Problem With Apricot Trees

Overview

Apricot trees are fast-growing trees that generally live for 20 to 30 years. They require minimal care and are relatively disease resistant. Most problems encountered are the result of environmental conditions or poor care. Applying some basic care techniques and monitoring for insects can go a long way toward fulfilling its expectations.

Overcrowding

Apricot trees that are not pruned at regular intervals can become overcrowded. Branches that cross over and rub against one another can cause wounds which can attract insects or harbor disease. Vertical growth of inner branches can block sunlight and air circulation to the more desirable horizontal branches. Excessive foliage on these branches also drains water and nutrients away from the rest of the tee. Pruning every three years to maintain a scaffold appearance will make the apricot tree more productive and healthier.

Pests

A number of pests are attracted to apricot trees including aphids, mites and Japanese beetles, but the most damaging is the peach tree borer. It overwinters and feeds on the bark of the tree. The larvae burrow into the tree wood and cause damage, reducing the tree's fruiting ability. An insecticide applied twice a year to the trunk from the lowest branches to ground level should be effective in controlling the peach tree borer.

Disease

The most common disease affecting apricot trees is Coryneum Blight, or "shot-hole" disease. It leaves brownish spots on the surface of fruit, making it unattractive to eat, though it is safe to eat. It also causes cankers on branches and twigs. A fungicide applied after petal fall and again in the autumn when the leaves have fallen can help control the spread of the fungus. No other major diseases are of concern to apricot tree owners.

Environmental Conditions

Apricots typical bloom very early in spring and can suffer from a frost which kills the blooms or even the very young fruit. Though adaptable to warm climates, apricot trees also prefer cooler climates. Excessive heat can stress the tree, leaving open to attack from insects or disease. They need regular, deep watering but do like to have their roots in standing water.

Pollination

Due to the tendency to bloom early, apricots not only lose some of the bloom and subsequently their fruit to frost, but the cooler, damper conditions of early spring are not compatible with bee activity. If conditions persist for a week or two, it is conceivable that bees will not be available to pollinate the apricot blossoms. The result is little to no fruit production that year and little can be done to circumvent this problem.

Keywords: apricot trees, problems, disease

About this Author

Theresa Leschmann has been writing since 2005. Her work has appeared in the "Southern Illinois Plus" and on numerous websites. She is a property manager who writes about gardening, home repair, business management, travel and arts and entertainment topics. She is pursuing an associate's degree in English from Oakton Community College.