Plums are a fast-growing fruit-bearing tree that can reach 25 feet tall. There are two main varieties of plum: Japanese and European. The plum most often sold in grocery stores is the Japanese variety. Most plum trees grow from zone 4 to 9 and require full sun and well-drained soil. Plum trees are plagued by many diseases such as plum pox, black knot, brown rot and cankers. These diseases may disfigure fruit and leaves and impair harvests. Scientists have been busy developing new, disease-resistant varieties of plum trees to avoid these losses.
This Japanese plum tree was developed by Auburn University. Although it doesn't bear fruit until its second year, it makes up for it with a large crop. The fruit of AU Producer is dark red with red, juicy flesh. It's good for eating fresh or cooking. AU Producer ripens in late June and requires 700 chill hours, or hours where the temperature is below 4.44 degrees Celsius, to bear fruit. It's hardy from USDA zones 5 to 8.
This North American native hybrid is a cross between a Japanese plum and a Chickasaw plum. Bruce bears small, yellowish-red fruit with yellow flesh that ripens in June. Bruce is not self-pollinating and will need another Japanese plum nearby to bear fruit. The plums are good eaten fresh or made into jelly. Bruce is hardy from zones 7 to 9.
AU Rosa was named the most disease-resistant plum developed by Auburn University. The dark red fruit ripens in early July and has juicy yellow flesh. The fruit is good for canning, eating fresh or cooking. AU Rosa is hardy from zone 6 to 8 and requires 700 chill hours.
A profuse display of flowers precedes the dark red fruit of AU Roadside. Like most Japanese plum trees, AU Roadside is self-pollinating. The fruit ripens in late June and is firm and good for eating fresh, cooking or canning. AU Roadside is hardy from zone 5 to 8 and is especially resistant to black knot, bacterial fruit and leaf spot and cankers. AU Roadside needs 700 chill hours to bear fruit.
Honeysweet Plum Tree
This tree was specifically developed by the United States Department of Agriculture to be resistant to the plum pox virus. This virus is spread by insects and attacks the leaf and the fruit of plum trees. The fruit of this tree is purple with a yellow flesh. Honeysweet plum tree is not on the market yet, but should be soon.