Note: Due to their early bloom date, most apricots are subject to spring freezes. Many apricot trees produce fruit as infrequently as one of every 3-5 years.
Cultivars for Texas: Bryan, Hungarian, Moorpark
Rootstock to request: ‘Lovell’ for alkaline clay soils, ‘Nemaguard’ for acid sandy soils
Also Halford, Titan or Hansen.
Root Stock Comparisions
bare root: January 1 – February 15
containerized: January 1 – March 31 [http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/archives/parsons/publications/fruitlist.html]
The apricot, Prunus armeniaca, is closely related to plum botanically and culturally, and is thought to have originated in Armenia. Apricots are small trees with a spreading canopy. It is not uncommon to find trees that are 25 to 30 feet in height and width. The fruit is similar to a small peach, ranging from yellow to orange and often tinged red on the side most exposed to the sun (Fig. 9). Its skin is smooth but can be covered with very short hairs. Apricots are self-fruitful; they do not require a pollinator. 3 Figure 9. Apricots range in color from yellow to orange. Unfortunately, fruiting is inconsistent on all varieties. Frost damage can cause crop loss, but fruit often fails to set regardless of temperature. Fruit buds can lose cold hardiness if there are wide temperature swings in late winter. Do not expect annual crops.
Rootstocks for apricots
Apricots are generally grafted on peach rootstocks. However, in soils with a pH of about 7.5, it is better to use an apricot root system because they are better adapted to alkaline soils than are peaches. Since apricots are not readily available on native roots, the only practical way is to start them from seed. Use seeds from apricot trees known to produce good fruit consistently. In October or November, plant the seed outdoors in containers with well-drained potting soil. The seed will be stratified over the winter and should germinate the following spring. The trees can be grown as seedlings, although the fruit quality will be variable. A better alternative is to bud them to a known variety. This does not guarantee better or more consistent production, but will produce greener, healthier trees in areas with highly alkaline soil.
‘Blenheim’ is a medium-sized fruit with an orange peel and yellow flesh. This variety has been the most consistent performer across the state and ripens in late June (Fig. 10).
‘Moorpark’ has medium-sized to large fruit with orange flesh that ripens in mid-June.
‘Bryan’ produces medium-sized fruit that has orange flesh and ripens from late May to early June.
‘Chinese’ (or ‘Mormon’) seems to be more cold hardy in some locations as it has an extended bloom. Fruit is small to medium
- Blenheim: great quality and appears to be the best choice
- Chinese: edible pit on this apricot that can produce here