Apricot rootstocks

lindsgardenDecember 27, 2011

I am planning on reserving a few apricots for spring shipment and have been agonizing about rootstocks. I am ok with some pruning (but it would be nice to avoid having to do a ton of summer pruning) and definitely do not want my trees to "runt out." I don't plan on letting the trees get taller than about 8 feet (well, maybe 10 ft in some cases), so perhaps Citation vs. Lovell is the way to go? Bearing fruit at a young age also sounds good.

Planting site: Full sun on a gentle southwest-facing slope. Soil is heavy clay on which drainage is probably not the best (will plant on a mound a foot or so high to improve access to oxygen during heavy rains).

Cultivars: Tomcot and Puget Gold (Raintree says P.G. is a natural semi-dwarf at 15'). Maybe one or two others to ensure pollination. Still tempted to try Robada and possibly Orangegold.

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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

I've been looking into the same topic for container planting. You may want to check out the "Krymsk 1" rootstock, as it seems to dwarf to 40-50% of standard size and can handle heavy soil (a raised mound is still a good idea though). Cummins has a few apricots on it (particularly some of the "Har" series), but not Tomcot. Let me know if you find a place which has Tomcot on that rootstock. Raintree sells the rootstock and Tomcot, but not together.

Description #1:
Is looking very good in the trials for peach, plum, nectarine, and apricots. Is very dwarfing at least 50%. Fruit size is very good better than Lovell on young trees. Some incompatibilities are reported in Spain with low chill nectarines. We have never seen any incompatibilities.
The rootstock is adaptable to many soil types including heavy soil. It does not resist stress well and can have a problem with transplant shock if not handled well. Requires good irrigation practices or the trees will be very dwarf. Seems susceptible to Pseudomonas. Good Yield efficiency.

Description #2:
Krymsk� 1 (VVA-1 cv) USPP#15,995 is a promising rootstock for both European and Japanese plums and perhaps apricots, offering tree vigor reduction and good fruit size. Some fruit size enhancement may occur. Krymsk 1 has root-knot nematode resistance and some resistance to lesion nematode. Anchorage is good. Some root suckers are produced. This rootstock has been in the 2001 and 2002 NC-140 peach rootstock trial showing promise as a peach rootstock with high yield efficiency and enhanced fruit size. However, compatibility with peaches and nectarines needs further investigation. Krymsk 1 is not likely a good rootstock for areas with high bacterial canker pressure.


    Bookmark   December 27, 2011 at 2:33PM
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Happened to find an old thread with some commentary on apricot rootstocks and growing habits.

I'm leaning towards getting my apricots on Citation if available to cut down on my pruning workload 5-6 years from now.

Here is a link that might be useful: Apricot fungus (shothole?) infection control - spreading

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 12:54PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


I've had very good results with apricot on Citation. I've kept mine at about 8-9 ft for many years. The real issue over time isn't the amount of summer pruning but renewal pruning. After 2-5 crops, depending on cultivar the spurs die or become too long. You end up chasing the good wood up the tree. Major cuts back to force new wood is about the only cure. But the tree sometimes doesn't sprout back low where you want.

Don't know why you'd go with Puget Gold. It's unlikely to have the eating quality of Robada. I'd also try Early Blush, Orangered, or Harcot over Puget Gold.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 1:04PM
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Fruitnut - Here's a quote from Scott from another recent apricot thread:


Lind, Orangered was bred in New Jersey but I have not personally heard of a single report of anyone who actually tried it in eastern conditions. Nearly all apricot varieties don't work very well where we live so I am somewhat doubtful on any variety besides Tomcot. I have Orangered but have not fruited it yet. I also have Robada and the same case applies. Some apricots that are at least worth considering are the "Har" series (I only tried Harglow and it was not super great tasting and cracked often but it did fruit) and Puget Gold. Some people like Jerseycot but it cracked and was bland for me, and it is hard to find these days. Tilton is another 'cot to consider, it is supposed to be very reliable but I have not tried it myself.


Scott is not that far from where I am at and I know he got apricots off of Puget Gold. I know he didn't get great fruit off of that tree, but I need a pollinator for Tomcot so I figure that if all the other apricots I try other than Tomcot are a total bust (and therefore get axed) then at least I will have two fruiting apricots that pollinate each other.

I'll probably try at least Robada for fun, but my expectations would be pretty low unless I hear a glowing report from another fruit grower in Maryland or Virginia.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 8:08PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I've had good results with Citation. Its very hardy which helps around here.

Puget Gold gets some sort of infection around here. I have Tomcot and a young Harogem (should fruit this year).

Puget Gold (you can see the brown spots...this tree is in full sun, and the Tomcots right next to it were perfect other then a few bug bites).

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 9:50PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Frank, that is peach scab, its the same problem I had on my Puget Gold. If it gets bad it runts out the fruits.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 11:59PM
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You mentioned that the real issue over time is renewal pruning (and major cutting back to force new growth).

Can you say a little more about how that plays into rootstock selection? Is it that you want a rootstock with enough vigor so that it will bounce back nicely when you have to do that major cutting back?

It sounds like you have not had a problem with your trees on Citation having sufficient vigor.

Thanks for all your posts! - Lindsgarden

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 8:46AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Citation with apricot has all the vigor I've needed and it seems most feel the same. More vigor probably won't help the spurs live longer or the tree's response to renewal pruning. More shading from a more vigorous top would likely shade out the lower spurs sooner.

Some varieties seem to drop spurs sooner. Cot-N-Candy is very bad. Two crops on a spur and it's toast. Robada and Tomcot are better, spurs living 5+ years but getting very long.

It could be that my issue is not pruning enough early on to keep some potential renewal wood down low. Not sure there but I'm working on that issue.

Have you noticed both Frank and Scott have major issues with Puget Gold? At least cots bred in your area shouldn't have that issue.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 9:11AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX


Just noticed your descriptions of Krymsk 1. I have about 6 years experience with that root under peach, nectarine, plum/pluot, and potted apricot. In general it's been a pretty good root. I'd plant it again for potted trees. Planted inground in my greenhouse the fruit has been mostly small but very sweet. This past year two trees, one nectarine and one pluot, showed symptoms of severe water stress. Some of the fruit was super, about 25-30 brix. But some was so water stressed that the fruit shriveled up and fell off the trees. As you may know I try for long term water deficit to enhance fruit quality. But these trees went too far. This root is less drought tolerant than Citation which Zaiger says lacks tolerance.

I cut the Krymsk trees back hard this winter hoping to balance top with root. I'll see if that gets these trees back on course. Extra water last year didn't seem to pull them out of the over stressed condition.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 10:04AM
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Just found an article on trials done near Blacksburg, VA . . . there is only a little info. on Harcot, but in the early-ripening category Rival and Goldrich come out looking really good. Based on this, Rival may be winning out over Puget Gold now.

Here is a link that might be useful: 1988 - 1995 Apricot Variety Evaluations in Virginia

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 10:07AM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Lind, that is an interesting link I had not seen before. While it has some very good data, they are using a 14-day spray schedule all summer so it is not an evaluation for backyard growers. I have heard many horrors from people trying to grow Blenheim in their eastern backyards and they mention no problems in that document, so its hard to say which of those will work and which will not.

Please try Rival or Goldrich and let us know how it works :-) I may try a couple more apricots this year, I am still looking for a later complement to Tomcot which tolerates a minimal spray program. Last year I added Orangered and Robada. I keep thinking about trying Tilton or more of the Har-series, but the flavor quality is a notch down so my motivation to try them is low -- when I go through the effort in my backyard, I want top-quality taste!


    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 9:34PM
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Fruitnut - Thanks for the info. on spurs and the peach scab on Puget Gold does seem to be a trend now.

Scott - Thanks for the heads up on Blenheim! I saw that 14-day spray schedule and I'm a bit wary off choosing trees off of any one source. There doesn't seem to be a ton of data out there about what works here other than Tomcot and Puget Gold (sounds mediocre). Tilton sounded good but I want to stick to early-ripeners to avoid the greater insect and brown rot pressure. I'll happily dry fruit to eat later in the summer.

New List of Apricots to Try:
Definite - Tomcot
Top Maybes - Rival, Goldrich (sold by both ACN and Boyers I noticed . . .), Robada, Orangered, Early Blush (can't find a source for this one as ACN is out)

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 7:46AM
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Just found this old thread with a post by Jellyman (who is near DC) with more good info.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomcot Apricot Pollination

    Bookmark   January 11, 2012 at 7:27AM
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I am thinking of planting a Tomcot in 2013, based on good reports of it here on Gardenweb. I need something drought tolerant, since my soil is sandy, so tends to dry out easily. We are on the edge of zones 3 and 4, so need something hardy. I also have a Westcot and a Sugar Pearls for pollination. Is Citation the rootstock I should look for? If so, does anyone know where they sell Tomcot on Citation rootstock? I realize I may only get a crop every third year or so, but that is better than nothing. Thanks for your help. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 1:23AM
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I too am ordering a Tomcot for this spring. My 'Harglo' is on Krymnsk 1 ! Sends up a few suckers which is a pain. But the trunk is large and substantial. Strong stock!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 9:46AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Krymsk 1 has been less drought tolerant for me than Citation, notably less. I've taken out two trees partly for that reason and have two more on watch. They had great fruit last year as a result of the extra water deficit. Brix of 24-35+. But the pluot on one tree were so water stressed they shriveled up and fell off at 35+ brix.

If you want drought tolerant something like Lovell or Viking would be better. Citation has been tolerant enough for me to get very high brix. But the water deficit needs to come on gradually to allow the tree time to adjust.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 10:05AM
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Fruitnut and Mrs. G.,
Thanks for the input. Are Lovell or Viking tolerant of cold? It can hit -30F. every few years here. I wish I knew what rootstocks are on my other two apricot trees. The Sugar Pearls was from Gurneys and the Westcot from Fedco, as I recall. Northwoodswis

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 4:48PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

Citation has taken -24F and came through just fine. It really is an excellent rootstock (I grow in what is basically beach sand/just make sure you mulch). My guess is Lovell can handle that or colder. I've never had die back on any peach trunk (i've had branches die back) since 2006. You may be able to call or email and ask? I had what was some sort of California peach (came from WalMart) that grew in my backyard garden bed. Let it go and it became a monster. It even fruited, but PLC was so bad that it lost all of its leaves. Very little dieback even with the temp hitting -22F. I think snowcover really plays a big role in all of this.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 5:20PM
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I had a Baby crawford on Citation... The Baby Crawford graft died... but the Citation rootstock has grown out with wreckless abandon... It's a Peach/plum hybrid - so I am going to let it flower and see what it tastes like before I top work it....

Growth habit wise - It would remind you of an American Plum the way it suckers out from the roots and sprouts new tops all over the place... It will sucker like wildfire if you put a shovel into the ground near the roots....


    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 8:05AM
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Why not bury the graft-union and severely prune every few years? I bet the tree will live much longer on its roots... After reading that apricot on K-1 requires a good irrigation program, all the more so.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:47AM
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Wholly Cow I had some spots on my Apricots too I have one tree Blenheim Apricot and the I don't know what the others are. I got advice from some Apricot guru. Prune very well and I don't let any trees to go over 8 feet. The tree has to be in a vaze shape. Apply anti-fungal spray, I must applied 10 times starting from the bud swell and every 10 days. I was able to save some last season even the season was unusual heat and rain. I think fungus does all these things and does it to my peach too. I Got some fancy sprayers and I am ready for it this year.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 2:48PM
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