As a fruit tree, the apricot tree (Prunus armeniaca) produces exquisite fruit, and as a flowering ornamental, it provides a sensory feast for the eyes and nose.
Consuming these sweet and juicy little bites straight from your apricot tree is a tasty reward for all of your tender loving care.
Apricot plants in your backyard or kitchen garden are a great way to get started with fruit trees. They are simple to grow and care for, in this article we are going to discuss how we can grow and care for apricot trees.
Apricots, like cherries, peaches, and plums, belong to the Prunus genus, which is part of the Rosaceae rose family. P. armeniaca, like these sister fruits, is a stone fruit, which means it has a pit, or stone, in the centre.
Apricots are high in vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and fibre when fresh, and a good source of iron when dried.
Under perfect conditions, these gorgeous perennials can live anywhere from 40 to 150 years, but with proper care, they’ll usually endure 10 to 35 years in your yard.
If an apricot tree lives to be 35 or 40 years old, it will bear fruit for 20 to 25 of those years. Trees begin to bear fruit when they are three or four years old.
Apricots are self-pollinating, however planting two distinct types that bloom at the same time can result in a larger crop.
Apricots have yellow to orange skin that is often tinged with light pink or red, while the flesh is white or yellow.
The fruits are modest – normally one inch in diameter – but some contemporary types produce larger fruits. The skin might be silky or furry.
Apricots bloom with faintly fragrant white or pink blossoms extremely early in the spring – generally in February, March, or April, depending on the region.
Because a late frost can wipe out an entire flush of blooms, you must plant trees that thrive in your growing zone.
The trees will bear fruit three to five months after flowering if the conditions are favourable and pollination is adequate.
Standard trees range in height and width from 20 to 25 feet. Semi-dwarfs can grow to be 12 to 18 feet tall and wide, while dwarfs are much smaller, growing to be five to eight feet tall and wide.
How to Grow And Care Apricot Trees
Plant your apricot tree in the fall, leaving a space of about 5 feet (1.5 meters) between plants if you are growing several. You can also plant your apricot tree in the spring or summer, but make sure it gets plenty of water at first.
Planting The Seeds
You may use that pit to plant your very own apricot tree if you follow the appropriate instructions.
- Remove the apricot pit’s seed. Place the pit on its side and gently crack it open with a nutcracker, hammer, or vice to reveal the apricot seed inside.
- Allow the apricot seed to germinate on its own. Soak the seed overnight in a bowl of room-temperature water to prepare it for germination.
- wrap the seed in a moist paper towel, place it in a sealed plastic bag, and keep the bag in a refrigerator set between 32 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Refrigerate the seed for one to two months or until it sprouts.
- Choose a sunny spot with plenty of room for the tree to grow. Apricot trees thrive in full-sun conditions. Make sure your planting location has enough space for an adult tree’s branches and roots to spread out. This includes ensuring that it is not too close to other trees, underground pipes, power lines, or structures.
- Plant the seed in loamy, well-drained soil. Apricots grow best in soil with a pH of 6.5 to 8.0. Well-drained loamy soil is essential for your apricot tree to develop a strong root system, which will help it produce more fruit.
- Make a six-inch hole in the ground for your sprouting apricot seed. Fill the hole with dirt and organic compost, then plant your seed.
- If you live in a temperate area, you can water once a week; however, if you live in a hotter environment, you may need to water up to three times each week. Make sure the soil is damp but not wet.
- Remove the protective screen once a small tree begins to poke through the topsoil to allow the tree to flourish.
Care for Apricots Tree
Planting the tree in a warmer location or closer to a building in full sun will help keep the flowers alive for longer, especially during frosts.
It’s also possible to look for one of the many cold-tolerant cultivars on the market. There are hundreds of Prunus armeniaca cultivars available in the nursery trade.
Prunus armeniaca, whether grown as an ornamental or for fruit, is a high-maintenance plant with finicky soil and water requirements.
The benefits, on the other hand, include a lovely tree in your yard and, if you’re lucky, delicious fresh apricots.
Make sure the apricot tree is planted in full sun for the best fruit and flower production.
Apricot trees thrive in loamy, well-drained, organically rich soils. They thrive in neutral or slightly alkaline soil, and it is a good idea to test the pH of the soil before planting to see if amendments are required.
When Should I Feed My Apricot Tree?
Feeding apricot trees should begin in late winter or early spring before the buds begin to break. Choose a balanced feed or one with a higher potash content to promote flowering and fruiting.
What Is The Best Fertilizer For Apricot Trees?
Fertilize your lawn in the late winter and late summer. A low-nitrogen fertilizer can help your apricot tree thrive.
Fruit tree fertilizer spikes are an easy way to provide a continuous supply of nutrients to your tree’s root system.
Stick these spikes in the soil around your tree to provide a constant supply of nutrients to its root system.
Should You Prune Apricot Trees?
Every year, prune to remove dead or diseased branches. Pruning your apricot tree allows it to obtain more sunshine and air circulation.
Every spring, make sure to prune before the new growing season begins.
As a general rule, if the top of your apricot tree is lush green but the bottom is wilting, it implies the bottom layer isn’t getting enough sunshine and you should prune the top.
Pest And Disease Management
Apricots are largely resistant to many of the pests and diseases that attack their cousins, peaches, and nectarines. Frost is the most significant impediment to a viable apricot crop.
Eliminate peach twig borers, a common pest that attacks stone fruit trees such as peaches, apricots, nectarines, and plums, by applying insecticide just before your flowers bloom and again when the flower petals fall.
Aphids can be controlled by blasting them off the tree with a jet of water from your garden hose.
Once the tree has established and the blooms have survived the frost-free date in your zone, good sanitation in the orchard, appropriate fertilizing, and watering may be all that is required.
Are you ready to expand your fruit orchard with apricots? Or have you already started growing them? In any case, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.