WSU Extension


Plum, Prune (Fresh) : Silver leaf
(revision date: 5/20/2014)

Silver leaf is a fungal disease affecting cherry, apricot, plum, and other stone fruits. The fungus typically grows on dead wood, but it can infect living tissues through wounds and become systemic (throughout the plant). The leaves of affected branches turn silvery to ashy in color and the margins may curl slightly upwards. The branch may either die quickly or show symptoms for several seasons before dying. Affected branches have a dark staining in the heartwood. The fungus produces fruiting bodies only on dead wood. The shelf-like fruiting bodies push through the bark and are light brown to purple on the upper surface and pinkish to purple beneath. Trees are least susceptible to infection summer through fall in dry weather.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Burn or destroy all prunings, which may serve as an infection source.
  • Prevent wounds and injuries to trees, such as those caused by poor pruning practices, insect damage, or winter injury.
  • Prune out and destroy affected portions of tree, when practical.
  • Remove affected trees, if desired.
  • Remove all dead wood from infected trees to help prevent sporulation and spread of the fungus.
Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

Chemical Management

None recommended

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Caption: Silver leaf damage
Photo by: R.S. Byther