Apricots are good addition to the orchard. They're pretty (with glossy leaves), easily managed and one of the most drought resistant fruit trees. They'are, however, vulnerable to winter damage and their buds are very susceptible to late frost damage. Apricots grow vigorously and require annual pruning and thinning. After the natural fruit drop in late spring and when the fruit is about 1 inch in diameter, thin fruit to 3-4 inches apart. Summer temperatures over 95°F cause pit burn, a browning around the pit. Apricots enjoy long lives of about 75 years.
When all green color is gone and the fruit is slightly soft, twist and gently pull upward. If possible, harvest apricots when fully ripe. If plagued with animal problems, you may want to pick tham slightly green and ripen them at 40°-50°F.
For canning, use only unblemished fruits or fruits in the container will turn to mush. For drying, split the apricot first and remove pit. If after drying the fruit is still softer than leather, store in the freezer. Fresh apricots can be stored in cool place (at 40°-50°F) for 3 weeks.
Height - Dwarf: 6-7 ft. Semidwarf: 12-15 ft. Standard: 25-30 ft.
Spacing - Dwarf: 8-12 ft. Semidwarf: 12-18 ft. Standard: 25-30 ft.
Root Depth - 50-100% farther than drip line.
pH - 6.0-6.5
Bearing Age - 3-9 years
Pollination - Most are self-pollinating, but yields are higher with more than one variety.
Chilling Requirements - Very low, 350-900 hours which results in early blooming.
Site - Not too rich or sandy. In the North, plant 12-15 ft. from the northern side of a building. This delays buds and minimizes late frost injury but ensures full summer sun. Avoid windy locations.
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Water - Medium
Fertilizer - Appropriate new growth on a young tree is 13-30 in. On a bearing tree 10-18 in. Since the tree is naturally vigorous, go easy on N.
Side-dressing - Apply compost or well-rotted manure mixed with wood ashes annually in the spring, before leaves appear.
Training - Free-standing tree: open center, dwarf pyramid. In colder areas use central leader.
Pruning - If the tree bears fruit only in alternate years, prune heavily when over half of the flowers are blooming. Pruning encourages new spurs, each of which bears fruit for about 3 years. Prune yearly to encourage fruiting spurs. remove wood that is 6 or more years old.
Apricot Pests & Diseases
Aphid, cankerworm, cherry fruit sawfly, codling moth, gopher, gypsy moth caterpillar, leafhopper, leafroller, mite, peach tree borer,, pearslug, plum curculio, whitefly.
Bacterial canker, bacterial spot, black knot, brown rot, crown gall, crown rot, cytospora canker, scab, verticillium wilt.