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Aug 032012

Please note: Apricots are quarantined by the Idaho Department of Agriculture to prevent the introduction of diseases. Except for the fruit, no plant parts can be imported into Idaho from certain parts of the United States unless they have been grown in a disease-free area and are accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate. Home gardeners should generally purchase their apricot trees from nurseries in Idaho.

The hardiest apricot varieties available in the United States are, reportedly, cold hardy to between -20 and -30°F and are often recommended for USDA Zones 5-8. Varieties developed from Siberian or Mongolian parents are sometimes rated to zones 3 or 4. The trees bloom very early in the spring, making them susceptible to frost injury. Gardeners usually find it difficult to grow apricots in most parts of northern, central, and southeastern Idaho because of frequent frost injury to blossoms and occasional winter kill. Apricots have been grown commercially with limited success around Malad in southeastern Idaho and the crop does well in most parts of southwestern Idaho and around Lewiston.

Apricots are generally self-fruitful, but most experts recommend planting two varieties close together to ensure good fruit set. Varieties are commonly grafted onto apricot or ‘Lovell’ peach seedling rootstocks. The trees grow to about 20 feet tall and should bear their first crop in three to four years. Plant on well drained, light to medium-textured soil that is neutral to slightly acidic. Place the trees on slopes away from frost pockets.

 August 3, 2012