Apricot Essentials

By National Gardening Association Editors


  • Plant new trees in early spring, fall planting in mild areas can be successful if trees are dormant.
  • Buy dormant, bare-root, 1-year-old trees, if possible.
  • Although most varieties are self-fertile, fruit set is better when planted with one or two other varieties nearby. Trees will start bearing in the third or fourth season.
  • Expect 3 to 4 bushels of fruit from a standard-size tree, 1 to 2 from a dwarf variety.


  • Choose a site in full sun. Northern growers should put trees on the north side of a building so trees warm up as late as possible in the spring. Apricot trees do well in a wide range of well-drained soils.


    • Space standard-size trees about 25 feet apart; plant genetic dwarfs 8 to 12 feet apart.


    • Apply a small amount of nitrogen fertilizer each spring. Where apricots are easily grown, train to an open center. For colder areas use a modified central leader.
    • Prune bearing trees annually to encourage new fruiting spurs.
    • When fruits are 1 inch in diameter, thin to 3 to 4 fruits per cluster to increase the size of remaining apricots and prevent over bearing one year, little the next.
    • See our article Fruit Pests and Diseases for controls of common apricot pests such as codling moths, peach tree borers, plum curculios, and brown rot disease.


    • Harvesting peaks in July in mild areas and in August in colder ones. The picking season is short.
    • Pick when fruits are fully colored and skin gives slightly when pressed.

Other articles in this series:
1. Apricot Essentials ← you're on this article right now
2. Planting Apricots
3. Growing Apricots
4. Care for Apricots
5. Growing Apricots in the North

This article is a part of our Fruit Gardening Guide for Apricots.

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