Fall planted young apricot doesn't show any life signs

galinasApril 15, 2014

I planted Canada cultivated Harglow hardy apricot last fall - it came from online store bare root in dormant state. The plant was in a good shape. We had a pretty harsh winter. Now my 5 years old peach tree is breaking buds, 4 years old sour cherry almost has its leaves out, and apricot doesn't show any signs of life. In your opinion, how much longer should I wait before I call the store for warranty replacement? I am afraid to miss a spring window and get to square one in fall again.

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Are the buds swollen at at all? Its still a little early in your zone. I'm in zone 6b-7a and replaced a Harglow last year as well. It is fine and about to bloom for the first time. The buds on my Tomcot are swollen as well. Try pruning a tip off of a small branch and see if it is green. That will be your first sign. If its a whip I don't really know what to say, but maybe wait another week. Even with a replacement you'll be out a year anyway. Ugh, don't you hate when this happens? Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:00AM
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Even if established apricots in your area are past bloom and leafing out, it would not be surprising that your bare root tree is behind.

You can use the fingernail scratch test -- look for moist green layer under bark -- to see if the upper parts are still alive. Of course it is the roots you are depending on, but it is a good bet that the whole thing is fine.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:04AM
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No, buds are not swollen at all. Whole plant looks like a stick(. It is a "professionally pruned" tree that came as one vertical stick and two pencil diameter and length single branches. So really only part I can cut will be very top. Not sure if it is good... I understand I will be a year off if I replant now, but fall planting also more prone to freezing out next winter( if I wait till fall... So I am kind of in a grrrr state)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:11AM
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I almost did that scratching test, but stopped myself, thinking it may be not good for the young tree. i will try it, thanks!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:22AM
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I agree with Fab, give it another week; after this cold front passes through. It is a whip, Fab, mentions the fingernail test, he is right, that will not hurt your young tree and might stop the grrrrrrr. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:22AM
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john222-gg(Mississippi 8a/8b)

My season is way ahead of yours. I now have a peach tree that I call mister lucky. Out of all my new trees it would not show any sine of growth I was thinking of pulling it and planting something in it's place. My wife kept saying I was not giving it a chance. The tree I wanted to replace it with I could not locate it in my area. I left the peach alone now it is growing like crazy. Now I call it mister lucky.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:25AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Scratch test should not hurt anything, give it a go. Note that if the tree is green it still could fail over the next months, stone fruits sometimes get stuck in this no mans land of enough energy to hang on but not enough to actually push out any leaves. Or it could get over the barrier and push leaves and make it.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 12:20PM
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This is why I now have two Harglows. My fall-planted tree looked totally dead in the spring after everything else was budding out. I ordered a new one. By the time it arrived, the first tree was showing signs of life.

Murphy likes to have his fun.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 12:57PM
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alan haigh

Bear in mind that there is no truly hardy apricot for the cold humid regions, as far as I know, although Alfred hasn't failed me yet. Harglow and others in the Harrow Station series certainly have. I can only speak for sites in the southern NY area, though.

Usually when they are winter killed they pass the green test and flower nicely but then die.

Did you mulch the tree in well?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 1:48PM
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Thank you everybody for responses!
I will try to respond to everybody in one post.

ltilton, I have no way to have two of them - I will have to destroy another tree for it) Otherwise I would plant 5, not one)

Harvestman, I decided to go with harglow because appricot in my yard has to meet several requirements: it has to be dwarf due to the space issue, survive in zone 5b, be somewhat resistant to bacterial canker, and have stone-free fruit for canning. Only apricot I could find that meets all of it(at least in description) was canadian ones - harglow and another one I forgot, but I couldn't find it dwarf. I planted my apricot on the hill, to avoid "wet feet", and I mulched it pretty well with shredded leaves. But we had a week or two around 15F with out a single snowflake, so not sure how leaves could substitute the snow cover. I will research Alfred and see if it fits...

john222-gg, I promise to call it the same as soon it shows first sign of life)

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 2:18PM
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I'm in zone 5a, and my Chinese/Mormon apricots aren't woken up yet. I'm certain they're fine, they've been through a few winters and were half covered with snow. It's just been cold!

I won't start to worry for another couple weeks, at least. Hey, if they hold off blooming, I might get fruit this year!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 4:42PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I have had the experience that Hman mentioned. My Surefire cherry from Starks just put out a few yellow leaves about a foot up. It was alive, but that was it. It didn't make it through the next winter and it was replaced.

If I were you I would contact the company and ask their advice.

Stark told me to wait and see if it lived. They did have on record my concerns from the first year with an agreement it would be replaced if it didn't survive the next winter. In effect I lost 2 years because they were sold out by the time I had determined it was dead.

I have not had good luck with fall planted trees. The discrepancy in dormancy when shipped and my own trees' dormancies might be barely visible but it makes a huge difference for the tree. Even being a week behind can put a tree under.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 8:09PM
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OK, I will wait for two more weeks and already contacted Stark, I bought it there as well... Some how I am not happy to see the story about your cherry, bought at the same place(.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 8:39PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

The replacement tree has done very well, so don't give up yet.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 12:10AM
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Be patient, your fall planting has probably seriously screwed the tree up and it is going to take some time to figure out that spring is here and it can grow. I recall a thread last year from someone who had a fall-planted ornamental Prunus, and they were worried when it didn't leaf out with other trees in the spring, but eventually it did leaf out and grow.

As for the +15*F temps hurting a Cdn grown apricot, no chance. We hit -25*F every winter, -35*F most winters, and many apricots do fine. They bloom very early so often flowers are nipped by late spring frosts so most years they don't set fruit successfully, but the trees still do fine.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:39AM
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Don, thanks for the hope you give me)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 7:53AM
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