Flowerdale Nursery  & Landscaping
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Flowerdale Nursery & Landscaping

 Apricots


Apricots These fruits are in the rose family (Roseaceae) & closely related to Plums. They are native to Iran & Turkey. These fruits are called stone fruits because they have a single large hard seed in the middle of a fleshy fruit. Just like all stone fruits Apricots need winter cold to set fruit properly. This could be a problem in our mild Orange County gardens, so providing this winter chill is our main concern.  Selecting a variety that has a low chill requirement (400 hours or less) is crucial to obtaining a quality crop.  Apricots love heat & become sweetest where summers are hot. Most Apricots are self fertile & do poorly in coastal gardens, & containers. Apricots are vigorous trees that respond well to pruning. Apricots can be fussy in our climate; they are susceptible to fire blight & other fungal diseases.  As a preventative measure treat with copper when trees are deciduous.  Most, if not all, quality Apricots are grafted to increase tolerance to diseases & widen the range of growing conditions. 

What Apricots Like

Exposure:  Apricots prefer to grow in full hot sun all day, & they can tolerate windy areas. Apricots do not respond well to being planted in gardens near the coast. Apricots can be grown on steep slopes provided they receive adequate water & nutrition.  The colder the winters the better for inducing a quality crop in Southern California.

 Soil:  Apricots grow best in soils amended with compost so add organic compost once or twice a year as mulch 2 to 8 inches thick.

Irrigation:  Apricots require infrequent deep irrigation (about once a week to once every two weeks) only during active growth. In the winter (October through February) irrigate once a month only if rains fail.

Diet: Feed Apricot trees once every three months. Fertilize with organic granular fertilizers.  We recommend Dr. Earth Organic Fruit Tree Fertilizer.  Adding a layer of organic compost once or twice a year as mulch is key to growing a happy healthy tree.

 Pruning: Apricots must be trained so that they conform to an architecture that promotes health & vigor. We want a tree with an open structure with a dense canopy of foliage but an uncluttered crown of branches. Remove all dead & crossing branches whenever noticed. Protect the graft union & remove any suckers that sprout below it.  It’s best to prune the trees when the foliage is absent during the winter. Also it is advised to keep trees around 15 feet tall as to ease harvesting.

Harvesting:  Harvest fruit when they have achieved their “full color”. Apricots are best picked ripe. Trees may produce poorly if the flowers are damaged while in bloom. The fruit should be easily removed from the stem when ripe & they should be slightly soft.

 

Varieties

Blenheim – Medium to large, skin dull yellow with orange cheek. Flesh pale orange, juicy; flavor delicious. Ripens: Late June to Early July.

Katy – A great apricot for mild winter areas. Fruit is large and very flavorful. Freestone. Ripens: June.

Royal – Very popular variety. Medium to large, yellow skin with orange cheeks. Flesh pale orange, juicy; sweet, delicious flavor. Ripens: July  

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