If you have the space then an apricot tree is a wonderful addition to the home garden. We know they are grown commercially for fruit, preserving and for juice, however you can have all of this in your own garden if you want to.
Apricot trees do need a little space, good air circulation helps prevent diseases and allows the sun in to improve fruit quality. In the home garden go for self pollinating varieties, and be prepared to wait for around 4 years for good fruit production, you will get some earlier but just not a really good crop.
Where to grow – When to plant
In general we are looking for a an position where the frosts are over early, late frost will kill the flower buds, no flower buds means no fruit.
A sunny position is essential, a good deep loamy soil and well drained as well. Dig in some well rotted compost before planting.
Check to see you are buying the right variety, some need a higher chill factor than others.
In warmer areas you can plant in Fall after the summer heat is over.
Pruning is a little tricky, it is best carried out in summer after they have finished fruiting. When we prune apricot trees in summer the wounds heal more quickly and this helps prevent gummosis and other bacterial diseases. So only prune when the weather is dry and warm.
It is essential to use sterilised clean pruning equipment, and to sterilise the equipment between pruning sessions and between different trees,
A normal regime would mean pruning any old dead wood first. Then clean out the inward growing branches that cross over, this allows light and air into the tree.
Newly planted trees are often more heavily pruned to get them into the right shape, this is particularly true of commercial plantings. Many growers look for a vase shape with 3-4 main branches with two secondary limbs on each.
After this you can cut back the seasons growth by around 20% and no more than 50%, remember that apricot trees fruit on last years wood, so heavy pruning can decrease production. If we consider that the fruiting spurs are fairly short lived( 2 – 3 years) we understand the requirements a little more.
Popular eating varieties include :
- Gold Kist Apricot (Semi-dwarf)
Grown as trees, as fans and even espaliered, Apricot trees also come on dwarfing rootstock, so you can find a variety for most positions.
Apricot trees are available for sale from the following specialist nurseries.
STARK Bro’s NURSERIES & ORCHARDS Co.
PO Box 1800 Louisiana MO 63353 – phone: 1-800-325-4180
Originators of Red and Golden Delicious apples. Full line of fruit, Apricots, Berries, Cherries, Nectarines, Pears, Grapes, Nuts, shade and flowering trees, shrubs roses and small fruits. Includes: Walnuts, Carpathian English Walnut, Lake English Walnut, Black Walnut and others