How to Propagate an Apricot Tree
Apricots are being grown all over the United States. Originally from China, the little stubby tree bears small fruits that fall off when they are ripe and quickly deteriorate. Botanists are experimenting from Alaska to Hawaii with growing the apricot tree under various conditions, trying to develop hardy traits for each area. If you find one growing near you, take the time to propagate it and within a few years, you could be enjoying your own fresh apricots.
Find a softwood branch on the apricot tree in the early summer. This is the wood that grew last year and now has had a chance to harden off. Take a six- to eight-inch section and cut it cleanly just after a bud (leaving the bud on the tree) slicing across in a 45-degree angle. Make sure your knife or pruning shear is sterile.
Set the cutting in a container of water to keep the cut doesn't from drying out. Get several cuttings to make sure at least one roots. This type of propagation is rarely 100 percent successful. Remove any leaves on the bottom three inches of the cutting.
Prepare a container to root the cutting in. It will need to be at least four inches deep and either wide enough to hold several cuttings at two inches apart or small enough for one cutting per container. Fill it up with the mixture of half wet peat moss and half sand. Apricots need well-draining soil–they should never sit in soggy soil. Poke a hole in the soil about three inches deep.
Dip the damp cutting into tree rooting hormone powder and then directly into the prepared rooting container. Press the soil mixture around the stem of the cutting. Place the container in a high-humidity environment, like a greenhouse if you have one or by placing it in a clear plastic bag.
Watch the cutting for the next four to six weeks for signs of new growth. Keep it out of the direct sun and make sure it stays moist. After four weeks of growing, the roots should be developed enough for transplanting. Plant it in a larger pot, keeping as much of the soil around the roots as possible. Typically, rooted cuttings are not planted directly into the soil outside in the orchard until they have grown for one year in a pot.
- Pruning shears
- Tree rooting hormone powder
- Peat moss-sand mixture (50-50)
- Planting pot
- Plastic bag