"Best" apricot for New England (6b)?


#1

Hi everyone, I'm planning on putting in an Apricot next spring. I've got a little experience with apples at this point, but none with stone fruit. Of course I'd like something that is resistant to bugs and disease, easy to grow, and makes great fruit. Easy, right? :wink:

The desire is for a small-ish tree, to go next to my hay bin in the backyard. Soil is not good at this point in time, but hoping to improve it. Not full sun, but decent number of hours per day. I live in Somerville, MA, borders on Boston and Cambridge.

I understand Apricots can be tricky in the northeast due to early blooms getting killed by late frosts. I've been looking at offerings from Cummins and Fedco:

  • Hargrand or Harogem on Pumiselect, from Cummins
  • Brookcot, Debbie's Gold, Westcot, from Fedco

Or I could graft something up if that made more sense.

Grateful for any thoughts or suggestions,
-Holly


Growing Apricots - Zone 6a
#2

Scott is a big believer in Tomcot. I'd also try Orangered in your area.

Two more suggestions: Robada is a favorite of mine. Montrose is hardy and possibly frost resistant.

Orangered and Robada are my best tasting. Tomcot and Golden Sweet second place.


#3

If you want small-ish tree, then you can try Pixie Cot, the genetic dwarf. I planted it this spring. I cannot tell anything about it yet, except that it definitely grows more slowly then my Chinese sweet pit apricot. And I wanted a really small tree, because it grows under the wires.


#4

Harogem is fantastic !


#5

I have tried most of the Har series extensively in Z6 SE NY. Been growing and managing them for over 20 years and I've come to the conclusion that Hargrand is the best of the group for durability of the trees and the quality of the fruit itself. I haven't been growing Orangered for long enough to evaluate it beyond the fact that the few fruit I've tasted were excellent. I also have a lot of experience with Goldcot and Alfred and a few years with Tomcot.

Alfred is hardy and reliable based on how it does on the SE corner of my house and another site out in the open where I manage it. It is plenty good enough if you thin it and control its scab. My site is terrible for bacterial spot and it is one of the few that seems resistant enough to do well here. So's Orangered but I haven't been able to get it to set a good crop yet although it's old enough. I don't think it's receiving enough pollen from another cot so I planted something else right next to it this year.

Other Z6 sites I manage cots at are not as challenging as my own as far as getting good productivity but they will often succumb to cambium burn and die for reasons indiscernible. This may not reveal itself to a home grower with a tree or two but when you manage a lot of them at a lot of sites for a while you are taught by the trees that they will never be reliably hardy in the northeast- the folks at ACN will tell you as much. Hargrand and probably Alfred seem most likely to survive over the long hau and you really need two varieties in our climate to get reliable cropping.


#6

Holly,

I lived in Somerville for 2 years, so I know what you're up against. Good luck!


#7

Hi Holly. I live about 70 miles south of you. I have Harglow and Tomcot. The 'Harglows' are good not great and smaller than the very good 'Tomcot'. I would love to add an 'Orangered'. After seeing Fruitnuts photographs of his 'Orangered' I felt the compulsion to order, but I already do too much of that already! I had my first 'Tomcots' this year. Enough for eating fresh but not to dry. It has a very true 'apricot' taste! Love it.


#8

As fruitnut mentioned I'm a big Tomcot fan: it has a great combination of reliability and taste; it can be small though and needs heavy thinning. I also have a new favorite this year, Florilege. Its a new disease-resistant apricot from France that seems to hold up very well. It has darker orange flesh which is more dry (like Tomcot) as opposed to juicy (like Orangered). Its hard to find but I think a few places are selling it. Orangered is very good but is more prone to rot than these two. Early Blush is a good early one. NJ-21-107 is also very good, its a new release that ACN is supposedly selling - similar to Orangered but less prone to rot.


#9

Scott, I have two Tomcots because of your notes on the tree. I am happy that it is a bit drier, as the rot of my peaches this year was devastating.


#10

I recently planted a Harcot and Tomcot in location that is shaded by large pine trees in late winter when the sun is still low. Supposedly, this can help delay bloom. I figured it is worth a try. Late freezes are definitely my biggest barrier to growing fruit.

Is there a comprehensive list of relative bloom times?


#11

Thanks for the suggestions everyone!


#12

Is anyone outside of the arid Southwest successfully fruiting the Katy apricot? Are you encountering any problems (rot; freeze damage; stingy fruit set)? Is it nicely sweet and juicy?


#13

Magbe i could piggy back on this post. Fruitnut which apricot do you recommend for Lubbock?


#14

They all bloom too early in west Texas so you might as well try the best eating varieties: Tomcot, Robada, Orangered, and Golden Sweet. Thin them heavily on the yrs they fruit. Don't water too much before harvest and maybe you can grow some 26 brix Orangered like I grew outdoors this yr. That's as good as an apricot gets.


#15

Thanks. I was hoping you had a late bloomer I hadn't been able to find.


#16

Oh I've got one of those. Sugar Pearl's from Henry Fields. Supposed to bloom after every other apricot. And the last two yrs that's been true. It sets lots of flower buds and never blooms. That's about as late as it gets.... in a way... :confused:


#17

I knew you'd know. I'll see what I can find to go with my orangered. Thanks


#18

Mpigg,

I have read the following are late blooming apricots:

Early Blush (mid-late)
Moorpark (mid-late)
OrangeRed (late)
Moniqui white (late)
Zard/ Canadian White Blenheim (late)


#19

I have not found OrangeRed, Moniqui or Early Blush to be appreciably later. Zard, CWB, and Hoyt Montrose are one week later on average. Its not clear how much one week is going to help though.


#20

@scottfsmith Thanks for sharing your direct observations. Most helpful.