Apricots are such a mystery species. They suffer what seems to be cambium kill that I can’t figure out the weather relationship to at all in my region. We had a reasonably gradual temperature sequence from fall to winter to spring with relatively mild lows and yet so many of my trees were killed. This situation seems to have gotten worse in recent seasons. We haven’t had any bad droughts for a few years and I wonder if drought doesn’t actually help this species, given how they’ve naturalized in some parts of the high dessert southwest, notably along the Rio Grande between Taos and Santa Fe.
Meanwhile, the 4 trees growing against the southwest walls of my house are going to provide the best crop I’ve ever had if all goes well moving forward- they are loaded. I’m attempting to grow them without a single insecticide app because their earliness seems to help them avoid spring fruit pests.
However, my nursery trees cost me more money than they make me. I owe at least one customer a tree replacement that I planted for him this spring. It was a healthy and vigorous tree going into dormancy and suffered no measurable form of stress that I know of.
Sometimes trees just die. Last year I planted a Hudson’s Golden Gem on G41. The tree leafed out and looked good. Then the leaves went limp even with good soil moisture and in about 2 weeks it was dead. I suspect some kind of root disease but a tree on G41 that was only 3 feet from it was fine. Another apple on G222 was also fine and it was only 4 feet away.
I wish we had better ways to diagnose tree death but we are not there yet.
my adirondak gold apricot is also loaded with blooms for the 1st time. got it from cricket hill nursery 2 yrs ago as a 5ft. tree… had a mild case of shothole when i got it. so far ive controlled it with immunox. funny you mention plants failing with our 2 mild winters weve had. i put in 2 grapes last spring. a z3 hardy king of the north and z4 hardy marquette. i didnt amend the soil and mulched them with woodchips. kept them well watered through our drought last summer and they both put out about 7ft. of growth until early aug. when they stopped growing. this spring both vines are dead to the ground and has so far not regrown from the roots. we never got below -15f all winter last winter which is very rare here. in the past ive lost less vigorous plants from amending the soil before planting but this isnt the case this time. usually grapes are bulletproof here as long as theyre zone hardy. hopefully they regrow. i lost 2 apples in the last 5 yrs that i attributed to my heavy clay soil. they seemed to get dark sunken spots on the bark before dying. maybe it wasnt the soil but the new one i grew in a raised bed is doing great. coincidence?
An unknown local apricot I started from seed was growing in a 15 gallon pot, survived 2 winters and was growing nicely. This winter was mild with the lowest temp about 8 degrees compared to the previous year when it was 0. All the buds are dead. If I scrape the park it is green underneath. Last week I cut it back hoping for some bud development but I think it is just dying.
I am always strongly suspicious of brown rot blossom blight with apricots. So many stories about apricots starting out strong in full bloom and new leaves only to have the entire tree die shortly thereafter or sometimes major portions of the tree. I have become very careful about watching for rain while my apricots are in bloom. I suspect that rain during bloom is much more common back east. Hard to say for sure, but I remain suspicious.
Except in the northeast we tend to get at least one rain a week in spring and probably average 2.
Did you dig out the dead tree? When I had same situation few years ago, I found orange colored sticky-soft area in the lowest portion of the trunk(under ground), I think it was Phytophthora Root and Crown Rot
One of my apricot trees has died this spring from brown rot blossom blight. And it was a very dry spring! That tree was a seedling from a local variety from Winters, CA, a Blenheim type but much earlier ripening. Two trees grown from the same bunch of seeds on both sides of the dead tree are completely fine. Sometimes variability regarding susceptibility or resistance to a disease is bewildering. In a bunch of peach seedlings I’m growing, a few have been heavily affected by black aphids, while the rest of the seedlings, merely inches away, have zero aphids on them.
Why not graft these seedlings to commonly used rootstocks (eg. Myro29C), once they had enough growth to cut scions? May be you are already doing it. Some of these finicky seedlings may be alright on reliable rootstocks. I do hear the seedlings produce fruits faster on their own roots though.
I grafted some and planted some. Very difficult to get high quality Myro 29C rootstocks. Last two years, I had miserable success rate with Myro 29C rootstocks I got from Burnt Ridge, they’re dying on me like crazy, with or without grafts on them. Apricots on their own roots, in general, do pretty well for me, although there are always some exceptions.
oops, bought a few this year
This was discussed in another similar thread, so I’ll try not to be too repetitive.
I’m in the process of killing my 3rd apricot tree, while apples, pears, persimmons, peaches, and plums all thrive. The apricot trees grow for 2-3 years but then begin to show blossom rot as well as bacterial canker. Soon branches die, then the whole tree.
Among the obvious issues: (1) the spring is wet, which is conducive to fungus; (2) apricots bloom early (~April 7), which is generally before the last frost, and frosted tissues are vulnerable to fungal and bacterial infection.
Unless somebody makes a real persuasive case to the contrary, I’m sticking now to other species. I think the late frosts and spring humidity are just too much.
I have been growing apricot trees on the nursery of my property for over 25 years. I never had anywhere near the % of casualties as this season, and I can’t think of a possible reason. This is an east coast thing. The previous 3 springs were extremely wet while this one is less wet than average.
I started a new post to share my experience with east coast growers. We have our own issues with cots, I presume.
Meanwhile the trees against my walls are doing beautifully and the two (Tomcot and Alfred) that have been there for a while have proven themselves rather reliable producers. The Alfred has been against my wall for probably 15 years.
I think this represents a real good option for east coast cot lovers. The trees lose their leaves in winter when you want the sun to hit the walls and besides early in spring, their leaves are a benefit in blocking sun when your house needs cooling. I used to use the walls for grapes, but love cots more.
What is the fruiting lifespan of apricots?
Good year for me. 5 of 6 trees loaded. Blenheim first year of fruit after like five years. They seem to be a little slow to start production.
In 1963 my family moved to a house in the coastal foothills of S. CA with an apricot tree. It was still going strong in 2012 when my father died. Judging from trees that I saw growing wild in New Mexico, I suspect they can survive for a century if conditions suit them. I believe they will bear fruit for almost as long as they survive. The tree I fist met just got more and more productive through the 50 years I was aware of it. Not sure how old it was when we arrived, but probably not more than 5.
It’s hard to tell sometimes what killed a tree. It could be something that happened years ago. This happened to me with trees that had wet feet for too long some died immediately. Others hung on even flowered and fruited for a year but gave it up the 2nd year. The tree fruited the year before even though a major scaffold died. The other scaffolds died the next year. In this case it was easy to tell what killed it. It might not always be easy to tell what caused it or even when the problem started
I can say that my Puget Gold which was probably 10 years old at the time went downhill quickly after the very cold spring of 2018. I think it came back for 2019 and after that i chainsawed it because it looked so terrible. Summer of 2018 i pruned out a lot of dead branches. That summer i lost a lot of other trees too. Having said that, i’ve lost other apricots in the past for no apparent reason, always thought it was just cold winters (cambium damage?). You got to imagine with apricots, because they are so early to get moving (always the 1st to bloom here) that must play into it somehow.
I still have a couple of 3 year old seedlings and a few grafts on other trees. The seedlings are doing good==for now.
If you are looking for a northeast apricot I suggest Wenatchi Moorpark and Mormon (chinese). I have others, but these two have been bullet proof. They pull through the east coast frost and rains every year with fruit.
Robert, good to know… have you tried JerseyCot? It has a reputation for reliability in NJ.
@alan I actually just started a new topic before reading yours here, based on apricot being a hardy long lived tree here in kansas… The northeast is a so much more stable gentler climate than kansas… But perhaps this tree likes getting blasted with 50mph New Mexico 70F january heat and 50mph North Dakota 0F cold all in the same week lol!
Our problem is that we are so prone to warm march blooms and april snow lol!!
Have not tried JerseyCot. Flavor delight has also been a machine for me. It is the very first thing I have to flower and somehow keeps fruiting. Mormon originated out of Utah from settlers. Pretty sure Utah has some rough conditions.