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I've attached the following pic for reference.

Plum tree

I have a plum tree that's about 6 years old and stood about 3 metres tall.

Anyway, it fell over last night. The ground does not seem disrupted through - so no roots sticking out. I'm not sure what I need to do - can the tree be saved? Can I just try to lift it up so it's standing straight again? How can I keep it from falling over again?

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  • some trees can regrow from the roots, this may be one depending on where the graft is. Jan 1 at 6:24
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Does it feel as though the trunk is still substantially attached to the roots? If yes, you could try staking the tree upright. Use a good sized, good quality tree stake (pressure treated, 3 inch plus diameter, 8 foot length). Bang the stake a couple of feet into the ground opposite to the side the tree has fallen. Secure the tree to the stake using a proper tree tie. Good luck.

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  • I would also prune off half the branches to compensate for root loss. Jan 1 at 16:02
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It's difficult to see, but it looks to me like the tree bent 90° at or near the graft. The only thing that I can think of that would cause this is rot on that side of the tree, possibly caused by a canker. You'll see this if you're able to get the tree upright, and if that is the case, your tree is not going to live long.

If the rot/canker is a few centimeters above the graft, then your tree may resprout from that area if you cut the tree just below the rotted area. If not, then any resprouting will be from below the graft, which will more than likely give you a tree with poor or no fruiting.

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This kind of thing happens a lot in the Caribbean where heavily laden fruit trees of various kinds get blown over in hurricanes. So as you travel there you see spare bits of wood propping up trees which never quite make it back to upright and handsome, but continue to fruit quite happily and with that fruit actually a bit closer to the ground and therefore easier to get at.

Even if not broken, the roots will definitely be weaker and the slightest breeze will send it back horizontal. Support will be required for many years to come.

If you can get it slowly back to about 45 degrees or a bit better you could explain that it was a deliberate attempt to get it to resemble an expertly trained espalier tree, but of course would need to be pruned in the future with that goal in mind. The fruit looks quite heavy on this tree (and a principal reason it did a face-plant) and might want to be reduced a bit to alleviate the tendency for it to hug the ground again.

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