Growing apricots in a nordic climate

go under general fruit growing . select new topic. title it: what are the best cold hardy, disease resistant apricot cultivars? should get plenty of answers.

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talk to to Galina on here. she is Russian and lives in Massachusetts. i believe she grows apricots there.

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I’ve tried to grow apricots in Fairbanks, Alaska several times over the years. Even though Manchurian rootstock is supposed to be hardy to -50F, I’ve never had one make more than a couple winters, even ungrafted. A few years ago, I successfully grafted seven cultivars to an established Rose Tree of China (Prunus triloba). Four of them have survived and done pretty well: Debbie’s Gold, Morden 604, Strathmore, and Westcot. I’m hopeful they’ll blossom this year, and I’m also itching to find a European plum that will produce here.

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good luck Victor! ive never heard of rose tree of china. where did you get it?

Wow Victor, that is impressive! I hope you succeed!

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It’s an ornamental. The multiplex version is very showy, with blossoms that resemble pink carnations about an inch in diameter covering the bush. That’s what I thought I was buying from the Soil and Water Conservation District tree sale here, but it was the far less attractive simplex form. It did thrive, though, and I thought maybe it would make a reasonable apricot rootstock. I read online that it had been used as such in China, and there is research showing it’s more closely related to plums and apricots than to peaches and almonds. So far so good, but not sure yet about long term compatibility.

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Hi, I’ve grown apricot seedlings (cross pollinated seeds from relatively hardy varieties: Russian, Estonian, Latvian, Canadian and American) under the bare sky in zone 5, latitude 61,20° N, in Finland for seven years. I got a few fruits after 4 years, but the first serious crops last autumn. Since every tree is a new variety the quality was uneven, but the best variety “M2” has an average weight of 35g, the fruit is sweet, juicy and aromatic. I recommend you try apricots! I will be grafting some new plants from scions of my “M2” this spring.

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So funny, another Norwegian wanting to grow apricot! :joy:

I decided to do go straight to the source, and sourced seeds from below the Himalayas :innocent:. I started planning and searching in 2021 - but it was difficult finding locations in India and Pakistan that would be fitting. The closest I got was Ladakh in India. I ended up buying sundried apricot, which I ordered online from India in the spring 2022. The dried apricots were extremely hard, they had to be soaked for a day (or more) to soften and remove the fruit flesh.

In the process, I tasted the apricot flesh. I was going to throw it away - but it tasted heavenly. Trust me, the taste is unmatched by anything you can but in Norwegian stores - ANY Norwegian stores! :joy:

Out of probably 150-200 pits, I finally got around 30 seeds sprouted. Some died, some were killed by birds, and at the end of 2022 I had 13 left. And this year, out of winter storage, all 13 survived :relaxed:

But sourcing from Ladakh was only the trial. During 2022 I managed to decide on a location in Pakistan, the Skardu valley. The northern territories of Pakistan do have apricots flowering very late, even at the end of April/start om May.

I was lucky to find someone willing to help me, and I got a load of seeds. They are just starting to emerge from their cotelydons now. :relaxed:

Btw I have an instagram account: physicistgrows

(edit:) Now I see that OP not only lives in Norway, but he lives 10-15 miles away from me - just on the other side of and further into the Trondheims fjord! :joy:… and while we’ve got zone 7a USDA equivalent, he’s all the way down to 5. Great variation over short distances.

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I’m very interested what will become of those apricot seedlings. Do apricots grow well in Norway on their own roots? I’m n Bulgaria we use prunus cerasifera (yellow-fleshed) as rootstocks for soils that hold more moisture.

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Hi!

There is extremely little apricot grown in Norway. The last couple of years, I know they have done trials with professional trees, of course grafted on hardy rootstock, in the soutwestern parts of Norway, in some fjords.

There probably is little to none, grown from seed. I got these seeds especially thinking of the source - Skardu - being at the coldest most part of it’s natural range. Hopefully quite a few will be good tasting and have enough cold hardiness and flower at the correct time (late spring, around start of May :crossed_fingers:)

I’ll be sure to keep people updated on the progress in this forum :blush:… btw, you can also follow me on instagram, where I’m (at)physicistgrows :innocent:

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So my research has pointed me to Ladakh as well. Do you happen to remember where you were able to spurce from? Most ship only in India, not to USA. Any help would be appreciated.

Also, have you heard of a rootstock that causes delayed bud break?

A post on a different forum indicated some could - but I don’t see info on varieties. My curiousity was piqued when I saw this oddity last week. I had grafted two varieties of plums onto one side of an apricot tree i was top working. The apricot always blooms too early and never produces so anyway, check this out. The left side with the plum grafts has some suckers thay will bloom. The right side of the apricot is budding fully but it has no plum grafts from last year. Its almost like the plums produced (or didn’t produce) a hormone to signal bud break. But can the scion do that? What if i bud grafted a couple apricots back onto the plum higher up??


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Thanks for interesting reply!

Concerning grafting, rootstock and scion, etc. – I’m completely blank on that subject, so someone more knowledgeable will have to reply :rofl:… I’m only growing from seed, and will do a plant selection based on flowering/fruiting and taste before planting in the ground :innocent:

My Skardu apricots were sourced by buying dried apricots WITH pits, from Kanz and Muhul in India:

I soaked the apricots in cold water overnight in the refrigerator. I used the fruit pulp – it tasted AMAZING!!! – and then extracted the pits. I cracked the pits and stratified the seeds. Now I would drop this step, and germinate the WITH the pit intact.

But I later was able to source seeds from what I beleive to be a “better”, more suited source, Skardu in Pakistan. :grinning:

I sourced my seeds by getting in contact with a Skardu man on instagram. This was quite hard - I had to contact quite a few, and I finally found someone that was helpful. We agreed to get in contact over the summer, and as there was harvest season, I once again contacted him. It was quite the job to get the shipping arranged, to be able to transfer money to reimburse him etc. While he didn’t want any more than the shipping, I also added some hundreds of dollars for all the collecting and other work he had to do. He did quite the job – over the span of some time – so I don’t think I could bother him much right now, as he is quite busy now.

Concerning flowering time, I only looked at research papers online – I searched and researched a lot! :rofl: – and some articles showed a large distribution in flowering time across northern parts of Pakistan, where Skardu

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So your research pointed you in the same direction as mine. I live zone 6/7 at almost 2000m so when i came across a research paper on Ladakh apricots grown at 3000m i knew i was on to something.

I will continue looking to see where i can get some sent from. I might start with that link - looks interesting.

Have you seen they have a unique white seeded apricot there in Ladakh?

Would you be interested in a scion exchange in a year or two, once you know what you have? I’d be happy to share a couple plum varieties that grow well on apricot root for me - then you could make use of your “junk” trees that didn’t produce quite what you wanted! Win-win?

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I only grow my own stock - that is, beside houseplants, I never get live plants or cuttings :innocent:… but thanks for the offer! :blush:… I would be happy to share though - but I know most countries have hard restrictions on import of live plant matter, even requiring phytosanity certificate… :thinking:

Concerning “white seeded” apricots - I’ve always wondered what this was regarding :thinking:… I have only seen apricot seeds with white/off-white flesh and brown seed coat - but I have had quite a few white kernels, maybe between 2-5%, both from the Ladakhi apricots and the Skardu apricots. Could it be this they talk about? :thinking:

BTW, edited so I could add link to some images of my white Skardu apricot kernels :innocent:

White Apricot Kernels - Photo on Instagram from Physicistgrows

That’s a very good point. I wouldnt want to be responsible for some major outbreak of something - although i doubt my little planting of trees in a rural mountain town (we still dont have house mail delivery - in USA) would have much that spread. It used to be commercial apple orchards in my area actually.

As to the white seeded - That’s exactly what the study was talking about. They other study i was reading talked about “sweet” apricot pits where they were dual purpose, “almond” and apricot. If the tree produced “bitter” they used the oil for like hair and face scrubs and things like that. If sweet then it was eaten like almonds. Not sure the difference in fruit though. And I’m surprised they were in both batches you got. My understanding is that they were unique to only Ladahki apricots. Thank you for the info.

I wonder what the cost would be if you had a couple real winners to send me a couple scions?? If it is even legal of course.