What Pollinates a Bruce Plum Tree?
In the botanical world of the birds and bees, some plum trees (Prunus spp.) need only a pollinator to help them set fruit, while other plum trees need both a pollinator and a pollenizer. 'Bruce' plum trees (Prunus salicina 'Bruce') need both to successfully bear fruit.
These two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are distinctly different:
- Pollinators are agents that transfer pollen grains from male flowers to female flowers, such as birds and insects.
- Pollenizers are plants that lend their pollen to other plants for cross-fertilization.
Most plum trees are perennials in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9.
The 'Bruce' plum tree, which grows in USDA zones 5 through 9, relies primarily on honeybees as pollinators, although other agents, including the wind may also pollinate its flowers.
- The 'Methley' plum tree (Prunus salicina 'Methley,' USDA zones 4 through 9) is the primary pollenizer for 'Bruce' plum trees.
- Sand plum, also called Chickasaw plum (Prunus angustifolia, USDA zones 5 through 9) is also a suitable pollenizer for 'Bruce' plum.
Plant pollenizers for 'Bruce' plum trees no further than 100 feet away.
Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist and a professional writer who has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, horticultural articles, and magazine and newspaper articles. After studying botany and microbiology at Clemson University, Blackstone was hired as a University of Georgia Master Gardener Coordinator. She is also a former mortgage acquisition specialist for Freddie Mac in Atlanta, GA.