Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Growing and training Apricots

The apricot that we have grown

The apricot that we have grown

Talking from practical experience, as well as from our own current garden Apricot;

1) It is a great delight to grow it and look after it. It is a very amenable type of fruit and easy to grow.

2) It has to be on a South-facing wall, and the planting hole needs to be thoroughly prepared. Use John Innes tree planting compost and make sure the tree is not subject to a leak in the a gutter.

3) Use large-size shelf brackets above the apricot tree and construct a wooden shelf. Use this to fasten a double layer of fleece each year around the second week of February. Cover at that moment the entire tree, and make sure the wind cannot blow it off at any time. It has to stay in position until the end of May. Lift the fleece during the day only, when the tree is in flower, sp that pollinating insects can carry out their work. All this is necessary because the Apricot is very sensitive to frost. In addition, until leaf starts to develop, it is sensitive to “peach leaf curl” and bacterial canker. The great thing about apricot growing is that you do not need to use any chemicals, if you protect the tree as outlined above.

4) The tree loves organic matter around its base, but not touching the trunk. It hates the grass around its base, so mulch the tree well, to keep grass and weeds away from it.

5) Never let the tree struggle for moisture, and thin the young fruitlets when the size of a large pea, spacing them to at least 4 to 5 inches apart.

6) It will need a space of approx. 6 to 7 metre wall length. This length can be shorter, but in this case, more summer pruning is necessary. NEVER prune it during the winter months, but always when there is a full canopy of leaves. Pick the fruit when turning yellow in August. At this stage, flavour will have developed well.

Leaves and fruit of our apricot

Leaves and fruit of our apricot

Apricot Fan Training process

February/March of the first year

Start with 2 side branches
Cut these back by about 2 inches. Remove all other growth. (March)
Promote strong growth. (Water, nutrients, warmth).
Seal all fresh pruning cuts with “Heal and Seal” compound. (This protects against bacterial canker)

Late September
Select 2 shoots on either side
Tie in with bamboo canes at 45 degree angles
Cut the original side branches and the extra 4, back by about a third of their length,
Continue to feed well (slow release fertiliser, Osmacote or the equivalent)

February/March of the second year
Select the final 2 branches,
Carry out the same procedure as in the first year

From then onwards
After cropping, cut out the wood that carried a crop (i.e. in August). Tie in new canes to replace the wood that carried fruit.
Apricot crops best on younger wood.

Never prune plums, cherries, apricots, peach and nectarine during the winter months but ALWAYS as soon as you have picked the crop. This helps to avoid disease from developing.

Detail of the leaves and fruit

Detail of the leaves and fruit

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