How to Grow Apricots – REGENERATIVE.com

How to Grow Apricots

Apricots that are eaten directly from a tree your have grown are considerably tastier than any available in the supermarket. Perhaps the achievement of successfully raising the crop of fruit subconsciously adds to the pleasure, but growing apricots in a permaculture plot ensures they have the most natural and unadulterated flavor possible. Many permaculture gardeners may initially think that an apricot tree will only thrive in tropical conditions, but while they are susceptible to frosts and cold conditions, with a little care and attention and the use of suitable microclimates, apricots can be grown in most conditions. They are also useful trees in that they are self-pollinating, so even permaculturists with small plot can grow a crop of apricots, as you only need a single tree for fruit to set year after year.

Varieties
Check with local gardeners, nurseries and horticultural societies which native species are suited to your area. This will depend upon the soil and climatic conditions in your location. Some of the common cultivars used in garden crop production include the Alfred, which benefits from a more sheltered site and produces sweet, medium-sized fruit, the Flavorcot, a Canadian variety that is ready for harvest in late summer, and the Tomcot, which will do well even in cooler climates.

Position
While reasonably hardy, you want to avoid planting your apricots in locations where frosts settle. The apricot flowers comparatively early in spring, and so any late frosts can damage the fruit-bearing parts of the plant. A semi-open spot that receives at least a few hours of full sun and a little air circulation is ideal. If your permaculture plot slopes, avoid planting at the base of the slope as cold air will naturally sink here and a frost is more likely to form. If your plot is in a cool climate, you may still be able to grow apricots, but you may need to cover the trees in protective fleece or plastic during the winter nights to protect them from the elements. Make sure the covering does not touch the blossoms, and remove during daylight hours to allow the tree to receive sunlight.

Soil
Apricot trees do not fare so well in acidic soils. They prefer neutral or slightly alkaline soil that is well drained. Preparing your site with lots of organic matter such as well rotted compost and composted chicken manure should help to keep the pH level around neutral but if acidity is still a problem, consider adding some organic agricultural lime to raise the pH level. Apricot trees send down deep roots, so a humus rich, deep soil is ideal.

Planting
Source organically grown trees of around one year old. They are established enough that will be able to survive the first winter in the garden. You can expect your first full harvest in year four. If planting more than one specimen, space at least 25 feet apart to allow for mature canopy and root growth. If using dwarf varieties, 10 feet spacing between specimens is sufficient.

Companions
As a fruit tree, an apricot makes a good central species for a planting guild. Its deep roots will help to bring up nutrients and moisture from lower down in the soil profile for other plants in the guild to use, and it can provide shade to species who do best out of full sun. There are certain plant species that are suited to guild planting with apricots because of the benefits they bring to the tree. Basil, for instance is a good companion as it repels insects that would naturally feed on the apricot’s fruit. Clover is a good ground cover near an apricot tree as it suppresses grasses which would compete with the tree for soil nutrients, as well as adding nitrogen to the soil, which will help the apricot set a good crop. Plants to avoid placing in close proximity to apricot trees include tomatoes and potatoes, which can often transfer fungus to the tree that will impede growth.

Care
Each spring, fertilize with composted chicken manure which helps to keep the soil slightly alkaline and gives a nutrient boost for the growing season. Water well when composting and mulch with straw or wood chips to help retain moisture, but ensure that the mulch is kept clear of the tree trunk. Apricots are particularly susceptible to developing cankers on pruning wounds, so prune your trees, if necessary, early spring when wounds will heal more quickly and to promote new growth for fruit forming. If your tree produces heavy crops, you want to thin the fruit out when the fruit is around the size of a hazelnut. Thin so that fruit sets approximately three or four inches apart; being too laden with fruit may not have sufficient energy to sustain the crop and may either drop the fruit early to conserve energy, or set smaller, undeveloped fruit. Birds will eat the fruit, so consider netting if they take too many (allowing the birds to take some fruit is all part of being a permaculture gardener), and plant flowering herbs to attract ladybug who will predate the aphids an scale that can be problematic for apricot trees.

Harvest
Apricots are typically ready to harvest in mid to late summer. During this time, check on the fruit regularly to determine whether it is ripe grow apricotsfor harvest. The fruit should feel full, soft to the touch, and detach from the stem with a gentle tug. The fruit bruises easily, so handle with care. While apricots will continue to ripen after picking in terms of the flesh becoming softer and the color changing, they will not develop any additional flavor or sweetness once picked. If you do not eat them immediately, you can store them for a day or tow in a paper bag away from sunlight, but be aware that they can quickly spoil. If you have a large crop consider trading them with neighboring gardeners for different crops, using them in preserves or freezing them. If freezing, slice in half and remove the stone (as this will make the flesh bitter) beforehand.

90 comments

we had a plentiful tree growing up. in the yard. i misss it, looking for a tree next wpring to plant again

Is greenhouse growing possible in great lakes area?

Tammy

I prefer to dry my apricot crop. Less work than canning, less energy consumption than freezing. And dried apricots are better than candy!

While living in Colorado Springs I very much enjoyed the apricots given by our tree. That tree was huge and at least 40 years old.

hmm… I enjoy apricots and as I little girl, I would sit under my aunt’s tree eating these delicious treats to my heart’s content! would love to have a tree in my yard (ahem – when I get a yard!) This info brings me one step closer! Thank you! <3

I love apricots but live by the ocean….

i would love to grow them , but can i in south carolina

You should be able to grow them in South Carolina. I’m in the NC mountains and I just bought three trees so this article comes at perfect timing for me.

Don’t think they will grow in Sugarlands

i am growing them in sw georgia. never had much luck in nw arkansas getting them to fruit but am hoping for better results here. i have two tifton apricots about 5 years old

Hmmm…. I’ve had “an” apricot tree for 10 years and have never had any fruit. I was hoping to add another tree this year in hope of getting a crop

Yes, I have two small trees and plans. Home grown apricots are the only ones worth eating here in sunny So. CA, these days!

In Zone 4, too, by any chance?

Hopefully on the CA PNW coast in zone 9/10…. maritime.

Some varieties are not self-polinating. Apricot trees do well in Fort Wayne, I once found one loaded with ripe fruit downtown on a vacant lot.

I just moved to the B.C. Okanagan and I have been wondering what to plant come spring. Thanks for the information.

I would absolutely love to grow apricots here in southern oregon! Everyone keeps telling me that the springs are too cold 🙁

I have one apricot tree, easy 20′ tall

Apricots grow in eastern Oregon where the temp goes from one extreme in the winter (can get as cold as -10/-20) to the other extreme in the summer (temps in the 80-100’s range) and the humidity changes a lot here too so I’m wondering if there is much of anywhere these can’t grow if they can survive it here lol. Love fresh apricots!

I have one older tree that produes enough for the whole neighborhood

THIS IS MY SPRING PROJECT, I WILL PLANT ONE APRICOT TREE…

Late freezes kill mine every year. Zone 7

I wish
went from califonia to Ohio I dont tnink I could grow them here, can I

You must have very low-chill varieties to grow them in Southern California or anywhere with warm winters. Otherwise you’ll only get fruit every few years, sometimes several years go by without so much as one piece. Dave Wilson Nursery has the best choices, in my opinion.

I have 15 trees in pots, they grow nicely that way as starters. Waiting to buy a home to plant them. They have been in pots for about 3.5 years and still growing…… Have peaches and apples and avocado’s too. I cant wait for the day they can go in the ground….

Elwin

“If you do not eat them immediately, you can store them for a day or tow in a paper bag away from sunlight, but be aware that they can quickly spoil.”

So when the sun comes up, you hook the paper bag full of apricots to a tow truck and haul it away as fast as you can? 😉

What a fun typo!

Stacie, have you grown these?

No Luann Watson, but would certainly be a nice addition!

I’m giving a whirl in Colorado.

We have an apricot tree that has never had fruit, even though it blooms. We were told we needed another tree for pollination. We got one, but it died so still have no apricots.

We seem to get frost or hail about the time ours blooms. Never had an apricot in 19 years (and it was an established tree when we moved here.)

That’s what I’ve been told will happen

I’m starting them in the high desert of Nevada and they are doing ok so far and growing fast and have survived 30 below so far…

yes you can! and peaches too!

Maybe in pots

If you’re in SoCal and want to grow apricots, check out Aprium. Flavor Delight and Cot-N-Candy are very low chill, and very delicious. Cot-N-Candy may be one of the top 5 fruits ever. If you’re in colder climes, find a Tomcot, or a Harcot. Tomcot is the best cot around.

If you get no fruit, it could need a pollinator. Or it was a seedling, which can take years to fruit. Or if it rains during bloom every year…

Tomcot or Harcot.

Try covering the tree with remay cloth during bloom.

Try Tomcot.

Thanks! I will

thanks for the apri-tip!
apricots one more bit of proof of a loving God!

I have one and I want another three..

Where do I get Tomcot?

Thank you for the reply. Will be adding another tree, hope that will do the trick.

Oh I wish I had one!

i canned them this year, and that is what is keeping me alive now

mom has one here in Newmarket, Ontario. lots of fruit every year.

I live just a few hundred yards off the beach here in the Santa Barbara area. I have a flourishing apricot tree as do many of my friends and neighbors. Just get the right variety and put it in the right spot. Gophers ate my mature fig tree this past summer as I had not planted in a basket…live and learn!

after the city came in and cut down my shade trees a couple of years back, I planted an orchard out in my front yard. one of the trees I planted was a plumcot, cross between a plum and apricot. It has outgrown all the other trees by far, and I’m patiently waiting…

Are they easy to grow?

Apricot growing depends on where you live. Apricots are not easy, very disease prone. I bet the plum in a Pluot would help them be a little less disease prone.

I live in Utah and have 2 apricot trees. last year I was unable to thin them and so many grew in large bunches like grapes but bigger. They sure were yummy! And I made some into jam and some into syrup and my kids favorite, fruit roll ups!

i have one tree with not much fruit on it in cold canada

Ooh! Ooh! I know how to grow apricots! You grow them very carefully. 🙂

As a kid, I saw an apricot tree, my first, in my great aunt’s farm-yard. The location was where a municipal airport now is, east of Kitchener Ontario, about a mile east of the Grand river. Since then I’ve found out that they can be grown in areas with considerably cooler climates. Apricot trees can be found here & there on the Canadian prairies.

And we will have apricot trees

what makes every thing grow love makes every thing grow

if i can do it, most anyone can

Thanks so much for the info

Watch out for the squirrels. They will pick them before maturity when the seed is soft,

Sweet. No pun intended 🙂

I think I would like 4 trees . I love Apricot’s.

Deer eat the trees in my yard.

I need an apricot tree next Randy Molnar!

And the seeds contain vitamin B17 which is illegal because it would eliminate so many Rx drugs that cost a fortune.

Send me some seeds so I can grow my own.

Gerald Desko

Inspiring. I shall have to give planting them here in NC a try and see how they fare.

Some of the best apricots come from Turkey…. Turkey is not tropical article writer.

We didn’t have any luck with them, tree died in a year. Suspect it was too cold and damp for them. Our U. Wash “Frost Peach” does OK, sometimes…

they bloom too early here in colorado and get frozen every year

the pits are a source of vitamin b17, an important and controversial nutrient in cancer prevention

I think I will give it a try this year

our apricot tree has flourished and produced for years

I would like to try this tree.

ours has not ever had any fruit…lots of flowers, but no fruit.

would love to try… not sure zone 9 works?

We had lovely crops until Fireblight killed it in short order. Buy resistant varieties.

i love apricots mmmm

You kids great-great Grandmother had these, peaches, the most delicious grapes on her grape vine,tomatoes,etc. She loved growing her own food. And canning a lot of it.

They say apricots make you look younger.

Up north,grow the RIGHT variety,espalier style under the eves of your house.

We had these when I was a kid and we lived with my grandparents in south Mississippi. There was no big trick to growing them; just plant the trees and forget about them until they were ready to pick. Just like the pear trees, apple trees and pecan trees we had. Plant and forget until time to harvest.

There are apricots species which grow in Alaska. My friend who owns Tryck Nursery has grown them for long time. Not as good as trees grown in warmer areas.

Great information on how to grow Apricot trees! I will be adding one next year to my yard!

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