Dead apricots

I’ve been to the majority of orchards I manage this spring- at least the ones I do the spraying for, and apricots took a big hit. It is always a bit of a mystery who lives and who dies- and where. My own site only saw the death of a few peach trees, although my low was probably a bit steeper than sites where varieties of cots died while mine lived. The range of low temps probably swung from about -8 to -13 F as the “test” low of the season. The size of crop of surviving trees is another question.

Some years I believe cots are killed in the spring by hard freezes after they start to emerge from dormancy, but this year it has to have been the winter low that did them in as spring temps didn’t swing very low this year.

The cots with the reputation of being hardiest are Moongold and Sungold and yet one of the two (the owner has lost track of which is which) suffered fairly severe cambium damage with a lot of dead shoots. I’m hopeful the tree will live, but the site is much warmer than mine and probably only got around -8F at the lowest because it is within walking distance of the Hudson River just 40 miles north of NYC. The winter low came when trees should have been deeply dormant so this is mysterious as cambium injury with cots often is.

None of the other apricots I manage in this area, most of the Har series with probably a Goldcot in the mix, suffered any damage at all- one site with Harlayne and Hargrand has a similar location as does a site with two cots I didn’t plant and don’t know what they are, but am guessing one is a Goldcot. Both of these sites are as close to the unobstructed air-flow from the Hudson as the site with the damaged moon or sun cot.

Some other sites there was no damage, but an orchard on top of a hill 20 miles south of me that always has higher lows than mine lost 3 of 4 trees, including a Redgold, an Earlyblush (a variety I’ve lost a lot of in my nursery near this residence but survives in my colder home and main nursery) and a Tomcot. Originally I planted 3 Har series cots which thrived for 8 years and bore well at this particular site, now, 15 years after planting bearing age trees there, the only survivor is Hargrand. Hargrand is also the only survivor at several sites where I’ve tried several other varieties.

I’ve more to say on this subject and can add more varieties to the dead list from my Bedford nursery when I get back there, but it’s almost 6 AM and I have to get to work. I hope to do most of my J. plum and peach grafting done today. Much warmer days this May than what we got last year even though it has been just as wet as last. We are finally drying out.


The weather wreaked havoc here as well. Lost a variety of trees do to winter kill and the damage is still becoming evident in the last few days. Had a couple nice size apricot trees and plums that leafed out and then just up and died.

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I lost some potted trees, and some peach seedlings.I have no idea why the seedlings died? The potted trees all came out of dormancy early. I did learn that Wacissa mulberry can recover and is probably a lot hardier than the zone 7 it is rated to.

I lost half a dozen trees as well with no explanation over the winter

My Hargrand on Manchurian survived its first zero degree winter up on the mountain, even after I stabbed it with a few sticks of Zard.