Although most of the nation’s apricots come from commercial growers and producers, these tasty fruits make nice selections for the home gardener or hobby orchardist. Apricot trees prefer moderate climates that rarely experience damp weather or cold frosts in the springtime. Apricot trees reach a mature size around 25 feet, making them a useful landscape plant as well as a source of fresh fruit. Proper care of your apricot trees encourages an abundance of fruit for snacking or canning.
Keep the weeds away from your apricot trees. Lay a weed-block fabric over the roots of your young apricot trees to eliminate weeds that rob the soil of nutrients. Leave an open circle of 5 to 6 inches between the apricot trees’ trunks and the surrounding weed block. Don’t allow the weed block to touch the trunks. This fabric will also help hold in moisture during times of drought.
Prune your apricot trees to remove the central leader shortly after planting. Use sharp pruning shears to cut the tallest branch from the center of the tree. Cut this branch about 2 inches above its last side branch. This will cause the side branches to form an open, rounded appearance, suitable for quality fruit production. Prune off any branches that grow vertical or cross over other branches, causing crowding in the canopy. Remove branches that form angles tighter than 45 degrees between the trunk and the branch. Cut off branches that appear directly opposite one another on the trunk, leaving only one branch at any given level along the trunk.
Feed your apricot trees in the spring with a solution that contains urea. Apply this fertilizer, according to the package instructions, before you irrigate your trees in the spring. Feed them during the warm summer months with a diluted solution of fertilizer, providing about 1/4 the amount as the initial spring feeding.
Water your trees thoroughly to ensure adequate amounts of water for blossoming and fruit formation. Soak your mature trees once each week to the level of the roots. Do not allow the root balls to dry out during the growing season.
Spray your apricot trees with a fine mist of insecticide and fungicide spray each year. Use a spray listed for use on fruit trees and apply to the branches in late fall. Apply spray treatments during calm, dry days to avoid uneven distribution.