Old Apricot tree

Hoss18May 20, 2012

Last year my wife and I bought a house with a rather large,sickly looking tree in the backyard. An arborist told me it was an apricot, which really shouldn't be here, much less as large as this one. He also said it was dying and wouldn't produce anymore. Sure enough, it leafed out last year and we saw no fruit. The leaves looked sickly and full of holes.

I decided to prune some of the lower, clearly dead branches, and would see what happened. This year, parts of the tree are looking robust, with nice leaves and a handful of fruits. My neighbors found the fruits laying in their yard after I trimmed the part overhanging their driveway. We looked more closely, and saw that the tree has a number of small apricots, mostly in the upper, healthier looking parts of the tree.

But the holes in the leaves are back. Having done a lot of research on the web over the past few days, I find myself wondering if this tree is more sick than dying. It looks like its got shot hole for sure, and it clearly hasn't been pruned properly in many, many years as there are branches all throughout the center and crossing, basically it's a hot mess.

My question is, can an old tree like this be restored? My house is two stories with a short attic and the tree is as tall as the house. It stretches more than twenty five feet across and is about 24" in diameter. What should I do to find out more about restoring it?

Any suggestions appreciated.

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Oh, we live North of Chicago in Zone 5. And the diameter is just below where the arms branch out, about three feet off the ground.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 12:14AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

It does sound like shot-hole and that can indeed be treated. Post some pictures if you want a more certain diagnosis. Shot hole is not easy to treat but if you work at it it can be done. The main thing is spray copper just as the leaves are coming off in the fall, and again just before they emerge in the spring. It will be a challenge to spray a large tree, if you do it yourself you need a backpack sprayer with a long extension wand. Online stores like Gemplers will sell such stuff if you can't find it locally.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 8:28AM
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Don't believe them when they say you can't grow apricots in the Chicago area. You don't get fruit every year when the weather doesn't cooperate, but even with this year's freezes, there are fruits on the trees here.

A house about a block away from me has an old sickly apricot that I would love to restore. It fruits almost every year, and the cots drop to the sidewalk.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 9:55AM
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