Apricot recc's for our area

Hey folks, I recently had some apricot preserves that we got from a local store, and I really liked it- really tangy, but also sweet. So, of course, I was considering some apricot trees to my other tree purchases for this spring.

We live in NE KY, in the foothills, but our farm is on an east facing slope that gets lots of morn and afternoon sun. We are not down in the bottoms of the valley, which can be a place for more cold air pooling as opposed to where we’re at. Our zone is 6b.

I did a bit of research on growing 'cots in Kentucky, and some sources claim they are not a fruit that does so well here, mostly because of its early blooming habits don’t jibe well with our late spring frosts/freezes.

Peaches/nectarines can be grown here, but are still subjected to the same freeze issues. Getting those fruit around here is a hit and miss affair over the years because of this. At any rate, are 'cots that much more sensitive than these two stone fruits?

If we can grow them, there are a few varieties that folks like, and I was wondering how they do in these parts. Any comments on these: Tomcot, Moorpark, Westcot, Harogem, Hargrand (or any other if the Harrow types), Moongold.

Also, what rootstock would be a good fit for our area? Our soil is a nice loam, not too much clay or sand, with a few rocks, depending on the location on the farm. It drains pretty well, but there have been times when water does pool a bit, but that’s after long periods of rain over many days. I read about Marianna, Myrobalan or peach rootstocks being used for 'cots, so which would be best for our soil? The UK ag site says Citation and Nemaguard are not recommended for Kentucky.

Also, while we’re talking about stone fruits, which rootstock would be best for some tart cherries for here? I don’t think Mahaleb would work here as it doesn’t like wet feet. Wouldn’t Mazzard or a Gisela work better for us?

Thanks for the replies.

1 Like

Apricots bloom quite a bit earlier than peaches and hence are more likely to catch a spring frost. You should be prepared to have no or little harvest in some years.

For varieties, I suggest you go with Bob Purvis recommendations, he grows apricots in a cold climate (SW Idaho). Moorpark is very flavorful, but the tree is quite tender and is unlikely to survive in your area.

Regarding apricot rootstocks, I think Myrobalan, St. Julian, and Krymsk 1 all should work well for you. Marianna suckers like crazy. I don’t like the idea of using peach rootstock, since it makes the tree susceptible to borers. A cheap option is using apricot seedling rootstock — they can be simply grown from seeds.


Hey Bob- I planted my 3 apricot trees before I knew anything about fruit growing. Later, almost every person and everything I read said that I’d never be able to bring an apricot to full maturity. Everyone was so confident that I almost cut my trees down- but I’m glad I didn’t. Even though my trees were very young and small, last year I got a few apricots from each one of my trees, and they were incredible!!! As you know, I’m right on the KY.TN border so not far from you, so I bet you can grow some as well.

Now, I think Stan is probably right in saying its going to be hit-or miss. Heck, I may only get ripe fruit every 4-5 years. But so far, I got them the first year they were old enough to bloom, and since the climate seems to be getting a little warmer (no, that is NOT an invitation for a debate! ha) I think there is a good chance I will get more.

All this is just to say that you might not want to listen to all the people who will say you can’t grow them. If I had, I’d never got to try the ones I did and hopefully I’ll get more. Good luck.


I’m a solid zone 4 and my cots have been fruiting yearly for many years now. I have fruited Tomcot/Puget Gold and Gurney’s nectacot (which is just a no fuzz cot…smooth like a nectarine)…i have also fruited Hunza (dead now for some reason…just died suddenly). I also have a few white fleshed cots that should fruit this year for the first time.

Out of stone fruit…cots have been a big success for me.

I totally agree with above poster…i’d get them on something other then peach or graft your own.

1 Like

@Stan, thanks for the info. Is Moorpark and maybe Blenheim better suited for your area, that is, warmer and drier?

I saw some of those ‘cots in Purvis’ list on a nursery site in Wisconsin (Wallace Woodstock), so those might do well here. I bought some apples from them last year and would feel comfortable with buying from them again. I would imagine the Harrow varieties would do well here, but don’t know how they are flavor wise.

Would Marianna be good for my soil though? Is suckering that big of an issue? I’ll try to avoid those that are on peach RS. Others on the forum have mentioned that about peach rootstock.

@thecityman, thanks for the encouraging words about your experiences with 'cots. What varieties do you have? I’m a bit farther north than you, so we might have less success than you. But, if things are getting warmer, than maybe we’d have a shot here. Won’t hurt to try!

@warmwxrules, thanks for the comments. That’s certainly good to hear about your successes. What is your best tasting 'cot, most productive? Also, what rootstock are they on? Have you heard of Wallace Woodstock? I think they are based in Niellsville?

One other question, Bay Laurel seems to have quite a few 'cot and peach selections, with a decent shipping rate. What are y’alls experiences with BL trees?


Bay Laurel sells DWN trees. I’ve purchased several different selections from them, and they’ve all arrived healthy and grown well. I’ve read a few complaints from others that they trim roots too aggressively, but this hasn’t been my experience.


Moorpark is very fussy, it can be easily killed by winter frosts, but it also does not produce well in low-chill areas like So. Calif. It seems to like my climate. Blenheim is a bit more winter hardy than Moorpark, but also far from a champion in this regard. On the other hand, Blenheim suffers from pit burn (the inner part of the fruit near the pit is cooked to mush) when summer temps hit near 100 F, which can often happen in my area. The best climate for Blenheim is in coastal valleys of Nor. Calif., like Napa and Santa Clara. However, the land in these areas is too expensive now for apricot orchards to survive.


Here in missouri I have fruited robada, orangered, leacot aprium, cotton candy aprium. I have tomcot, tasty rich aprium, and Monique apricot that are old enough to fruit this year. Here in the midwest I think you just have to be prepared to except that you will get froze out some years due to spring freezes. But they are worth the heartbreak some years, they are soooo good


Are your trees swelling at all yet?

Yes, we are having a warm winter

Has anyone tried Peche de Nancy?

PdN is the parent of Moorpark, and quite similar to it (also the parent of Blenheim and Royal). It’s unlikely to do well in cold climates.

One problem with Bay Laurel is many California cots don’t do well in the east. Blenheim, Moorpark, PdN, Royal, etc are all prone to cracking and rots. Its fine to get apricots from Bay Laurel but make sure you check on the variety first. Tomcot is one of the most reliable, its a good one to look for.


Earlier I was looking at the temp map for yesterday and noticed mid 70Fs into S Missouri. Not sure where you’re located. Crazy weather pattern. Its been more like Seattle up here with rain/clouds all the time.

I really enjoyed Puget Gold last summer…up until last summer it wasn’t really much, but for some reason it did excellent. This summer i’m sure it will be back to being a turd.

My cots also receive very little in the way of sprays. No fungicides and rarely a pesticide. I get some PC damage, but not a ton.

1 Like

Thanks for all the comments. I’ll be sure to avoid Moorpark, Blenheim, and the other Cali-oriented 'cots. I am leaning towards Tomcot, and Puget Gold, Orangered and Robada sounds interesting.

Does anyone have any experience or comments with the Harrow cots, like Harogem, Hargrand, Harcot, etc? I know they were bred as cold weather cots, but was wondering about their flavor. Cummins has a few of these left, plus Sugar Pearl. I’m about to order some apples from them and might add some of their cots as well.

Also, @warmwxrules you said you don’t spray yer cots a lot. Is this true with other cot growers on here? Is that because they ripen sooner than other stone fruit like peaches and nects, so they don’t have time to attract a lot of pests or fungus?


1 Like

Harcot has very good reviews for its flavor, Hargrand and Harogem are also supposed to be pretty good. Trust me, even if they are a notch below Moorpark and Blenheim, if you eat them fully ripe from your own tree, they will blow your socks off.

My apricots are grown spray free, but I’m in California, so this info is useless for you.


I live in Nashville and have a 20 year old Moorpark and have only lost the fruit once and that was a severe late spring freeze that took all my fruit, apples and plums included. Mine blossoms the beginning of March every year and gets hit by light to moderate frosts and comes through with a great crop. It’s on flat land with poor frost drainage as well. The fruit never cracks either. I wonder if all the bad reviews are from what people experienced growing it or what they read. I highly recommend Moorpark. They are great to eat, dry or make preserves.


Have they started blooming yet?

Thanks, @Graftman, that’s encouraging to hear about Moorpark. You’re not that far away from me. You’re actually pretty close to @thecityman, who’s said that he’s had luck with cots as well.

I think I’m looking at 2 or 3 varieties. Prob going with Tomcot, and like what I’ve read about Tilton. The place that I’m looking at has them on Myro rootstock, so think that’d be a good combo for our location.

@fruitnut, you’ve grown quite a few cots, correct? So, do you have any comments/suggestions? I know yer in west TX, so there is a big difference in climate, but wanted to hear your opinions.