WSU Extension


Ornamental Plum : Silver leaf
(revision date: 4/28/2014)

Silver leaf is a fungal disease which attacks the shoots, branches, trunk, and roots. The fungus is usually a saprophyte living on dead plant tissues, but it can attack living plants through wounds such as those made by pruning, winter injury, and insect damage. Leaves of affected twigs turn silver to ashy in color. They may turn up at the edges. The leaf discoloration spreads rapidly over whole branches and eventually to the entire tree. Affected leaves drop and the branch declines and dies. After the branch or tree dies, the fungus produces flat, crust-like or projecting fruiting bodies on the dead wood. The fruiting bodies are usually pinkish to purplish on the underside.
Management Options

Non-Chemical Management
  • Prune and destroy infected tissues. The fungus can only reproduce on dead wood, so it is important to remove dead branches from infected trees and destroy pruning piles and other dead wood in the vicinity of plum trees.
  • Prevent injury to trees. Infection only occurs through wounds.
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
Caption: Silver leaf on apricot
Photo by: R.S. Byther