Good. Yeah I have Mormon too it is about 3 yrs old 8 ft tall hopefully fruit in a few years. But out here any apricot thrives. No winter damage and no summer or drought damage. The hardiest tree i grow! Just late spring frost bloom damage is our only issue though our climate is much harsher than the NE. So Alan must have something else going on.
You will be fine with the mormon. I have seen snow on flowers and still got fruit. They are kind of small, but tasty.
Wow that is amazing snow on flowers survive very encouraging Robert thanks!!!
Please tell where are you located and how long have you been growing cots there? What are the other varieties you’ve tried to grow there? How productive are the crops? The quality of the fruit. The claim that they bear fruit “every year” sounds too good to be true. No common tree fruit I grow accomplishes that. Blueberries and mulberries, because their flowers open late, are the only ones I can say that about although I’ve only lost all varieties of apples one year from hard, late spring frost (24 degrees around Memorial day). .
Hard to know the clarity of the advice without the duration of the experience you are sharing as well as the general location. No one can declare with absolute confidence the virtues of a variety throughout a region based on their individual experience at one site, as useful as the observations may be…
When I lived in Kansas, there were more apricot trees just around (including feral) than I’ve seen anywhere I’ve lived or visited. There was even one massive tree that did indeed set fruit every year that I laid eyeballs on it (4 years), so @PaulinKansas6b isn’t off base here. That tree was probably a Manchurian seedling rather than a named variety, but they were pretty tasty apricots.
I’ve grown Manchurian’s here- seedling trees. They didn’t bear more consistently than other cold hardy varieties in my brief experience with them.
The question becomes, if such apricot varieties reliably produce delicious fruit in KS, why have commercial growers, including ones that put up with the risky production of peaches in the region, shunned producing apricots as a farm stand crop?
Why have the breeders in places like Rutgers failed to utilize the widely available gene-pool to create similar but better varieties? It defies my sense of logic.
Agreed. This particular tree could be an anomaly, as there was another tree across the street with larger fruit that I saw fruit on maybe once. The other factor is that all the trees I saw were in town, which provides some buffer. Also, the tree obviously wasn’t anyone’s priority. I don’t know if it had any pruning or other management, and its fruits littered the sidewalk every summer. They would drop so quickly upon ripening that I usually missed the window to pick some. It’s also entirely possible that it might flop grown anywhere other than Kansas.
As far as incorporating into breeding programs, it wouldn’t be the first time something obvious was missed. I always think of this story from William Woys Weaver on the advent of bush limas:
As The American Garden (1889, 124) pointed out, “for many years we have worked hard, and doubtless many others did, to secure a new type of an inimitable lima bean which would not need the costly and unsightly poles, but without success, when suddenly from the Virginia mountains it is heard that plain farmers have had such a thing for years and said nothing about it.” Like many heirloom vegetables today, the bush lima rose from obscurity after years of cultivation in one locality. The only complaint against Henderson’s introduction was the smallness of the bean.
Those plain farmers will get you every time.
I’ve been struggling with Apricots in the northeast since I first started my orchard in 2012. I thought it might be a rootstock issue after losing a half dozen trees on different rootstocks. So I started planting out a bunch of seedlings. I had six very healthy looking seedlings of Angelcots growing for the past four or so years headed into this season, but none of those six woke up this spring. Grafted or not, it doesn’t seem to matter. The only apricots that have survived for me are two “Hardy Apricots” I got from Cold Stream Farm in 2016.
It really can’t be the cold then. I hit -20Fs and i’ve had apricot flower and fruit in the past. Boston had a low this winter of 7F. Maybe it is moisture/disease.
I do wonder if total sunshine hours plays into it as well. My thought is perhaps that more sun means the apricot is in a better place going into winter, and better able to weather adversity. Also, would correlate with drying out = less disease.
Another thought to consider would be that maybe a mild winter allows a tree to come out of dormancy just enough that it’s using up resources and susceptible to damage, but not enough to really grow. Then, come spring, it’s in a weakened state when it starts to grow. A consistently cold winter would keep it locked in deep dormancy.
And yet another: drainage. A lot of plants, like cactus, are very cold hardy to the Northeast, but suffer from too much moisture over winter. Giving them sharp drainage will remedy this issue. Like, gravel and sand and almost no organic matter. Theoretically apricot rootstock choice should mitigate any issues, but I wonder. There’s a planting of apricot trees in my very sandy neighborhood that I just found. They are large and healthy and look to have been there at least 10 years (edit: looking back through aerial imagery, it’s at least 17 years). I’ll have to check on them to see if they’re leafing out well.
I keep my eye on a big apricot tree closer to Boston. It’s in a small yard that’s elevated with a retaining wall above the street. It bloomed well this year, but didn’t set any fruit and only has leaves growing at the very tips of branches. It doesn’t look at all happy this year.
I have to remember to get scion from your prize tree!!!
You raise good points! Sunshine, and the first thing I would suspect is drainage, @alan were your trees in a flat area that may have too much water like a spongue below the surface in rainy seasons? That would for sure be a very big issue with peach, i would think apricot too. peach and apricot in a rainy northeast situation will need a good hill and a sunshine location that the sun, wind, and hill can shed and dry the area well, in rainy seasons, to stop disease, and in extreme situations dying from roots getting flooded out in the soil?? That is an issue most of us out in the drier west do not have a problem with except in a creek bottom or something…
my Adirondack Gold is planted on a slight rise in a 12in high raised bed and has done very well the last couple years. its completely covered in blooms for the 1st time. if any sets fruit is yet to be seen. its the 2nd earliest thing to bloom after ony honeyberry. im betting root issues in combo with early break in dormancy does them in. maybe thats why mine is fruiting this year. i never watered it during our severe drought last summer and the tree put on the most growth ever. Robert, i will take note of your recomendations and get scion of those varieties to graft to my apricot.
And is the first thing any experienced gardener would look at. I’m pretty experienced and have made my living by working with fruit trees every workday for the last 25+ years and out of the soil for my entire adult life (I’m 69). Gardening 101 chapter 1 is about the importance of good drainage. 40 years ago I was raising plants in swampland on huge raised beds.
If anything, the soil where the trees died is hydrophobic but trees also died in other soils on my property where the soil doesn’t lose moisture nearly as quickly. Anyway, last season wasn’t as wet as the previous 2 nor as dry as many in the past, and trees were happy going into fall. They were all mulched. The variety that suffered the most casualties is also the one that has, over the last 30 years, been the strongest variety I grow- Hargrand.
I didn’t really intend this as a horticultural diagnostic game-show. It is well known that cots are fragile in my region and unknown precisely why.
You know … I had problems with a Golden Russet that wound up dying in 2019. Branches just shriveled one at a time, and I kept cutting them back. The last crop never ripened. I cut it down a year ago. A Wolf River right next to it took a long time to leaf out in 2020. I thought it was a goner, too. The flowers were tiny and very, very late. I didn’t let it set a crop, and it looks better this year but is still late. I emailed the County Extension agent, and he referred me to a UW-Madison Extension Fruit Specialist who blamed the “Polar Vortex” of Jan 2019.
Yeah i had dieback from that cold (-33F here) but i swear i had more damage from the previous spring cold blast. Who knows. Maybe the damage builds over the years and bam…dead. I’m going to take budwood off my seedling apricots and put them on krymsk 1.
I was up on the hill grafting some peaches today where a lot of the cots died. The Tomcots were fine and loaded with crop. My nursery trees do not reliably bear fruit, but for the trees that survived it’s a good season for cropping.
Backup grafts on a Stanley plum are the longest lived apricots I’ve had. Everything else has died within 5 years. Some factor connected to the Stanley seems to be keeping them alive better than the usual rootstocks. Low vigor or dormancy cycle are the only potential factors I can think of.
Well, I bit the bullet today. Blossoms were rotted. Some branches were dying. The thicker branches and the trunk were developing gummy spots. I’ve seen this movie before. Death is inevitable. So I picked up the chain saw and put the tree out of its misery. Now it’s on the burn pile.
I’ve avoided scenario with apples, pears, plums, and peaches by focusing on disease-resistant species / varieties.
So sorry @alan i sure didnt intend to come across that way… I respect you as a very experienced and knowledgable and professional grower. Yeah i am sure you could teach me many things i have yet to learn.
Yeah what prompted my thoughts was to do with well I grew up in LA and well as a kid my grandma who grew up on that place her dad homesteaded next to the swamp well she got me started growing at like 5 yrs old well within a few years i started an orchard on a flat 1/4 acre surrounded by huge trees lots of swamp woodland.(well everything was flat.) My pears and figs and citrus did great, time i was mid teens i had a lot of fruit producing I dug a 18" ditch around the entire perimeter but we were in the flatlands and even with that place well drained the soil still held moisture plus the humidity stayed high. My friend at LSU ag experimental station would tell me they were measuring over 100% humidity lol!! Well all of my stone fruits did horrible, bugs, mold, fungus diseases i dont know what all but everything would die even though my drainage was ok… Except one mystery plum i wish i knew what type it was.
But anyway, my great great grandma we would go over to her house about 10 miles away and she was mid 90s back in the mid 90s her farmstead was up in a hilly more upland type area and her place was all cleared cow pasture and her home was on top of a nice open 20 ft hill with no trees, all open high sunny and lots of wind. Well, her stone fruit did great!
So, that was a different set of factors with very different outcome.
And now, me moving to kansas this is a much more harsh climate, butthe stone fruit grows literally wild there are wild apricot and peach just everywhere. And the factors that are similar to my great great grandmas is the wind, the good drainage hilltop, the open and the sun. Of course kansas is drier, windier, more open. So those are similar factors i see… KS is different with the more harsh winter and more harsh spring frosts. Yet the trees do well here.
So i am just thinking of possible factors.
But anyway, yeah sorry that i came across in such a rude way I sure did not mean to.