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apricot tree question

 
Risa Sibbitt
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So our apricot tree bloomed early this year in zone 3 of montana. A ton of beautiful flowers in May. BUT NO LEAVES THEN. then all the flowers died and it looked like a dead tree, then the tree grew leaves in June. I don't see any fruit. We didn't get fruit last year either. 3 years ago, we received a lot of fruit and it's a mature tree.

Will we ever get fruit? Is this a common thing?
June is our wettest month and we did not even get an inch of rain this june. We also had record breaking heat of 103. Are all these factors? We don't water except for rain/ground water.
Thanks in advance
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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It is common in my climate for apricots to flower very early, and then for the weather to turn extra cold and freeze the flowers/fruit. This year, there are approximately ZERO apricots in my valley as a result of an early spring frost. My tree is a more reliable producer than the neighbors, because mine typically flowers about 10 days later, but this year both trees are devoid of fruit. Long term, we loose all the fruit about 1 year in 4 on my trees.
 
Seva Tokarev
Posts: 77
Location: Minnesota, zone 4, loamy sand
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From http://www.cals.uidaho.edu/edcomm/pdf/BUL/BUL0867.pdf:

[quote]Apricots are usually hardy throughout Idaho’s zone 3 and 4
regions, but that does not mean all gardeners in these areas
will be successful in growing a consistent crop of fruit.
Apricots bloom very early, and the most difficult aspect of
apricot production in Idaho’s short-season, high-altitude
regions is the loss of blossoms due to spring frost.
Consequently, choosing varieties that are hardy, but also lateblooming,
is essential (table 2). Even the hardiest varieties
may not bear every year in Idaho’s zone 3 or 4 areas.
[/quote]

I was surprised apricots even grow in zone 3.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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You are right on the cusp of being able to grow apricots in Zone 3.
Unfortunately the only sure fire way to get a crop of this early bloomer is to have either in a conservatory (giant green house) or build a removable frame work for a hoop house type of temporary enclosure.
If your tree blooms and the pollinators are able to do their job, you would need to then cover it until the last frost has past and the soil is warming.
The biggest problem you most likely have is the current changing weather patterns, Your state is in the edge of the new drought zone that is emerging.
If you are willing to do the things that are going to be needed to get the fruit, you can have great years of apricot bearing.
 
Risa Sibbitt
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do you know if it's common to produce all the flowers before the leaves? That was a first for me.
 
Seva Tokarev
Posts: 77
Location: Minnesota, zone 4, loamy sand
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Risa Sibbitt wrote:do you know if it's common to produce all the flowers before the leaves? That was a first for me.


My 3 young apricot trees flowered before having any leaves, and now bear some fruit. They did not stay bare though.

I know some trees behave like that, some species of birch for instance.
 
Cristo Balete
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Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Risa, I don't think this year, 2015, gave much in the way of chill hours for fruit west of the Rockies. It was way too hot, way too soon, and the flowering should have happened before the leafing out, but my trees west of you leafed out in two stages, barely blossoming in the spring, blossoming a bit more in mid summer, which is way too late. My apricots have always been fussy. Don't worry about it. One year out of the life of a 20-year old tree is no big deal. But we may not have much choice in the matter. all we can do is keep the trees healthy. I gave mine extra nitrogen to get some more roots and branches, and maybe next year the cold winter will help.
 
Ann Torrence
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Apricots in the valley bloomed early then froze. Getting apricots 2 years in a row is unusual here because of late frosts
The tree does flower first, then leaf out.
Consider that it is banking all that energy for next year's crop. If we are lucky
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Risa Sibbitt wrote:do you know if it's common to produce all the flowers before the leaves? That was a first for me.


It is normal for apricot trees and cherry trees to flower first, then leaves come out rapidly. Pear, peach and plum trees will get leaves started then bloom just as the leaves are growing to full size, apple trees leaf out then bloom
 
Andrew Parker
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Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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My dad grew an apricot tree against the South face of our house (a crude espalier). It always bloomed early, but he would hang a sheet of plastic up if a cold snap threatened, which it almost always did. We lost a few fruit each year to frost, but it allowed the survivors to grow large, sweet and juicy.
 
Jessica Padgham
Posts: 94
Location: Denver, Co 6000ft bentonite clay soil
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Does anyone know what the actual temperature threshold is for damaging flowers and fruit? We have an apricot (we think) that managed to flower for the first time in the three years we have lived in this house. Just as it was starting the temp went down to 30F overnight and that did not seem to do any damage. It's been blooming beautifully and buzzing with bees for about two weeks now and the weather is threatening to turn much colder. The tree is much too big to cover so I'm wondering what my chances are of actually getting some fruit this year.
 
Roger Fergus
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Location: NW WA
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Jessica Padgham wrote:Does anyone know what the actual temperature threshold is for damaging flowers and fruit? We have an apricot (we think) that managed to flower for the first time in the three years we have lived in this house. Just as it was starting the temp went down to 30F overnight and that did not seem to do any damage. It's been blooming beautifully and buzzing with bees for about two weeks now and the weather is threatening to turn much colder. The tree is much too big to cover so I'm wondering what my chances are of actually getting some fruit this year.

You could try covering a couple branches to get fruit off of at least them. I'm not sure if that would prevent them from getting frozen. But you might as well try. (and maybe post the results of your experiment )
 
Casie Becker
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Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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If you have old style christmas lights (not LED, probably not mini) you can try wrapping the branches with that to help heat them. I keep one strand on hand for just this purpose. This year I was able to overwinter a pepper plant in the ground outside. It would work much better with cover, but you do what you can.
 
Jessica Padgham
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Location: Denver, Co 6000ft bentonite clay soil
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No Christmas lights here. I switched to LED a few years ago when my regular ones started failing. I do want to try bagging a few branch ends just to see if it makes a difference. I really wish I had a temperature logger to see how cold it actually gets Friday night. I will share my results and what the low temps turn out to be if I can find that information. Weather Underground shows a station right in my neighborhood though so I can get a good idea from that.
 
John Wolfram
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Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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Jessica Padgham wrote:Does anyone know what the actual temperature threshold is for damaging flowers and fruit? We have an apricot (we think) that managed to flower for the first time in the three years we have lived in this house. Just as it was starting the temp went down to 30F overnight and that did not seem to do any damage. It's been blooming beautifully and buzzing with bees for about two weeks now and the weather is threatening to turn much colder. The tree is much too big to cover so I'm wondering what my chances are of actually getting some fruit this year.

Here's Washington State University's chart for fruit bud damage (by way of Utah State):
https://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/pub__5191779.pdf

Basically, the tree gets more susceptible to damage as time goes by.

Also, there is deep winter kill where the fruit buds die off from extreme cold. From my experience most apple, pear, and stone fruit buds die off at between -12F and -20F.
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Jessica what zone are you in. I am on zone 6b and mine is no where ready to bloom yet. Hopefully it doesn't bloom until last frost mid April.
 
Jessica Padgham
Posts: 94
Location: Denver, Co 6000ft bentonite clay soil
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John, thank you! That chart is exactly the information I was hoping for and couldn't figure out the search terms to find. Sadly the weather report keeps getting colder so it's looking like my best hope is trying to bag a few branches and see what happens.

S Bengi, I am firmly in zone 5 but Denver has regular warm ups through out the winter. I'm not sure the ground even froze this year and we just went through a few weeks of weather between 40 and 70. Now it's supposed to snow on Friday and go down to 15 or so Friday into Saturday.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I use smudge pots placed under the tree and drape a sheet over the tree for both frost protection and heat retention. I can keep even citrus from harm this way.

The smudge pots I use came from the railroad, they were getting rid of them for just taking them away but you can do the same thing with oil lamps.
 
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