Help us achieve our goals:
make a donation »
Join the RHS today and
support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
Join the RHS today and support our charity
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Pocket plum is a fungal infection of the young fruits of plums, damsons and some ornamental species, causing them to develop abnormally, without stones.
Pocket plum is the name given to abnormally developed fruit of plums, damsons and some ornamental Prunus species. It is caused by an infection by the fungus Taphrina pruni, which prevents development of the stone and renders the fruit worthless. Distorted fruits appear from midsummer.
You may see the following symptoms:
The fungus may also cause witches’ brooms (dense clusters of live and dead twigs).
The disease can be controlled by thoroughly removing infected branches, witches’ brooms and fruit before spores are produced. Since spores are airborne, this will not completely eliminate the risk of new infections if there are other Prunus species nearby, but it will reduce the threat.
There are no fungicides available to amateur gardeners for the control of pocket plum.
The fungus causing pocket plum is related to the pathogen causing peach leaf curl and it is assumed there is a similar life cycle, but it has been little studied.
It is thought that airborne spores released from the fungal bloom on the fruit lodge in bark and bud scales, where they grow without causing infection until the following spring. The fungus then invades the plant tissues, causing the swollen and deformed shoots and remaining in these as mycelium (the microscopic thread-like body of the fungus). In subsequent years it then invades the flowers and developing fruit.
Bacterial cankerPeach leaf curlPlum aphidsPlum mothPlums, gages and damsons: choosing cultivarsPlums: pruningSilver leaf
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
hecat100 on 31/05/2015
Has anyone got experience of dealing with pocket plum affecting damsons? I am wondering whether to cut my losses and take out the tree completely but that seems a bit drastic. Any advice gratefully received.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9