Apricot trees originate from the Mediterranean region and grow best in areas that do not have frost. They are self-fertile and don't need to cross-pollinate, meaning they can be planted singly. Pruning apricot trees will increase their strength, control the size, allow for better sunlight exposure, create a healthy crop of fruit and remove undesirable wood. The goal is to remove 20 percent of last year's growth.
Cut off the shoots and buds of apricot trees when they are young. This is when most of the major pruning should occur because, even though it won't bear fruit for the first three years, the tree will produce a better crop when it matures.
Prune apricot trees during the dormant season, when the leaves are gone. It will be easier for you to see the tree's shape and clip off dormant buds.
Top vertical branches to promote more growth and open the tree to increased exposure to sunlight. Cut off the branch within 1/4 inch of the last bud.
Cut off the ends of horizontal branches if you want to thin excessive fruit or renew the wood. If you leave them uncut, the fruit will grow earlier and heavier.
Remove branches that bend toward the ground, as well as branches that cross each other. Clip them where they meet the center stem, at the V-shaped joint.
Follow diseased, damaged or cracked limbs until they meet a healthy branch. Cut them at that point to remove them.