Apricot trees have been cultivated by humans for thousands of years - and for good reason! Their fruits are considered a delicacy in throughout the world, and fresh apricots are among the tastiest and most nutritious of all stone fruits. In addition to their delicious fruit, the tree's attractive foliage and abundant, stunning blooms make it a focal point of any garden.
Apricots are a good choice for both group plantings and stand alone trees, as most varieties are self-fruiting. They can produce abundant fruit when properly maintained and cared for; this includes proper pruning and fertilization practices. Apricots produce fruits on second-year wood, and heavy pruning may result in several years without fruit production. Similarly, adequate nutrition is required for the plant to produce delicious crops of fruit.
Like many fruiting trees, apricots require several years of growth before they begin producing. For the first several years of growth, the plant will be concentrating its energy on developing foliage and root structure. Once an apricot tree begins fruiting, typically after five years, it will continue to produce fruits for 20-25 years.
Apricot trees can be grown in a variety of climates, but thrive in USDA zones 5 through 8. They require a cool, chilling period to produce viable blossoms after a period of winter dormancy. Ideally, apricot trees should be exposed to 600 - 900 hours of temperatures below 45 degrees to properly fruit. They do not thrive in regions that often experience late-spring frosts, as these damage developing buds and trees will be unable to bear fruit without adequate protection. Likewise, they do not thrive in regions that experience less than the required period of chilling, as the tree's health will suffer if not allowed to enter a period of winter dormancy.
Apricots are among the most beautiful fruiting trees you can grow, and with some care and affection, will be the centerpiece of any garden!