With hot, humid summers and mild winters characterizing most of Alabama’s climate, a wide variety of fruit trees thrive in this southern state. Gardeners in the northern regions do need to be aware of bigger temperature fluctuations since some snow and frost occasionally occur. One thing all gardeners need to know is that most fruit trees require another tree with which to cross-pollinate so they bear fruit.
Japanese Plum Trees
A variety of Japanese plum trees grow well in Alabama, including Crimson, Byrongold, Ruby Sweet and Homeside. All require another tree to cross-pollinate with. All feature sweet fruit that should give you suitable harvests for at least a few years. But because of early frosts and disease, plum trees tend to last only four to 10 years before needing to be replaced. All plum trees flower in the spring; fruit is ready to be harvested in late summer or early autumn. The trees should be planted in full sun in well-drained soil. Planting plum trees in protected areas to help them survive late spring frosts also helps extend the life of the tree.
Dozens of types of apple trees thrive in Alabama, giving gardeners a wide variety of choices. For perfect-looking apples, choose popular types such as the sweet-fleshed Red Delicious or Golden Delicious apples. If taste is more important than looks, consider planting types such as Fuji or Gala apple trees. Requiring another tree for cross-pollination, apple trees put forth fragrant blooms in early spring with fruits appearing in late summer or early fall. Plant the trees in full sun with well-drained soil.
More than three dozen varieties of peaches grow in Alabama, making it a popular choice for gardens and landscapes. Some peaches work better than others for canning or freezing including varieties such as Redhaven, Majestic and Red Globe. Other peaches such as Springold, Dixired, and Sentinel work well for pickling. All of these choices taste great right off the tree. You can also choose trees that get harvested in early May while others aren’t ready until September, particularly peach trees growing in northern Alabama. Peach trees thrive in a sunny location with well-drained soil and protection from strong winds. Because peach trees are self-pollinators, you only need one tree in order to bear fruit. For the best-tasting fruit, allow peaches to ripen on the tree because once they get picked, they do not improve in sugar content.