All apricot tree varieties are self-fertile, so a gardener can easily plant one tree and have maximum fruit production. Apricot trees grow in areas that have cold winters, but fruiting is often less than ideal because early frosts kill spring blossoms. A few cultivars offer a later blossoming season and are more suited for cold climates. Trees are available in standard varieties which grow approximately 10 feet in height and dwarf sizes. The apricot tree produces more fruit when allowed to grow as a bush versus a single-trunked tree.
Plant apricot trees in the fall areas with mild winters, and in the early spring in areas where the winter is extreme. Choose a location that offers full sunlight.
Prepare the soil prior to planting by mixing organic matter at a ratio of 50 percent peat moss, bark chips or leaf debris with 50 percent garden soil. The planting location should be well-draining. The apricot tree can easily perish if planted in standing water or areas prone to flooding. Grafted apricot trees should have the bulb union/graft site planted away from the afternoon sunlight. Full-sized apricot trees should have a minimum of 25 feet between them, and dwarf varieties should be spaced 8 feet apart.
Apply a 3-to-4-inch layer of mulch around the apricot tree to keep the weeds back and maintain the soil's moisture during the heat of summer. Peat moss, bark chips or recycled plastic mulches are ideal.
Prune the apricot tree or bush after the flower petals have fallen. Prune the tree or bush into a vase shape. By maintaining an open center, sunlight and air can reach the tree---which helps prevent fungal infections and improve fruit production.
Fertilize the apricot tree using 12-16-12. Apply 1 oz. of fertilizer for every square yard around the tree's base. Begin fertilizing when the tree is two years old. Apply fertilizer in the spring.
Thin fruit clusters when the fruit is still relatively small and measures less then 1 inch in size. Each cluster should contain three or four fruits.
Harvest the fruit when fully ripe and the skin is a brilliant dark peach color. The skin of the fruit should have a slight give when pressed. Harvesting takes place in either July or August, depending on what region of the country the tree is planted in and which cultivar it is.