Blenheim apricot hopes

First, here’s a photo of my tree:

I know it needs to be pruned. I am waiting until summer to prune it because I learned that winter pruning of apricot will lead to moisture-related diseases in my area.

I planted this Blenheim apricot 2 years ago and it has never flowered or fruited. It’s on the Citation rootstock. It was next a 5in1 plum and a 5in1 apple and both of them flowered and fruited. It’s possible I wasn’t giving it enough water in the first 2 years (same amount as plum/apple, however).

I’m in a coastal bay area sunset 16 and zone 10a, but without the heat usually associated with 10 (I do get about 3 weeks total of weather in the 90s F in June/July). It sits in the sunniest part of my yard, getting all day sun.

Does anyone know more about Blenheims? Do they take a few years? Do they need a pollinator? Should I replace it with a new Blenheim? I’m seeing a 4 in 1 apricot at Berkeley Hort on Citation rootstock and it includes 4 of the following options - Blen., Tomcot, Katy, Royal Rosa, Flvr. Del. Aprium.

I fertilize with Tree Tone* and water every 4 days in dry weather, and use horticultural oil in the winter. The fruit trees near it are doing fine.

*thrice a year


@bonitapplebump, Blenheim is one of the best apricots around. Where you are it should be a good choice as long as you are getting over 400 chill hours. Sounds like you are overwatering/fertilizing and the fruit tree just wants to grow and not produce fruit. One or two fertilizing in the spring should be good. Fruit trees like to be watered only once every week or two, depending on location/size of tree. The larger the tree the longer between waterings. The remaining leaves on the tree from last year tell me that you probably fertilized too late and the tree did not get its required 400 chill hours. Blenheim is self fruitful but you will get better crops with a polinizer. I have the 5 in one cocktail tree you have and have been pleased with all those fruits but Katy. Good luck, I would keep your tree, just don’t overwater/fertilize and you should be good!


My adult Blenheim experience is with my seedling trees in San Jose. They mostly started fruiting about 6 years after they sprouted, and that’s 6 years from seed. I love the fruit off of them, there’s a good reason the area was carpeted with Blenheim trees 100 years ago. I always felt like Orinda was hotter than that, but I never spent much time there.

I’m going to wait one more year to decide which of my Blenheim seedlings to graft more of :cowboy_hat_face:

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I have its sport Autumn Royal, and it took a while to get going. I should have my first fruit this year if the frost doesn’t get it again.

But it did take a few years to even bloom, and also to put on size. Now it’s really vigorous and blooms well. I didn’t do anything different.

(I know it’s pretty low-chill for my area, but I really want a chance at apricots in September, lol.)

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I planted mine about eight years ago as a bear root. It took about six years before it became particularly productive. The trunk is about 3 inches in diameter, the tree about 12 feet tall. Last season it produced several hundred apricots. Summer prune it in a vase like shape. It should grow about 6 to 12 inches or more per season then 18 to 24 plus inches after 5 to 6 years. I had some sap-goo on some of the branches last dormant season, it out grew it. It looks very healthy now and is just beginning to emerge from dormancy. Do not use very much fertilizer. It does not need to be sprayed with anything in our climate. Birds, etc. leave the fruit alone. The only problem is they all ripen at the same time! Half are dried, the others are put in a blender and are frozen in freezer bags for later use in jams, etc.


I planted it in my now sold house in 2014. It fruited the nextbyear and was the most vigorous tree in my yard. I summer pruned it the most and grafted it with 4 other varieties. It gave me a bumper crop every year since 2016. Here it is in 2017.


@bleedingdirt, That is a great looking tree, nice work!

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That is a beautiful tree! Thank you for sharing that photo.

Also love those curry plants. I have 2 myself and they actually got big enough to give me little black berries last year that I did not expect.

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Was the sap goo borers beetles?

I think I got a bore in my trunk last year because some sap came out. I cut away the sap and flushed the hole until it either left or drowned using a tutorial from a youtube video so I hope my tree rebounds from that.

I think my main worry with this tree is that it has never even set 1 flower, only leaves. All of my other trees have flowered their first year, even if I pinch all their fruits. This one has never ever shown a single flower.

We get about 3 weeks in total of 90-97 degree weather in June/July, otherwise the fog rolls in pretty heavy in the mornings and/or evening and keeps us cool. My house doesn’t even have an AC.

Blenheims are the best there is, I agree. I hope my tree shows some sign of fruiting this year otherwise I’ll replace it in the winter.

I only fertilize about 3 times a year (I just re read what I wrote and see that it reads like I fertilize every 4 days haha) with a slow release fertilizer.

I water every 4 days because I’m on clay and the ground always looks parched in the summer. I also use one of those moisture meters that I stick down and it usually shows “dry” pretty quickly in the summer. Should I dial it back to once a week or once every other week? How would I even know if I wasn’t watering enough for an apricot? My citrus react fairly quickly and I’m able to adjust.

@bonitapplebump, I believe clay soil retains more water than loam and where you are doesn’t have really hot summers so I would recommend a good watering once a week. With your clay soil I would also recommend planting on a mound. A tree with wet feet will not grow very well and you will end up with root problems. As for fertilizing, with time released I would fertilize a few times in spring to early summer. You want your tree to loose its leaves around Thanksgiving time so it gets proper chilling. Fruit trees generally take a few years to produce so I would not give up yet. Here is a what The Home Orchard book says about trees with no bloom 1 tree is to young or vigorous 2 excessive or improper pruning 3 excessive nitrogen fertilizer 4 lack of sunlight 5 alternate or biennial bearing 6 damage from improperly mixed or timed dormat oil or lime sulfur spray 7 damage from diseases that kill dormant buds (shothole or bacterial blast. My guess would be 1,3, and 4. And could be also 6 and 7.

bleedingdirt, did you summer or winter prune your apricot?
There were so many apricot scions at the GG CRFG scion exchange that a lot of people have to be winter pruning… I pruned newly planted my apricot and apriums before they were planted and wonder if I should be concerned.

The keyword is avoid I guess. Pruning in winter won’t guarantee disease, just increase chances.

FWIW, Tom Spellman pruned his Aprium too at time of planting in his BYOC videos.


If it were me, I would give your tree another year. If it did not take off this year, I’d replace it with another ‘Blenheim’ and graft other varieties on to it in a few years instead of planting the 4-in-1 you mentioned now.

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Thank you everyone. I’m glad I didn’t replace the tree because it has absolutely exploded with flowers this year. I guess all that sweet talking the tree finally worked out. I think I’ll have to thin fruit with this bloom and I’ll definitely need to prune this summer.


Is there another apricot variety that can take 300-400 chill hours, taste almost as good as Blenheim, and can extend the season? I already have a delicious Blenheim but would like a second variety to extend the apricot season. My Blenheim ripens all within two weeks then drops the fruit off the tree.

I also have another multi-on-1 apricot that has the following and all are considered low chill like you need - Katy, Tomcot, Royal Rosa, Blenheim, and the Flavor Delight Aprium. They all ripen a week or 2 weeks and then the next variety begins. Katy is about a month before the Blenheim and I forget the order of the rest.

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Which one tastes as good as Blenheim? I was disappointed in the Katy from my neighbor.

None of them are as good as Blenheim in my coastal bay area climate, but that’s also a really high bar imo. Katy dries very well, and it ripes a month before Blenheim and I’m happy with its taste raw as well. You might try to find the other varieties in your area to see if you’d like their flavors in your climate and maybe look into apriums instead.