Pluots are a combination of apricot and plum, one of many hybrids considered ‘interspecific’ plums. Other mixed monikers include plumcots, apriums, and apriplums—but the pluot name is trademarked by breeder Floyd Zaiger, which means growers cannot legally call their fruit pluots, hence the development of other terms like plumcot.
While pluots and plumcots have occurred naturally in regions where apricots and plums grow freely, modern versions have been cross-pollinated for maximum flavor and shelf life. Today’s pluots are usually one quarter apricot and three-quarters plum, with smooth skin in various colors, and a range of rich flavors.
TYPES, VARIETIES & CUTS
With a short supply window for most apricot-plum hybrids, the number of varieties has increased to maintain availability. In top producer California, harvests begin in May and extend through the summer months and into the fall. Pluot/plumcot varieties include Amigo, Cherry, Crimson Sweet, Dapple Dandy, Dapple Jack, Early Dapple, Flavor Heart, Flavor King, Flavor Prince, Flavor Queen, Flavor Supreme, Flavorosa, Geo Pride, Golden Treat, Jubilee, King Kong, Red Ray, Raspberry Jewel, Splash, Sugar Baby, and Supernova.
PESTS & DISEASE
Bacterial canker survives in or on plant surfaces, is spread by splashing rain, and prefers high moisture and low temperatures to spread. Symptoms include limb dieback with rough cankers and amber-colored gum. There may also be leaf spot on flowers and young shoots. Inner bark may be brown, fermented, or sour-smelling. Young trees are the most susceptible.
Crown gall is most damaging in young trees, either in the nursery or new orchard plantings. Rough, abnormal galls form on roots or trunks. Galls are soft and spongy, and their centers decay as they age. Young trees become stunted, older trees often develop secondary wood rots.
Powdery mildew attacks fruit or foliage. Areas of white powdery fungal growth, roughly circular in shape, develop on fruit in the spring and affected areas become scabby and dry.
Ripe fruit rot causes fruit to turn mushy and leaky in storage containers and spreads rapidly from fruit to fruit. Infected tissue can be readily distinguished from healthy tissue, developing visible decay within 24 hours. Decaying tissue changes from light brown to gray to black. Rotted tissue remains firm and difficult to distinguish from healthy tissue.
The larvae of the American plum borer dig into trees, leaving reddish orange frass and gum pockets. Vigorous trees will heal over, but young trees can have severe damage and heavy, prolonged infestations may cause scaffolds to break with wind or a heavy crop. Larvae are about one inch long, dusky white, pinkish, or dull green in color. Adult moths are gray with brown and black markings.
The brown mite feeds by sucking the contents out of leaf cells, reducing tree vitality and adversely affecting fruit size. Leaf injury begins as a mottling and browning of leaves, and heavy populations of brown mites can remove almost all the chlorophyll from leaves. Nymph mites are red, turning brownish green as adults.
Citrus cutworm larvae feed on numerous leaves, blossoms, or fruit, causing damage throughout. Larvae begin light green in color and turn pinkish or brown as they age, and have a white stripe along each side of the body.
Colonies of leaf curl plum aphids cause plant leaves to curl up tightly. Large amounts of honeydew are secreted, and tree growth and fruit sugar content can be reduced by infestations. Aphids are shiny and range in color from green to brownish green or yellow.
The mealy plum aphid builds up in large numbers on the underside of leaves and causes curling and stunted growth. High populations can devitalize the tree, stunt growth, and reduce the sugar content of fruit. Honeydew dripping on fruit can cause cracking. Wingless adults are pale or whitish green with three dark stripes on their backs. Winged adults have a dark thorax and bands on the abdomen.