Newbie Gardener - Tree Help

Hello,
I'm 23, just bought my first house, and the tree in the front yard is having some obvious problems. I've never done any gardening/pruning/lawn maintenance before, so I am very new to yard care. My guess is, its a Purple Leaf Plum Tree. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I've posted some pictures online. Please take a look and let me know what I can do.
One problem are the leaves look damaged. We haven't had any hail this year so I'm assuming its a bug, but don't know what kind. As well, the roots seem to be protruding out of the ground. It looks like small sticks growing out of the ground.
I've put pictures of all this online.
http://members.shaw.ca/tripley /
Please let me know what I can do to save this tree, and my lawn.
Tyler
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It IS a purple leaf plum - Prunus cerasifera or x blireana. It's hard to distinguish between the two from a photo without seeing the flowers. Either one is prone to quite a few fungal and bacterial diseases and a whole bunch of insect problems, much like other trees in this genus, althoug blireana tends to lead the pack. The leaf damage looks a lot like caterpillars, but it is too late in the season to do anything now and the damage is not severe enough to treat. Watch carefully next spring after it flowers and leafs out and spray with Bt at that time if you see them - the caterpillars must be present when you spray.
Both flowering plums and cherries are surface rooted and produce lots of root suckers. Not a lot you can do about them, short of digging up the roots, which is of course not an option. Mowing them regularly is your best bet and watch for others in planting areas nearby - it is best to remove them so they do not pull nutrients away from the tree proper.
If the tree continues to deteriorate ( too many insect problems or signs of disease), you may want to consider replacing it with something less troublesome and a bit more select. Purple leaf plums are an extremely common (and very inexpensive) planting for new housing developments in my area and perhaps yours also.
pam - gardengal
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Start by web searching the tree type with a few added words such as. Leaf spot disease Insect damage Diseases Culture Then select from the sites that have .edu in their url, here in the states most of those sites will be from land grant colleges and the cooperative extension services. Canada has something similar I just don't know the name. Don't be in a hurry to do anything. Read up on dormant oils and horticultural oils. You will be far ahead of the average gardener/homeowner but if you bought a home at 23 there aint no flies on you.
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I've gotten so much great advice from everyone.
Thank you for all your help.
Tyler

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