APRICOT Rosaceae Prunus armeniaca
HABITAT: Native to China. Zones 4 to 8.
USES: Fruit, flower.
HABIT: 8-30' deciduous trees bearing pink flowers very early in the spring followed by 1 1/2-2' orange, very sweet fruits in late summer. Varieties needing pollinators are listed below.
SEED GERMINATION AND CULTURE: Seeds do not come true. It is best to begin with vegetative produced plants. Set out 3' to 5' trees in a protected spot where frost is least likely, in average garden loam with humus (compost, leaf mold, peat moss) added. Avoid land used to grow tomatoes, potatoes, or berries within the past five years due to susceptibility to Verticillium Wilt. Space trees 25' apart for standards or 10' apart for dwarf trees. Fertilize with a 10-10-10 fertilizer at the rate of 1 cup per year of tree growth. After five years, feed with Ammonium Nitrate at the rate of 1/2 cup per year of tree growth.
Cut off all but three of the best placed branches 6 to 12 inches apart which fall in different directions. Cut back from 3 to 4 inches. Prune established trees to an open center by cutting out excess interior branches and remove down growing branches and those that cross other branches and are dead or diseased or weak. A bearing tree will grow 12 to 18 inches each year. Prune back shoots that make the longest growth.
When tree declines in its fruit production, remove most of the older branches doing so over a 2 to 3 year period. Thin the fruits when cherry-size to 3 to 4 inches apart. Spray with a dormant oil spray very early in the spring, then spray with an all purpose orchard spray: 1. when petals fall: 2. ten days later: 3. ten days later: 4. ten days later: 5. ten days later.
To deter brown rot in warm and humid areas, spray with Captan every three days while in bloom and weekly until three weeks before harvest. Apricots will bear from 4 to 5 years. Allow fruit to ripen on the trees. A full grown standard tree will yield 3 to 4 bushels. A dwarf tree about 3 bushels. Apricots grow faster in a soil with a pH of 6.0-7.0.
VARIETIES: A few of the better known varieties are:
Alfred: productive. Hardy. Medium sized bright orange. Mid season.
Blenheim: mid season.
Erli-Orange: large. Orange. Early.
Farmingdale: hardy. Productive. Medium. Soft. Orange. Mid season.
Moongold: Zones 4 to 8. Spreading. Golden. Mid season. Poor pollinator.
Moorpark: large, sweet. Deep yellow with red cheek. Late. Tender.
Riland: early. Medium. Red-blushed orange. Easily damaged by wind.
Royal: medium large. Orange. Processing. Mid season.
Sungold: Golden orange. Hardy. Zones 4-8. Poor pollinator.
Wenatchee Moorpark: large orange..
INSECTS: Aphids, Beetles, Bug, Curculio, Leaf Hopper, Mite, Moth, Scale, Thrip:
Use an approved insecticide such as Malathion.
Borer: Keep plants fertilized. Keep watered and cultivated. Wrap newly planted tree trunks. Spray insects with Malathion.
Saw Fly: Use an approved insecticide such as Malathion June 1-15.
Termites: Treat wood with Cuprinol.
Nematodes: Mulch plants. Avoid overhead watering. Treat soil with Vapam.
Canker Worm, Caterpillar, Earwig, Fruit Worm, Mealy Bug, Weevil: Use an approved insecticide such as Sevin.
Leaf Roller: Rake up leaves in fall. Use an approved insecticide such as Sevin.
Maggot: Clean up overripe fruit. Use an approved insecticide such as Sevin.
DISEASES: Crown Gall: Destroy infected plants. Sterilize soil with an approved fumigant such as Chloropicrin.
Leaf Spot: Spray with Bordeaux Mixture, Captan, Fermate. Destroy infected leaves.
Canker: Dust with Bordeaux Mixture, Lime-Sulfur, or Copper Spray. Keep watered during droughts.
Fire Blight: Cut out diseased wood at least 6" below diseased area and destroy. Avoid overfeeding trees. Spray with Agri-Mycin early and in full bloom. May use Bordeaux Mixture.
Black Knot: Cut out infected branches during dormant season. Make cuts 3-4" back of knot. Paint cuts with a tree wound dressing. Spray trees with lime-sulfur when buds begin to open.
Blight: Treat with Terrachlor before blooming. Destroy infected plants. Spray with Maneb, Zineb.
Die Back: Destroy infected plants. Sterilize soil with Chloropicrin.
Powdery Mildew: Spray with dormant lime-sulfur before buds break. Benlate effective.
Chlorosis: Reason - Alkaline injury or mineral deficiency. Feed with Iron Sulfate, apply to soil and foliage monthly.
Alternaria: Destroy infected plants. Clean up debris. Spray with Bordeaux Mix.
Botrytis: Increase air circulation. Remove infected parts. Dust with Zineb twice weekly.
Rust, Scab: Destroy infected plants. Spray every 7-10 days with Maneb.
Mosaic Yellows: Destroy diseased plants. Do not smoke around plants.
Verticillium Wilt: Destroy infected plants. No chemical control..
PROPAGATION: Budding, grafting, seeds (species only).