Trees/Flowering Plum Tree
Jim, I have a 10 year-old flowering plum that has been a beautiful specimen. Late this Spring I simply limbed the vertical sprout "suckers". It resulted in this mature tree dying in about 8 weeks! No infestations, no beetles, no fungus, no leaf rot, no nothing.
However, some young 1-foot sprouts now exist at the very base of the trunk. Can I cut down the tree but encourage the shoots from the base in hopes of a longer life watching the tree grow from this young perch? If not, can you recommend another "red-leafed" tree (that not a maple) for the same place, that has a more stable lifespan? The red is a perfect contrast, so that's why I'd love to stay with it. Thanks in advance.
You can see if any of the branches are still alive by starting near the end of an upper outer branch and scrape a small bit of bark off and if the color under the bark is green the branch is still alive. If the color under the bran is brown the branch is dead at that point on the branch. IF not green continue down the branch scraping at intervals until you find green or reach the trunk. Try other branches until you find green. You can prune the dead branches off. Yes the sprout can be trained to become the new tree. I would let them grow this year and next spring select the tallest to be the new tree and cut the others. You can leave a couple of stems but realize that you will have a multiple trunk tree. Which for ornamental type trees is not all bad. I would try this first and if you are not satisfied with the new tree then replace it next spring.