How to get the smallest possible apricot tree?

…well, whilst keeping it productive, that’s it.
I was wondering what tricks can be pulled in order to grow an apricot in the smallest possible tree for this specie. Dwarfing rootstock are one, summer pruning another; what else? Can interstocks help? Fertilization?
I’d like to grow several apricot varieties but i have space for just a couple of tree more, so I’d really like to keep them as small as humanely possible, in order to get all the apricots i want. What is realistically achievable?

Growing the trees in containers will also


Apricots stay pretty small on Krymsk-1 rootstock. With a bit of pruning you can keep a tree any size you need.

1 Like

I have a prune I grafted to a Nanking cherry rootstock and it is very dwarfed and (finally) productive. I suspect an apricot would behave the same way and I’m trying to figure out where I could put one. I may try to use a largish planter I have.

1 Like

Dear everyone,
thank you for your suggestions

@Stan, I got some Krymsk 1 my only concern with those is that they might require staking? I never grew anything on Krymsk 1 and i don’t know how they might behave. I attempted a pear on quince last year, and I was surprised noticing how much the quince required to be watered compared to wild pears. I suppose that, if i want a dwarf apricot I won’t have much choice.

@marknmt, mark i saw the topic where you show your prune on Nc, and gotta say it was an inspiration. So i did buy an Nc, and grafted a peach over it to use as interstock for apricot. I think i read in said topic that peach gets a lot of dwarfing on nc? However, I thought that, if peach gets dwarfed so much, hopefully it won’t impart a lot of vigour to my apricots. NC lends itself to multi-grafting wich is a bonus in my book. So as for now i’m going with both the Nanking cherry and the Krymsk approach (I have several varieties to place, just a plant won’t do).

1 Like

I have some apricots in very little space growing on standard vigor rootstock. I bent some limbs down as the fruiting wood, I get lots of blooms on shoot off of those. The tree produces hundreds of vertical feet of wood above these bent limbs in the summer, but I just prune it all off in the winter. It would be better to prune in summer as well but I get too busy with other things.

Anyway if you did this kind of pruning and also put it on Krymsk or similar it could be kept small easily.

1 Like

How much space is “very little?” If you don’t mind me asking.

No, they don’t need staking, Krymsk-1 anchors very well, the tree just does not grow up very much.

Some vareties are naturally dwarfing, also it seems to me like most plants get dwarfed by sandy soil, because the plants are starved of water and nutrition, yet that would cause the flowers to fall anyway if timed wrong, I think that starving a tree can be risky as well. I’d never try do that myself. Everything else I know of that can work has already been mentioned.

@scottfsmith thank you for chiming in. What kind of angle do your branches make with the horizon? What kind of pruning you do? Summer/winter or just winter? I have heard that apricots don’t take well winter pruning, especially if intense. But mostly i think I fear that by removing too many flowers I would make a tree which would be otherwise, sparingly productive, completely unproductive.

Ideally i would like to have a canopy to remain stable at around 4 meters diameter.

@alanmercieca ehhh my soul is a very nice clay-loam which seems to make the plants very happy and historically i always have serious problems in keeping the plants small.

I think my smallest ones are maybe 3’ x 6’. My biggest apricot is something like 10’ in diameter I would guess. Well I have some even smaller, I have three that must be only 3’x3’. These guys are not vigorous so I didn’t need to tie anything down, either. I just looked at my chart and it looks like all three are on Torinel, that one seems to be the most dwarfing in my orchard.

I have different trees pruned differently. Some have standard branch angles but others were too vigorous so I tied branches nearly horizontal. I currently only do winter pruning; I totally butcher them and they seem fine. In other words they are similar to peaches and plums. The apricots are like the plums in that they produce many tall shoots going straight up which may have few flower buds on them. I prune those off and don’t lose too many buds as there are so few. I should do more summer pruning to control the vigor but I get too busy, and it is not really necessary I have found.

Thank you, I will try this. I had a Pellecchiella apricot on myrabolan wich became huge and I’m still worried about this plant growing out of control.

I also got a bunch of torinel this year, so it’s nice to know that they behave nicely with apricots.

Ultimately, I think the answer is regular pruning.

If the space is truly small, the long tradition of espalier could be used.

I believe monks would grown trees next to walls inside their monistary. The branches where trained to grow along the wall in various patterns. The retained heat and reflection of heat from the stone wall would lengthen the growing season.

A good start is using Krymsk 1 rootstock. This rootstock will about branch at soil level. I have several cots, peaches, pluots grafted to K1… It does require a lot of pruning…seems to want to send out a lot of branches.

This is a multi Bud 3 in 1 stone fruit tree.

1 Like