Big question: should I remove this tree?

I have an old plum tree in our garden, not very productive but I like it and the birds really enjoy it. The problem I have is that it has bad bacterial canker. As a result each year it is sending out more and more suckers all over the place, which is ok in my garden but it’s on the south boundary so if the trees grow on the other side of the fence in my neighbours’ gardens they could become full trees, as has happened further down casting our entire garden in shade. I’m wondering if I should bite the bullet and remove this sick tree now and replace with something else. Help!

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I really hate removing trees if I can help it. I bought an old house with lots of trees with poor placment and heath issues. Over the years, I have removed some but replaced them with healthier/ better behaved trees . It seems drastic but then you end up with something more harmonious. But I do sympathise, I even hated cutting out the elders that kept poking us in the eyes. :wink:

But if it has bad canker and is not good for your neighbours, I might do it and maybe replace it with another plum on a shorter root stock; that way the birds and you can still benefit from the blossom & fruit.

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I loathe removing trees too but if it’s not healthy and in a place that doesn’t’t work well, I’d be very tempted to, especially if you’re going to replace it with something that will improve e the space for you and for nature. It’s not the same as just chopping down trees willy billy.

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Yes. Do it. It’s a shame but its life is limited and you could be getting joy from another tree. Any ideas what you’ll replace it with? Personally, I would go for a sorbus.

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Today I’m having to remove my lovely old apple tree that came crashing down yesterday causing carnage. So I’d say remove it by choice when you can do it carefully and planned. Don’t wait for it to fall down.

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Thank you for all of the advice and shared experiences everyone! That’s helped me decide, it is going to go! I just need to think of something to replace it with now :slight_smile:

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Within 24 hours I’ve seen the chance for a major re-plan of the garden because there will no longer be that damp shady dry dull area under the apple tree where only ferns would grow. Now it will be sunny enough for a bistro table and chair so whoppee for accidents and a chance to change something as big as a tree. Go for it.

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Oooh, how about a Strawberry Tree? They’ve cropped up a lot recently, good forest garden plant too, plus there’s a compact cultivar. You can make a wine from the fruit :wink:. Also, I think Asian Pears are beautiful trees, on a dwarfing/semi-dwarfing rootstock. Fantastic bark, lovely blossom and delicious fruit. I particularly like the russet ‘Hosui’, which has a weeping habit. Prone to late frosts (still no harvest here because of exposed position) but if you’re in London, you should be okay. Or maybe a Bentham’s Cornel? :thinking: Uh oh, I’ve gone off on one…

https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/1473/Arbutus-unedo/Details
https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Arbutus+unedo

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Great suggestions! Thank you. I can confirm Asian pears would crop well in our garden because our road is lined with them and they crop heavily every year! :smile: a strawberry tree would be good. I was also thinking about a crab apple so that the tree would actually be more useful for wildlife that the pear. The tricky bit is finding a tree that also looks kinda tropical so it fits in with the rest. :thinking:

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There can’t be many things more exciting than choosing plants?! I thought of another, Loquat, really amazing leaves and fruit and very tropical looking. I do want to get hold of a Benthams Cornel as well, such amazing looking fruit. Good luck :slight_smile:

Small orange round fruit on tree with long green grooved leaves

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Ooh yes great suggestion, thank you for the ideas. I’m going to plant to remove it a bit later in summer so I don’t cause too much damage to everything else.

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Somebody further up suggested a sorbus - I planted a Sorbus thibetica ‘John Mitchell’ in my completely treeless small garden and It has done SO well. It has beautiful, pale green felted leaves, and it’s not too imposing. Saying that, I really want an arbutus uneda - my mum had them in her garden when I was growing up in Italy!

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How lovely, I can just imagine that! I do love both of these trees so they are definitely contenders!