Apricot trees - Planting and Growing
Mediterranean origin and flowering in late February
and March, outdoor apricots demand a frost-free sunny
site. Bush trees can be grown only in southwest and
south-east England; elsewhere, as fan-trained trees
on walls facing east, south, or south-west, or in greenhouses.
prefer a moisture retentive, friable and well-drained
soil: they object to stiff clay and heavy loam. A pH
of 6-5 -tending to alkalinity-is desirable.
trees are spreading in habit. The leaves are broad and
heart shaped, the flowers white or pale pink, borne
singly or in pairs. Apricots are self-fertile and may
be planted singly.
apricots are ripe from mid July, outdoor fruits to the
end of September. Use them for dessert, bottling preserving
and jam making.
is by budding on to plum root-stocks-Brompton or Common
Mussel (medium to large trees), St Julien (small to
medium trees)-or on seedling peach or apricot.
Plant preferably between late September and November,
particularly under glass, or up to mid-March, at 4.5m
(15ft) apart. Sprinkle two handfuls of bone meal in
the planting hole, give a spring mulch of 51kg of well-rotted
manure per 10sq m (10 sq. yd), plus 28g(1oz) of sulphate
of potash per sq. m (sq. yd). Give 140g (5oz) per sq.
m (sq. yd) of basic slag every third year. Water the
trees regularly the first season and subsequently in
dry spells-mature trees may wilt badly. Saturate greenhouse
soils in February and mulch with spent hops or peat.
with gentle heat in February to a maximum temperature
of 55°F (13°C), rising to 65°F (18°C) in summer with
free ventilation. Syringe the foliage with water daily.
Give full ventilation at leaf fall to induce complete
outdoor blossom from frost by draping remay over the
trees at night, removing this by day to allow pollinating
insects to work. Assist pollination under glass by hand.
Remove the blossom the first season.
forms both on young wood and old spurs. Maintain a proportion
of each. Shorten the leaders by half to two-thirds after
planting, laterals to a few inches. Subsequently, shorten
the leaders annually by one-third. Tie in one healthy
shoot per 25cm (10in) of main branch, remove ill-placed
and upright growing shoots and pinch back the rest to
four leaves from mid-June onwards.
the crop when the set is heavy, first at pea size to
one fruitlet per cluster then again after stoning, and
when the natural drop is over, to 8-13cm (3-8in) apart.
Test for stoning by pressing a pin into a few fruitlets.
picking until the apricots are well colored, ripe and
part readily from the spurs without tearing.
are subject to silver leaf, bacterial canker and brown
rot diseases, but are unaffected by peach leaf curl.
Aphids, wasps and flies are the main pests.
following are the best varieties:
Trees - apple, cherry &
`New Large Early' early
`Early Moor Park' early
`Moor Park' August-September
Peaches and Nectarines