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The right Apricot climate
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Rooney
429 Posts
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July 13, 2019 - 11:51 am

ParkApricot.jpg
PNW, Columbia river, at a micro-climate

I know apricots are never advised for PNW conditions due to short lived trees and problems associated with poor flower health issues. However several days ago while exploring through the Washington side of the river, near PDX airport, I (by accident) found a healthy one loading up on fruit (picture shown). Now this is in all my many years living both here and Seattle -the first time I have ever seen such healthy apricots. I think the reasons are related to the proximity to overtowering brush and shelter all around and the underground spring waters that go beneath the ground spot and exit a short distance south into the Columbia river. In short: no wind exposure, cloudless night time temperature losses are recaptured by canopy, and the winter ground temperatures are above average. 

I have seen 2 out of these 3 conditions come together before on other kinds of fruit trees but not quite all three at the same time. Like for example sour cherry production in Canada and Alaska by the simple act of moving unproductive trees and trasplanting them closer to other trees (in other instances ground warming ideas) fruiting and an generally acceptable standard of health followed. 

A word of caution for those first time locals wishing apricots is to generally avoid them. see link

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Larry_G
95 Posts
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July 13, 2019 - 7:05 pm

You may want to revisit that tree next year.

On my inner-SE PDX block there was a fine old apricot tree (was very mature in 1990) and it fruited heavily (fallen fruit would require tiptoeing, no place to plant a whole shoe). It fruited twice in 25 years. The other 23 years zero fruit. The last heavy fruiting perhaps 5 years ago prompted the property owner to remove the tree. The stacked wood is still visible streetside, and it makes me  wince every time I drive by because that fruit was very tasty.

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Rooney
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July 14, 2019 - 12:47 am

Yes, thanks, it certainly makes sense to see what happens in 2020. If all the externals come together for this one we still have to know we are not in California.

Zaiger and Company produce a "black kat" from Cal that hit the shelves up here about a month ago. Maybe the pits on them could make a good apricot rootstock because the hybrid patent looks interesting. They are the big black plums (you have to look the true fine print name on the box) and they are solid firm for shipping but very delicious. Still prefer delicacies as such straight (softer) from the tree though.

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ArmedAmish
Sherwood, OR
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July 14, 2019 - 10:03 am

Apricot trees are not my friend.  I have killed 8 already.  They rarely survive past their first year, so they are no longer welcome in my orchard.

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Rooney
429 Posts
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July 14, 2019 - 12:11 pm

The last apricot in my yard I had died also. It was a late blooming species selection from a more northly source around China called Hunza apricots. It was even more prone to disease than regular apricots. I saved a small scion and had that grafted to a couple other plums successfully and I get my pollen from them every year. They live on because they are covered up during rainy season, and I do this religiously.

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John S
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July 20, 2019 - 2:08 pm

I'm sure they would grow great in E OR or E WA.

John S
PDX OR

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buzzoff
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October 23, 2019 - 4:10 pm

I have seen examples of a tree I believe to be Puget Gold, producing well in Portland.

Those trees, are no more.  But, I don't think they died on their own.

Alas, the properties "Changed hands".

Often, the first thing new owners do, is cut down the former owner's fruit trees.

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Rooney
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November 3, 2019 - 12:36 pm

@buzzoff, It's nice to see others join in to an already experienced team here!

Apricots: Going back not so long in time it had been suggested that PNW growing of apricots could benefit from later in the season flowers because of frost damaging to the early spring frosts. Then that idea had been expanded with more information to include a discovery that any flowers including later flowers were being robbed of iron particles by both good and bad bacterials that in turn, made the flowers suseptable to frost and freezing. 

I can configure the article in a sec, which is another scientific advancement as a result of fire blight sprays on the market at the time, and OSU (k johnson) with the ARS were involved with this.

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Rooney
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November 3, 2019 - 1:22 pm

**This is the research page; Iron chelate efficacy and freeze prevention idea

There will always be the hunt for better apricot  cultivars that make a difference if any can be found. I have also noted a few 'puget gold' mostly failing in the Seattle suburbs while living there before for a while. I think to get all you can from apricot in PNW other than the shelter idea from rain, is that you must find adequate summer soil moisture conditions, which PNW arid conditions add so much stress on the limited genetics apricots are adapted for.

One example is a (mostly failing) puget gold downhill from my heights location in Vancouver that is growing near the river upstream from the so far producing one in my opening topic. The upstream pugetgold is completely different soils consisting of rocky deposits from the historic george deposition of rocky deposits. Then nearer the PDX airport (downstream) the soils consist of differing texture.

**miner end note to the meaning in the referenced reading article "INA". INAs meaning is as it refers to "ice promoting proprties".

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sprout
3 Posts
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January 15, 2020 - 1:52 pm

John S said
I'm sure they would grow great in E OR or E WA.

John S
PDX OR  

They do great in La grande OR.  The neighborhood I grew up in used to have many.  Most of them have long since been cut down.  

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Rooney
429 Posts
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January 15, 2020 - 7:43 pm

Last Sunday while I was at the scion exchange in California Monteray Bay district I found from the locals that apricots are short lived trees there. When of bearing age they produce very well for several short years then start to decline and die. This is new news to me of apricots that they also bloom around Monteray bay in March, later than our.local valley conditions here. Which gave me a new opinion of maybe why apricots were crossed with plums for so many breeds of plum-cots, because plums can stand the mild California winters there and don't need the same dormancy requirements as apricots do here

On July 13th per my 1st post concerning a healthy local apricot tree. It had dawned on me this is the 'moorpark' seedling selection I had planted 15 years ago when the Columbia river trail was very new. I had just forgot this until a month ago. For years I had given up finding where I planted that, but she came back to me. The mother moorpark was at an old lady's home just before it also was temoved due to the conversion phase into a lawyers office. The lady proved to me it is true that some cultivars are more adapted locally than others.

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coolbrze
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January 16, 2020 - 2:20 pm

Where do Apricots grow best? What are the biggest hurdles they face (pests, disease, etc.)? Would they thrive in VA Zone 6b?

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GH
Battle Ground, WA
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January 16, 2020 - 7:24 pm

Rooney, it must have been a happy moment when you realized that you had planted the apricot years ago!  Do you plan on collecting scions from it? 

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Rooney
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January 17, 2020 - 2:01 am

coolbrze said
Where do Apricots grow best? What are the biggest hurdles they face (pests, disease, etc.)? Would they thrive in VA Zone 6b?  

They are long lived at states east of the Cascades such as Utah/Idaho, also interior WA, and maybe interior California too. The biggest hurdles are the early season flowers and early developing fruitlets being prone to late frost events. 

Your best bet for VA is to sync in with the institutions that have developed special selections that have been watched and bred in east coast conditions. To that note I had recently been in touch with an old friend from his past years in Alaska (@Purvis); whom because of his apricot expertise, in Idaho had been testing newer New Jersey program (@Rutgers) apricots.

Purvis did mention the N.J. program had used late blooming wild hunza species of apricot x regular apricot the way that I know Ledbetter (@2009) had done it in California before. What I don't know is if each program met any other challenges (other than frost issues), so maybe somebody else from your area will note here.

Apricots here in the PNW are not feesible at this time as none were ever developed that I know of in Britain or here for the local types bacterial gummosis, which is a pretty involved topic. ..Our best track record (as per above), one tree at a time.

GH said
Rooney, it must have been a happy moment...

Thankyou GH !
...and I did save an 18 inch top scion section to graft on my heights experimental apricot tree a couple weeks ago to further the cause.

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Rooney
429 Posts
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July 15, 2020 - 12:22 am

Park2020_Lady_Cot.jpeg

The same apricot seedling still running ever much more productive compared to even last year. This year I had to rely on a picture from earlier in it's season. Reason being that when visiting the tree today it had already been picked over and being "caught on" by public. 

One nice thing about apricots is the self fertility and even though there were no bees seen at blossom there had been several hours of wind that arrived to do the job. Rarely seen in flowers are the pistil and anthers at the same length and almost touching each other.

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jekahrs
81 Posts
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July 16, 2020 - 4:53 pm

If I was going to TRY apricots, I wouldn't try apricots. I would try Apriums, an Interspecific Apricot. They are 3/4 apricot and 1/4 plum. I was at the Portland nursery and there was fruit on a tree. I couldn't resist trying a couple. I thought they were pretty much like Apricots, only better. But since they are 3/4 Apricot who knows how well they will do here in Portland. If your environment is close to acceptable for an Apricot (Hood River?) I imagine they might "cross the line" and do well or OK.

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Rooney
429 Posts
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May 3, 2021 - 6:24 pm

Picture from today of this local apricot tree and tracing from the original moorpark.Cool

<-- click image to enlarge

I still can't remember if I planted the one there, or if I had all 3 there when 2 got lost and planted elsewhere but forgot where. Nothing wrong with it yet so the test of endurance continues.

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Crankyankee
Connecticut
48 Posts
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May 6, 2021 - 6:57 pm

I grafted a batch of cherries from Bob Purvis this season but ignored his apricot offerings on account of not knowing anything about apricots and that he was an expert on them.

I'm in Connecticut, zone 6a. This season my Nectazee, El Dorado and Arctic Babe all flowered at the beginning of the third week of April barely missing the last killing frost (this year).

Do apricots bloom earlier than peaches and is there any reason not to grown them here otherwise? Are there dwarfing rootstocks for apricots?

Zone 6a in the moraines of eastern Connecticut.

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Rooney
429 Posts
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May 7, 2021 - 6:34 pm

@Crankyankee:

The expert we know as Bob saw your post. He registered here as "robertpurvis" then decided to email instead and he opted to partially address to you as follows;

>> I registered for the forum, but I could not figure out how to respond to the question about apricots for USDA Zone 6a in eastern Connecticut.  The best apricots to try and grow in CT would be those from the Rutgers University breeding program, the Harrow breeding program, or others that have proven themselves back East such as Tomcot, Florilege, Puget Gold, and Alfred.  The requirements as I see it for that person's location would be high tolerance for disease and a later or extended bloom period.  You can post this for me, just give me credit.  Maybe sometime you can help me get through the process of being allowed to participate in the forum.  Connecticut, in my opinion, would be slightly less difficult than Portland or Seattle, for growing apricots.

// end of paste.

I think something must happen when people first sign up and can't post. I think where people stumble is not knowing that a mathematical quiz is a necessary thing before the post is ever lodged. There are 8 more new entries of people along the bottom none of which have posted yet either. 

Your question on Rootstocks: Well I don't think anybody has really done anything wide scale in that area for apricots. I would say it's a big risk to try anything other than peach or apricot rootstocks. The last thing to try is nanking plum because tests in Oregon around the 1960s show that nanking rootstocks made prune trees pretty susceptible to our disease pressure thanks to our rains. Peach under prunes were tested fine.

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John S
985 Posts
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May 7, 2021 - 8:30 pm

I think if I were crazy about apricots, I would build a transparent rain cover for them, and take it off in about May.  The rainy springs we have here fill them with diseases.  Same with peaches and nectarines.  I like apricots, but I actually am crazy about peaches, and I have thought that as I dive into retirement, that could be the kind of project I would be able to do with a Frost Peach.

John S
PDX OR

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Rooney
429 Posts
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May 8, 2021 - 9:05 am

With the help of lining up a string of text from the original hard copies sent me on Dec. 2006, here is the link previously omitted that confirms my explanation:

effect about rootstock

The discovery of the post mark on the envelope helped me determine that this apricot planting in heavier soils occurred after 2006.

RE: >> that could be the kind of project I would be able to do with a Frost Peach

I've gone that far too John. I've had Frost peach die of leaf curl planted in my front yard without cover because of having purchased it in the latter 1990s on a 'St julien A' rootstock. Then years later my next Frost was on 'Citation'. It lasted much longer until the time it got too leggy (blind wood), but had good crops by then. 

I wanted to hit home on the point to avoid previously made mistakes of having too much faith in dwarfing rootstocks for stone fruits. (rootstock choices are very complex)

My "citation peach" having had crops isn't good data since it's only one tree and it had been sheltered 3-4 months under cover in each of every dormant cycle. -You have to remember that I'm in Vancouver Heights with fast soil percolation (ie sandy based soils). 

Other than all the finer details of roots etc; -this seems to be our season of leaf curl on many plums around.

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Crankyankee
Connecticut
48 Posts
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May 12, 2021 - 8:34 pm

Rooney, thanks for posting Mr. Purvis' response to me. It may be irrelevant though. I was out in the orchard spraying when I noticed that my only apricot, Pixie Cot, was dying.

pixicot.jpg

It was looking pretty good a few days ago. I have no idea what happened.

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Zone 6a in the moraines of eastern Connecticut.

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Rooney
429 Posts
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May 16, 2021 - 8:11 am

>> no idea what happened.

Sorry to see that. With age a tree either gains health or loses it. When losing it could be a cause of predation from soil borne diseases such as nematodes. Else-wise may what link I posted May 8 on the harm of using dwarfing rootstocks apply here? 

About 25 years ago I can remember the offering of 'pugetgold' apricot as ungrafted by Raintree nursery. They put them out for a dollar each and not for profit and as long as you were reputable they would giveaway more than just one. Feedback was expected and don't know if any ever came. 

I think I talked to Sam about this once and learning that apricots are hard to root so it seemed to fall into place for me that this was really a push from meetings Sam had with then nearly retired Dr. Anderson or others. And elsewhere there are reports that apricot roots tolerate specific nematodes better than all other rootstocks so to me it makes sense that apricots could perform better on apricots over any other rootstocks.

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