Apricot blight

I have one site where there are two old fashioned very cold hardy apricot trees that for several years now have been stricken badly with a blight that kills some and this year most of the small wood. When it doesn’t kill most of it the trees still produce a crop and by summer you wouldn’t know anything happened without looking very closely. This year it was much worse and showed up at a nearby site on Hargrand and Harcot after about 25 years of no health problems. They set no crop when healthy cots in the area are heavy laden. The damage on the former was worse but I only took these photos of the latter.

Any ideas on what this disease is? I’m guessing it is probably common in the humid region now that it’s showed up on two sites about 15 miles apart.

1 Like

chatAI suggests it is bacterial canker.

1 Like

I suspect it is blossom blight, this year was very bad for it in my yard, as we had a lot of rain during peak bloom with temperature in the seventies. My cots list 80-90% of their blossoms/potential fruits except for one tree that I sprayed with Infuse shortly before the rain started, that tree is loaded with cots. The trees that lost their crop had a lot of dead spurs too.


leaf buds were also wiped out and small branches were killed entirely. Does that fit?

1 Like

Yes, same happened for my trees.

1 Like

Chat AI agrees with you- but only after I provided it with your suggestion. You may have just changed my spring spray regimen because I was already considering Indar about bud break for cherries as blossoms have tended to rot quite a bit at different sites for the past few years. I don’t manage a whole lot of cherry trees so I let my focus wander to other things. Here’s from Chat…

Yes, blossom blight could indeed be the culprit. Specifically, Monilinia laxa and Monilinia fructicola, which cause brown rot blossom blight, can infect apricots and cause symptoms similar to those you described.

Blossom Blight (Brown Rot)

  • Symptoms:
    • Infected blossoms turn brown and wilt, but typically remain attached to the branch.
    • The infection can spread from the blossoms to small twigs, causing dieback.
    • The small twigs and branches may die as a result, but larger wood often survives.
    • There is no gummy ooze or canker formation as seen with bacterial canker.
  • Conditions:
    • Blossom blight is most prevalent in wet, cool conditions during the blooming period.
    • The fungus overwinters in mummified fruit and cankers on branches, releasing spores in the spring to infect new growth.
1 Like

I feel it is more likely fungal because the single tree that was sprayed with infuse was fully intact.


It certainly is strong evidence.


got the same this year. Monillia. :frowning: I have pruned the worst of the trees heavily as it was rapidly declining during flowering and it seems to have put on lots of new vigorous growth. I thought we would have to take it out and graft a sucker, but it seems like it will recover.

For blossom blight are the dead branches spread all over the tree or are they concentrated in one part. I’ve got a 3 apricot trees (each in a different town) where one side of the tree wilted badly. One of them recovered and the other two look half dead (other half is fine).

The one that had the branch recover was an Early Blush. Just today, I picked ~8 lbs of fruit from it (6.5 + 1.5 of drops). Interestingly, I have two other Early Blush which were planted at the same time (spring 2021) which produced 3 fruit total, but didn’t have any wilting.

The fruit is small, but very good, 19-20 brix. At first, I was thinking I must not have thinned it enough. But the solo fruit on the other trees is about the same size, so maybe that is just the size that Early Blush gets to.


I couldn’t keep Early Blush alive on my property. Too bad, can’t beat June apricots in NYS. They are good this year because we finally got some spring sun. Early peaches are promising as well.

EB isn’t a small apricot as performing around here, just about average. CA cots have become huge through breeding.

1 Like

Maybe that is it…I compared it to one from the grocery store a few days ago and they were much smaller…

Here’s a pic of one branch before I stripped it of fruit. It seemed reasonably well thinned to me, though I see one spot where the fruit is close (though at least not touching).

Ilona seems the most fragile of my new ones. It was the first of the 2021 trees to die at one site and half of a beautiful large Ilona tree died at the other site this year. I think @scottfsmith likes Ilona, but am not sure if he sees the same early death.


EB is not that small for me, it is Tomcot size. Tomcot can be small some years.

Ilona is nice and big. I have had no dieback and I have two trees of it. It is too soft however. This year so far Tomcot is the overall winner, but Ilona is also excellent tasting.


Alan, when you have an apricot that dies, do you ever replant apricots on the same spot? If so, do they have especially short lifespans, or does it effectively reset things?

This spring, I harvested some myro suckers from my plums and grafted apricots to them, so I have a generation of replacement apricots waiting. But, I’m a bit worried that they won’t make it long if whatever killed the first one is still waiting in the soil or leftover roots.

Alternately, I also made some plum/pluots, so I can put them at other sites and see if I can avoid the massive black knot infections that I get at home.

1 Like

The variability in the fragility of cots often defies any explanation I see and I’ve often replaced dead trees with new ones without observing a site specific problem beyond average lows. In my own nursery, every few years half of the cots die, but of living and dead there is not always a pattern I can recognize.either by variety of location, although over the years certain varieties seem tougher. Of the Har series it seems to be Hargrand, which is also a nice sized cot of superior quality to Tomcot by my standards. Tomcot just doesn’t seen to get the sublime cot texture I love and along with that it doesn’t sauce well, which I think is related.

Scott and I often come to different conclusions about the value of certain varieties. It may have more to do with location than anything else. Even here, the quality of apricots varies from site to site. One thing I’m confident of is that you should grow Sugar Pearls. It has the highest brix of any cot I’ve tasted and I’m from S. CA far enough from the ocean that summers were dry and hot. .

1 Like

I had a Hargrand years ago. I just looked up the records and I got it from Cummin in 2015 on Krymsk rootstock. My notes are a bit vague, but it died pretty quickly, possibly before even getting established. Maybe I should get some wood next winter and put it on the next group of myro suckers.

It’s been over a decade since I’ve had any Tomcot. I planted a couple in 2012 & 2013, but they died after maybe 2 small crops. I remember them being very good, but that was only in comparison to the early PF1 peaches which were ripe around the same time (first week of July). I planted another Tomcot in 2019, but it died before producing any fruit.

I planted two Sugar Pearls in the 2021 crop of trees (from Grandpa’s Orchard, which sends some nice trees), one per site. Both last year and this year the SP trees had the heaviest apricot crops (vs Early Blush, Ilona, and Orange Red) at their respective sites. Maybe it is a matter of me not thinning enough, but they didn’t have the super-high brix that you get. They were perfectly fine though at ~16 brix. It will be another 3-4 weeks before they are ready this year.

Here’s a pic of them from last year. They are supposed to be a white apricot and I was a bit worried about a possible miss-label. But it seems like they are more of a light-yellow appricot.

Someone sent you some mislabeled wood, I think. Sugar Pearls is a white fleshed cot. Oh wait, you bought mislabeled trees from Grandpa’s orchard. Shame on them.

When I posted the pic last year, I think there was some disagreement about if it could actually be SP, just with bad lighting for the pic. This year I will take a pic outside. Maybe you can take one as well, so that I know what they look like for you.

Even if they were miss-labeled, they were very nice trees. And quite productive too, so it isn’t a total loss. No worse than ACN’s trees (which are also very good), and ACN also had a miss label (probably a Victoria, in place of a NJF17- they sent me a replacement this spring).

I’ve been growing that variety in my nursery for close to 15 years and it is a white cot. There is no way the photo is that variety, IMO- the flesh has no orange hew at all. It has the coloring of a white peach. .


Shame on ACN and me and whoever sells a misidentified tree or sends scion wood not true to name. I come from a culture that uses shame to enforce good behavior and competence- for better and for worse. The trick is to accept the shame and use it to do better next time.

ACN did worse for me this year by shipping me trees with obvious crown galls, some almost golf ball size. I can’t help but wonder if they were intentionally dumping off trees they knew to be diseased. I’m not cutting them off, but they are on a kind of probation in my mind. The problem is probably hired help that are in it for money only.

Does Grandpa’s even grow their own trees? There are middle men and there are genuine nurseries. You should tell them of their mistake because they may be drawing scionwood from a mislabeled tree as did ACN with Valor plums for a couple of years. I still can’t figure out the variety they sold me and neither did they. Delicious little E. Plums perfectly round that ripen with Castleton but not with the same reliability here.