FRUIT FACTS


Published by California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc., 66 Farragut Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94112


APRICOT

Rosaceae Prunus armeniaca

Apricot performance in low chill locations


Common Names: Apricot, damasco, albaricoque

Related Species: Plum (such as European plum, Prunus domestica, or the Japanese plum, Prunus salicina), Peach (Prunus persica), Cherry (such as wild cherry, Prunus avium, sour cherry, Prunus cerasus), Almond (Prunus dulcis), or the Capulin (prunus salicifolia).

Distant affinity: Rose family fruit, apples, pears, quince, strawberry, blackberry.

Origin: Eastern Asia, Armenia, Northern China

Adaptation: Sites with cool or cold winters and warm summers. Spring frost can damage buds and blossoms. High heat (deserts) can damage fruit.

DESCRIPTION

Growth Habit: Deciduous trees 15 to 25 feet tall and wide. Dwarfing root stock available. Planting near vegetable garden increases disease risk (verticillium).

Foliage: Green ovate leaves, lightly serrated 2-4 inches long on 1½

inch petioles.

Flowers: Single white or pink rose type flowers, mostly on spurs. Some cultivars need a pollinator.

Fruit: Ping pong ball to slightly larger than a golf ball size fruit, red, orange or yellow in color. Single hard seed is smooth and free or semi-free. Fruit has midline indentation. In heavy crop years fruit should be thinned (2 inch separation).

CULTURE

Location: Plant in low ground or where cold air collects.

Frost Protection: Apricots need winter chill but spring frost can damage buds and flowers.

Sun Protection: From the ground up 15 inches (+/-), wrap young tree trunks with foil, newspaper, or apply white wash. This will protect from sunburn until bark matures.

Soil: Deep loam or clay loam but fairly adaptable.

Irrigation: Deep water regularly in spring, summer and fall. Cover much of the ground under the canopy. Do not put water on the trunk. Allow the soil surface to dry between irrigations. Mulching will help conserve moisture but keep the mulch away from the trunk.

Fertilization: The preferable fertilization schedule is small amounts of fertilizer several times a year. The first application should be applied in late winter (February or March). Use a light application of NPK 8-8-8 (or ½ recommended 15-15-15). After fruit harvest, apply a stronger nitrogen such as 5-1-1, and in late summer a light dressing of a higher phosphorous (5-10-5) to promote spring blossom. Keep nitrogen low to avoid forcing new growth. The potassium is adequate with this schedule. This fertilization schedule provides good nutrition. Trees will produce somewhat less with less nutrition. Too little fertilizer is better than too much.

Pruning: Prune young trees when dormant to develop 3 or 4 scaffold limbs. Fruiting spurs need light so keep center of tree open. Leave enough new wood to protect fruit from sunburn.

Pests and diseases: Brown rot, shot hole and Eutypa dieback, occasional codling moth attack. Do not spray apricot trees with lime sulphur.

Propagation: Varieties may be grafted on peach, apricot or myrobalan plum rootstocks. Seedling apricots are slow to produce fruit and quality is unpredictable.

Harvest: Please see notes in “Cultivars” section below.

Commercial Potential: This fruit is currently a commercial crop in areas of adequate chill hours.

CULTIVARS

Listed in approximate order of maturity. Time of maturity varies year to year. Most data collected from San Diego County, i.e., performance data for low chill areas (400 hrs. or less below 45F).

Cultivar Name

Ripens

Notes

EarliGold*

4th week of May

Vigorous, consistent production of good, medium-sized fruit. Production may be improved with a pollinator.

Gold Kist

Ripens with EarliGold

Fairly consistent production, attractive but mediocre flavor fruit.

Early Newcastle

1st week of June

Excellent flavor, intermittent production. Semi-cling.

Katy

1st week of June

Somewhat irregular production, attractive but mediocre flavor fruit.

Aprium – (Flavor Delight)*

2nd week of June

Apricot/plum cross, medium-size, colorful fruit. Very tasty – fairly consistent.

Goldbeck Perfection

2nd week of June

Large orange fruit with fair flavor but intermittent production. Needs a pollinator. Use early bloomer. Flavor improves 2 days off tree.

Nugget

2nd week of June

Colorful fruit but intermittent production, mediocre flavor.

Hotchkiss*

2nd week of June

Regular production of good fruit, a seedling found by Paul Thomson, co-founder of the California Rare Fruit Growers.

Flora Gold*

2nd week of June

Good Quality; reliable producer.

Royal/Blenheim

3rd week of June

Excellent fruit but intermittent production. For many years an industry standard.

Red Sweet

3rd week of June

Reddish skin and dark orange flesh. Very good flavor but intermittent production.

Harcot

4th week of June

Good flavored, intermittent production.

Afghan

4th week of June

Light yellow skin and flesh, good flavor, but very light production.

Hunza

1st week of July

Pale orange fragile fruit of good flavor. Intermittent production.

Naziri

2nd week of July

Pale orange fruit of fair flavor, almost no production. Persian apricot.

Tilton

4th week of July

Light orange fruit of fair flavor. Very light crops.

Golden Amber*

4th week of July. Matures 8 weeks after EarliGold

Good flavored, orange fruit, somewhat intermittent production. Only late apricot recommended.

Autumn Royal

3rd week of August

Regular production, fruit goes bad (splits, brown rot) before ripening, unfortunately.

*Recommended

NOTES


This list consists of cultivars with at least 3 years of production history. Several additional cultivars are in evaluation as of the 2012 season. Data on those trees should be available in 2 years. Dates shown here will often vary from dates in Central California.

The California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc. is one of the largest amateur fruit growing non-profit educational societies with members throughout the world. Its purpose is to encourage and further public and scientific interest, research, education and preservation of rare fruit plants which have edible seeds, fruits, leaves or roots and which are not commonly grown commercially.

Reproduction permitted if full credit given.

Version 47, 05/13/2013 Authors: JCB (N. SD), TDH (SD); Editor: CGK (N. SD) Fruit Facts sell for fifty cents each.