|Ornamental or flowering plum leaves|
with wind damage
|This is purple leaf plum in a desert or rock landscape. |
It will look good for about five years without much
attention. But after about five years it usually starts
with leaf scorch and may begin getting iron chlorosis
A. Flowering plums can handle the rock better because you aren’t really worried about a crop of fruit to eat. But the rock on top of the soil will aid in the depletion of organic matter and over time it will most likely turn the pinkish color that accompanies iron chlorosis in red leaved trees like the purple leaf plum. If not corrected that can lead to more of a decline in the tree opening it for dieback and insect/disease problems.
Hard to say why the bark is splitting and falling off but I would pull the loose bark off and look for damage to the trunk such as holes for borers. The bark should be removed anyway of the trunk is dead under the bark and it is pulling away from the trunk. Often this type of situation turns into a long lingering death spiral for the tree over the next few years when it will decline more.