. Freezing weather after the buds start to swell can also kill them and cause them to shrivel and fall, so that is another possibility. If the tree has fewer leaves forming than usual, cold weather is probably responsible for that.

You can make sure the tree has water during dry spells this growing season. I would also fertilize now with an all purpose flowering tree fertilizer (available in nurseries and garden centers). As warmer weather progresses more leaves may sprout, but if it turns out some branches are actually dead, it's best to prune them out. I'd give it a few weeks before doing that to be sure they are dead. Cold winters can also slow down growth in the spring.

Some people place the bird netting sold online and in nurseries over their flowering trees in the fall to decrease the chances of this sort of thing happening, but some birds do manage to eat flower buds through the netting.

If you have more questions, let me know in a REPLY. I hope your flowering plum will recover.


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