Pollination of Apricot and/or Plum?

scuzzynuttyJune 29, 2012

I was at Lowes today and they have two fruit trees grafted into one. Blue Damson Plum and a Puget Gold Apricot. On the label it said, "One of these requires cross-pollination". I looked up both fruit varieties and it appears that they are self-fertile. Can anyone confirm that?

I don't want to buy the tree, stick it in the ground and it never bears fruit.

Please let me know as I'd like to go back tonight to get the tree if possible. Thanks.

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steve_in_los_osos

Dave Wilson nursery lists both as "self-fruitful". Raintree lists the apricot as "self-fruitful". They don't carry the plum.

"Typically" apricots are self-fruitful while plums often require pollinators. However, both Sunset and and Ortho book on fruit trees lists damson plums as self-fertile.

So.....

Seems like an odd combo, the growth habits of the two being so different.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 7:02PM
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alan haigh

I should mention that apricots are not reliably self fruitful in cooler climates.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 7:12PM
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scuzzynutty

I live in Southern California. Looks like the Damson plum has 600 chill hours which is pretty high. Not sure how well it'd do here. Was attractive cuz it was a big tree on clearance for $9.99!

Might settle for the goldkist apricot and santa rose plum both of which have low chill requirements, any thoughts on this combo?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 7:19PM
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steve_in_los_osos

Those would be a reliable choice. The Puget Gold apricot also has a high chill requirement (somewhere around 800 hr). Couple that with the early bloom and you're almost sure to fail. Better to stick to the lower chill varieties.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2012 at 8:34PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

"One of these requires cross-pollination".Isn't that something that they'd print that and not give any more information.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 12:12AM
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Woodyorch

If you aren't yet set on a franken-fruit, why not a beautiful Blenheim apricot, and plant a good old Santa Rosa plum separately, or if space is limited, get the plumbs at the local produce stand. Many decent California-grown plums, of different varieties are available seasonally here for reasonable prices but good apricots are hard to find, and spectacular apricots are impossible to find. In the early 60's I was a little kid with my first garden. And in it I had a Blenheim, but then so did many other people at that time. In fact, the local stores all carried them seasonally, because California grew thousands of acres of them. It is only my humble opinion, but grown in Southern California, this variety is hands-down the most spectacular tasting apricot you can grow. It's color is deep orange, they are very sweet, and juicy more like a peach. They have been lost to local consumers for many years now, centrally because real estate values made supply chains longer, and Blenheim's soft skin an high juice volume means they store and ship poorly.
Now for the good part . .
150 or less chill hours, self fertile, big crops like clockwork in this climate, and with very little work they become beautiful trees providing great dappled shade&light for the more sensitive creatures in the understory.
Just a thought . .

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 7:07PM
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rasputinj

I live in Ventura county, for Apricots, Gold Kist, Blenheim, Royal Rosa all grow well. Santa Rosa, Methley, Beauty, Burgundy are all excellent also. If you have room put in a Pluot they are excellent.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 1:07AM
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scuzzynutty

Thanks for the responses. Well, i went back and someone already bought it. Doesn't matter, after reading the 600-800 hr chill requirements, I figured it might not be good. I certainly will consider the Benheim apricot as a separate tree. I just thought it'd be kind of cool to have two different fruit growing out of one tree...maybe it's not all that exciting?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 2:56AM
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Woodyorch

RE "I just thought it'd be kind of cool to have two different fruit growing out of one tree...maybe it's not all that exciting?"

Don't get me wrong . . when I used the term Frankenfuit - I was just funning with you.
Combined grafts can be either great or not so great depending entirely on the varieties put together. The combination you mentioned just seemed odd because traditionally the two trees would grow a bit differently, and they have different tolerances and sensitivities to certain pests and diseases in our local growing environment.

Here are some observations to consider:
The Blenheim apricot pictured earlier is only in it's second fruiting season, and is already 16'tall regardless of prunings for bearing strength and shape. It produced a crop of 2 dozen fruit the first season, and over 350 this season. On the other hand, the nectaplum, peaches, and plumbs planted at the same time are all about 20-30% smaller trees. They also maintain their blooms longer, are slower to mature their fruit, and have smaller fruit loads than the apricot. They look quite different too. The apricot seems immune to nearly everything that the plumbs and peaches have suffered from - like powdery mildew. This long cool spring/summer has been challenging for them. The Blenheim couldn't care less.

If you love the idea of a combo fruit, I say go for it, and keep in mind there are good and bad combinations for many reasons besides the examples of growth habit, fruit weight, and pest/disease resistance given.

You might also consider combining in a different way.
For instance, if an apple or guava variety requires a pollinating mate, but space is limited, you can place the two trees in the same planting hole to grow together. This scheme works well with other species too. I have cherries growing this way, and the combination is compact, beautiful, and easy to maintain. Some species do not like combined rooting though, so you will need to keep this in mind.

I hope this adds a few more ideas to your toolkit.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 5:58PM
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scuzzynutty

Thanks for the detailed reply woodyorch and ideas. I saw a goldkist apricot and a santa rose plum tree attached to the same trunk. My wife thought it looked weird because the leaves were so different. We didn't end up getting it although i'm still wondering if it'd be a good combo.

Sounds like apricots produce a lot of fruit, which would be great.

I'm thinking I might have to work on my soil a bit first before planting more fruit trees, I have really clayish soil and I just bought a bunch of compost from this place

http://www.serranocreeksoils.com/

hoping that it will do something, but will probalby take several months at least. Trying to figure out how to get earthworms to multiply, i'm sure that would help a lot!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 3:03AM
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Woodyorch

There's a lot of useful elements locked up in your soil. Mulch certainly, sand possibly. A good hand or drainage test will tell you. I see the bagged mulch is pretty cheap at the link you posted, but not fortified. We're fortunate here to have great local stuff at any home improvement store. You might find the following links related to Kellogg interesting.
H. Clay Kellogg really knew his Oranges in the heart of Orange County at a time when it really mattered. The Kellogg family home in Santa Ana California is run by a foundation today, and open to the public.
http://www.kellogggarden.com/kellogg_garden_products_about_us

http://heritagemuseumoc.org/the-kellogg-family/

Another few spots worth stopping if close:

Orange County Farm Supply for broad selection of more exotic compost and other items not usually stocked elsewhere - fun to see anyway.
H&H Nursery up in Lakewood. They have a great selection of fruit trees, and many other things at great prices. While everyone else is stocking only dwarf citrus these days, H&H has many standards and simi dwarfs also. I found a beautiful Macadamia nut tree there, sourced from LaVerne - a local grower with excellent stock. Every Laverne
variety I have ever planted has been vigorous and productive.
http://www.lavernenursery.com/

Best,

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 11:42PM
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