Summer pruning the aprium

ltiltonJuly 20, 2013

Time to work on this tree. The rootstock, alas, is something "semi-dwarf", one of the great oxymorons. So I need to keep it pruned back to where I can reach the fruit.

I also want to make sure I maximize next year's fruit production and not cut off more fruiting branches than I need to.

Any tips?

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Wishing I could get mine to grow....let alone fruit! They bear fruit on spurs of older (2-3 yrs or more) wood. Visualize where these are and prune accordingly.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 2:49PM
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Last year it had a promising number of fruits and I was really hoping for a larger crop this year, but it bloomed very sparsely. I want to make sure that doesn't happen again.

Right now I'm thinking I might save some of the abundant sprouts to graft them next spring to the plum tree I don't like much.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 2:53PM
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alan haigh

And what is the disadvantage of waiting until early spring? I'm really not at all knowledgeable about the relative hardiness of apriums and how they perform in a Z5 but this would be the worst time to prune if there is any concern about hardening off for winter in time. It would be similar to applying a heavy dose of nitrogen and probably would encourage a flush of late, tender growth.

Does this variety have any history of performing well where you are under any circumstances? I have enough trouble with apricots in my humid Z6.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 6:25AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


If I remember, I think this aprium is growing in or near Chicago...which if he's close enough to the lake, is going to stay pretty mild (frost free) probably well into Oct... On top of that, I don't recall the last time Chicago has had a subzero winter reading... I think pruning now probably wouldn't hurt anything... I'm still doing it!!!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 9:32AM
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The tree is overly vigorous. My understanding is that major heading back is best done in summer, when it's less likely to promote rampant new growth. I usually cut back the stone fruits after fruiting. I don't want fruit growing above the point I can reach it from the ladder.

I've never had a problem with winter cold weather harming new growth. Sometimes the cots do get caught in the spring with a late frost, but that wasn't what happened this year. The tree just didn't much bloom.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 9:50AM
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alan haigh

Apricots are very tender trees for me, much more so than any other species I grow. That is why I suggest caution, but as I said, I have no knowledge of apriums whatsoever.

A site that never gets a subzero reading would be a 7, wouldn't it? Don't have a chart with me, but when my average low was about -12 I considered my zone to be Z5 which I thought was what you were in.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 5:40PM
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iirc the region is now considered Z6. At any rate, I decided to act as if it were and give the more tender fruits a try.

We do get a subzero night once or twice in a winter, but nothing much below zero. I can't recall a -12 lately. This is a great change from what it used to be.

I think the aprium is something like 8 years old and never had any freezing problems in winter. The Harglows are a couple years younger, and they've survived without problems either.

Getting fruit can be a crapshoot, but the vegetative aspects haven't caused problems.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 7:59PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I'm almost done with apricots. I got rid of 2 trees, and i have 2 left. Both of those have several grafted plums on them. I plan on keeping a branch of Tomcot and one of Hunza for pollination purposes... I do like the idea of crossing them with other stonefruit..

I cut back my Hunza by 50% or more today...this being a 6 year old tree, that was a lot of wood. I'll see how it pulls through. Its on Citation and has Superior plum/Satsuma plum grafted onto it.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 8:20PM
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alan haigh

I wouldn't know how fragile apricots are if I only grew them in my own orchard. Strange thing is they die in what should be better sites than mine after mild winters and no explanatory weather events. I lost 6 trees at five different sites this spring.

What bothers them at my site is where they don't get early morning sun and suffer what I assume to be bacterial spot. It weakens them enough that they usually don't bear well even when spring is kind.

I've finally established a tree right against a southeastern wall of my house and I have unlimited, totally delicious apricots this year. It's an Alfred- small fruit, but quite delicious. I'm planting an Orange-red against the same wall this fall. Cut down an Elephant Heart plum to make room.

Your lows sound about like mine.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 8:24PM
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frank - I'm giving serious thought to cutting back the Beauty plum to graft Flavor Delight onto it.

What I can't grow at all are nectarines. Which I would greatly love to have.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 9:23PM
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