Advice on transporting apricot pits and starting seeds

Hi —

I’ve searched through the forums and found relatively few threads about starting apricots from pits from a complete stone fruit novice.

For background: I’m presently abroad at a destination wedding for a good friend. Her ceremony was held in a location with apricot trees and baskets of unbelievable ripe apricots. I ate at least a dozen and put the pits in a wet napkin in my suit pocket. My plan is to fly back with them and try to sprout them into seedlings, and give her one in a year or two to plant in her yard (she’s also a plant person) in memory of her amazing wedding.

I don’t know the first thing about this and as usual Google (and its confounded AI summaries) is giving me all kinds of conflictual advice. As I’m waiting to get home should I keep the pits wet or dry? Do I open them with a hammer or pliers or not at all? Are the seeds cold stratified? Started in what condition? Any advice from the experts here would be super helpful!

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i bought 5 Siberian peach pits last summer from a guy on facebook. i threw them in my fridge for 2 months in the package they came in. planted them in my nursery bed last oct. all 5 sprouted a few weeks ago and are 4-6in. now. id think if you did the same with your pits you would have success. some say to store in a ziplock with damp peat to keep them from drying out.

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I like to split the shell and just plant the seed. Works either way though. I’ve got a bunch of peach and apricot going now from seed. Plan on using for root stock.

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http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=12656

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I have a bad memory of my wife trying to bring some guava back to the US on a trip to Vietnam. It was innocent enough. She just wanted to bring some fruit to remind her of home and didn’t know it would be an issue, and I didn’t know she had put in her suitcase. Well, that happened to be the suitcase that customs opened and they were pretty pissed. They threw it all away and said next time it’s a $400 fine.

Not saying don’t do it, but just know the risk.

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Thank you, that’s helpful.

However:

  1. For the next few days, while I am still abroad, should I be drying the pits or keeping them damp? Does it not matter much on a week timescale?

  2. I read mixed reviews in that thread about both whether you can just plant the pots or should crack them to get seeds, and if you should cold stratify the seeds or just plant them.

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Yeah to be clear I am not planning to bring back any fruit, just the pits, in my checked bag. Is that an issue?

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Thanks, my immediate goal is getting them back to USA in a way where they can still be germinated and then figuring out what to do after that.

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Well they are seeds so they are technically not supposed to be brought in without a USDA certificate, but will customs even see them or know what they are if they do? Probably much easier than getting whole fruit through.

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Put them in the garbage can. It is illegal to bring them into the States.

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All travelers entering the United States are Required to Declare meats, fruits, vegetables, plants, seeds, soil, animals, as well as plant and animal products (including soup or soup products) they may be carrying. The declaration must cover all items carried in checked baggage, carry-on luggage, or in a vehicle.May 1, 2024

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Bringing Agricultural Products Into the United States

[image]
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (.gov)
](Bringing Agricultural Products Into the United States | U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

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i buy seeds from all over all the time with no issues. why would it be illegal to cross them through customs? seeds can’t harbor disease if the fruit is removed. i just bought a bunch of seeds from Ukraine. id declare them and see what they say.

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Your sources should not be selling them. You are contributing to illegal sales.

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they have a website. so do the ones i buy from in Canada. Ebay has seeds from all over the world, for sale. totally legal to buy seeds just not other plant matter. why i think customs should be ok with them as long as you claim them.

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Thanks, I wasn’t aware of this. I’ll email USDA and see if there is any permit or anything else I can apply for, or else arrive at the USDA station and declare them and hope they let it slide. I have brought full live fruit trees from Puerto Rico to the mainland that way in my carryon. I would certainly rather know than not.

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Not that I would ever endorse smuggling…

But who would looks for nuts in planters trail mix bags :person_shrugging:

Also depending on how many you have, might try mailing yourself one or 2 right before you leave.

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Crack the pit save the almond like kernel -dry is fine. Oh and when starting seeds make sure to keep them protected if theyre outside. I prepared 25 apricot pits for planting, stratified for almost 4 months in the fridge and kept them happy. Then I leave them in pots for 48 hours after they sprouted and rooted and squirrels cleared the stash not a single survivor and they were on my porch! I get better germination from drying, then soaking 24hours, peeling/removing the brown seed coat (be sure to not damage radicle/hypocotyl) and sprouting inside moist paper towel/container in the fridge until root emerges. You can bypass stratification this way and there are plenty of stone fruit pits that are stubborn to open up.

The small seed lot permit USDA/aphis seems a definite possibility. Not sure how to declare seeds from fruit you ate but I’ve also never done the import permit myself and the whole process might take longer than you will be out of the country for. Internet sellers abroad more or less openly sell plenty of small seed packets to the USA either because of ignorance or indifference to the laws and it seems many arrive. Obviously live plants and fruit/vegetables are much more dangerous to send around the country because of the pest/contagion risk but they arent exactly looking to ruin peoples lives over a dozen seeds. But cracking the pits will also remove any fruit pulp and they will be cleaner and just look like almonds. You can also try to soak your seeds in some sort of solution to get rid of some diseases that might be present if you decide to germinate them at some point.

l’d look more at the rules on the books and what people in your position do/have done. If there’s a number you can call at the USDA station why not ask them? Probably easier to dump a dozen apricot kernels in a pocket once they dry (takes 1-2 days) and hop on a plane but all the more respect if you want to do everything by the books and be an upstanding citizen.

edit: USDA APHIS | Small Lots of Seed

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All legal stuff aside, I’ve grown apricots from pits. Let them dry. Break them open when you’re ready to stratify them. Put them in the fridge in a baggie with a just damp paper towel. I used veggie drawer. In 60 or 90 days (I don’t remember, look it up), plant in potting mix, they should germinate.

All of mine germinated, and then covid hit and I was in a bad headspace and I let them all die. Don’t do that part.

This story has a happy ending though. A couple years later, 2 of the extra pits that I had that were thrown in a garden bed to compost, came up. So now they’re little trees in my back yard. These were special apricots from a local wild tree that I’ve picked from for 30 years and I’m afraid it’s going to be cut down some day as the town encroaches on it. But now I have its children, so I’m happy.

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Seems like apricots like compost piles and leaf litter to sprout. I’ve got half a dozen now I got that way (all tiny) and could have a lot more. I dumped the pits there after making jam.

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My old neighbor had about a dozen apricot trees. When he moved, the new owners came and took out every living thing and put down rocks. I wasn’t happy about it, but it’s their property. The following year, an apricot came up next to my patio, so I planted it in my front yard where the neighbors could see it every day. Then the next year (last year), I found 20 seedlings behind my garage in a 4ft sq area, also from the neighbor’s trees. I removed all but 1 and it’s growing well. I didn’t even know until I found this forum that apricots could be difficult to grow, because they are the easiest thing to grow here.

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