Apricot Tree Varieties

Apricot Tree Varieties -

The apricot is a small tree, 8–12 m (26–39 ft) tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm (16 in) in diameter and a dense, spreading canopy. The leaves are ovate, 5–9 cm (2.0–3.5 in) long and 4–8 cm (1.6–3.1 in) wide, with a rounded base, a pointed tip and a finely serrated margin. The flowers are 2–4.5 cm (0.8–1.8 in) in diameter, with five white to pinkish petals; they are produced singly or in pairs in early spring before the leaves. The fruit is a drupe similar to a small peach, 1.5–2.5 cm (0.6–1.0 in) diameter (larger in some modern cultivars), from yellow to orange, often tinged red on the side most exposed to the sun; its surface can be smooth (botanically described as: glabrous) or velvety with very short hairs (botanically: pubescent). The flesh is usually firm and not very juicy. Its taste can range from sweet to tart. The single seed is enclosed in a hard, stony shell, often called a “stone”, with a grainy, smooth texture except for three ridges running down one side.

Cultivation

Dried organic apricot, produced in Turkey: The colour is dark because it has not been treated with sulfur dioxide (E220).
Although the apricot is native to a continental climate region with cold winters, it can grow in Mediterranean climates if enough cool winter weather allows a proper dormancy. The dry climate of these areas is good for fruit maturation. The tree is slightly more cold-hardy than the peach, tolerating winter temperatures as cold as −30°C or lower if healthy. A limiting factor in apricot culture is spring frosts: They tend to flower very early, meaning spring frost can kill the flowers. Furthermore, the trees are sensitive to temperature changes during the winter season. In China, winters can be very cold, but temperatures tend to be more stable than in Europe and especially North America, where large temperature swings can occur in winter. Hybridisation with the closely related Prunus sibirica (Siberian apricot; hardy to −50°C but with less palatable fruit) offers options for breeding more cold-tolerant plants.

Prunus sibirica (Siberian apricot; hardy to −50°C but with less palatable fruit) offers options for breeding more cold-tolerant plants.

Apricot cultivars are most often grafted on plum or peach rootstocks. The scion from an existing apricot plant provides the fruit characteristics, such as flavour and size, but the rootstock provides the growth characteristics of the plant.

Cultivators have created what is known as a “black apricot”, but it this is not a genuine apricot, as it is a hybrid between an apricot and a plum. This fruit is variously called plumcots, apriplums, pluots, or apriums.

Apricots have a chilling requirement of 300 to 900 chilling units. They are hardy in USDA zones 5 through 8. Some of the more popular US cultivars of apricots include ‘Blenheim’, ‘Wenatchee Moorpark’, ‘Tilton’, and ‘Perfection’.

An old adage says an apricot tree will not grow far from the mother tree; the implication is that apricots are particular about the soil conditions in which they are grown. They prefer well-drained soils with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Apricots are self-compatible and do not require pollinizer trees, with the exception of the ‘Moongold’ and ‘Sungold’ cultivars, which can pollinate each other. Apricots are susceptible to numerous bacterial diseases, including bacterial canker and blast, bacterial spot and crown gall. They are susceptible to an even longer list of fungal diseases, including brown rot, black knot, Alternaria spot and fruit rot, and powdery mildew. Other problems for apricots are nematodes and viral diseases, including graft-transmissible problems.

Apricots Forever
by chantel beam photography under CC-SA