Choosing an Apricot tree

If you haven’t tasted an Apricot fresh from a tree you haven’t tasted an Apricot. Canberra is the perfect climate for most stone fruit as our dry summer makes them less vulnerable to fungal problems and they sweeten beautifully. So how do you choose which one to take home?

How much space do you have? A full size Apricot is around 3-4m but you will want to prune them to keep the fruit within easy reach. Give them space if you have it – they make good shade trees – but there are now dwarf varieties at 1.5-2m2 which produce full size fruit.

Good to know. Apricots are the exception to the rule – don’t prune them in Winter! They are very susceptible to fungal problems and pruning in Winter invites trouble. Prune them after they have fruited (around February/March) thinning out the branches and allowing plenty of air flow. Also aim to reduce the overall size to keep the fruit within reach.

Problems. It is rare to see one not affected by shothole (looks like it sounds with little holes in the leaf accompanied by freckles on the fruit) but this does not affect the fruit and is usually best ignored. Brown rot is more of an issue as it ruins the fruit from the inside. You can spray for this but if you can prevent it by ensuring you have good drainage and not over watering. Good pruning also helps minimise fungal problems but if you have a wet year you may get this regardless of your preparation. Make sure you pick up all the affected fruit and “cook” them in a black plastic bag or get them off the premises to prevent the problem returning next year.

So which variety? I can’t go past Moorpark but I’ve met plenty of Trevatt fans too. In a bad year Trevatt flowers may get knocked by a late frost where Moorpark is a later variety. We are usually eating the first few on Dad’s tree just after Christmas and right through January if the birds don’t get them first. Look for a straight, balanced tree with a strong root system and never look back.





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