Apricot Growing Guide

5 Steps to Apricot Planting Success

  • Choose a sunny spot in fertile, well drained soil. Late autumn and winter is the best time to plant apricot trees in New Zealand. 
  • Prepare your soil with organic matter like compost and sheep pellets.
  • Add a layer of citrus & fruit mix to plant into.
  • Feed your apricots in spring and summer to encourage maximum flowering and fruiting.
  • Water well, particularly over the warmer months.

Follow our full guide below to a bumper crop of homegrown apricots.

Apricots, or ‘golden apples’ are a mainstay in fruit gardens and are usually one of the first stone fruit to be ready in the summer season. They store well for off-season use and have a number of additional health and medicinal benefits. The flavour of a freshly picked ripe apricot is hard to beat!

PREPARE 

Choose an apricot variety based on your taste preferences. In New Zealand, apricots are commonly categorized according to when blossoms appear. It is also important to consider whether a variety is suited to your climate.

Popular apricot varieties include: Cluthalate, Garden Annie, Katy Cot, Moorpark, Royal Rosa and Tom Cot. 

Many varieties need a pollinator to ensure fruit is produced, although some are self-fertile. It’s a good idea to plant more than one tree if you have room, to ensure a better fruiting crop.

Choose a position in full sun and away from strong winds. Apricots have a spreading canopy so need some space. Standard trees need at least 7 meters in diameter, however if it’s a cross pollinator, avoid planting them too far apart. They also prefer deep, fertile and well drained soil. As a general rule, apricots like similar conditions to peaches, so if these are established in your garden, apricots will take hold just as well.

Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success in your garden. The better the soil, the better your plants will grow.

If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like Tui Sheep Pellets and Tui Compost to your soil. Then you can add a layer of Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix.

PLANT 

For successful apricots, grafted trees are the best option. Apricot seeds require both patients and flexibility are also unpredictable. It is best to purchase two year old trees that have been grown from grafted cuttings.

Plant young trees in autumn, winter or early spring. It is best to plant apricot trees before the new growth begins in early spring, before bud burst, or in late autumn before the ground gets to cold.

Planting apricots in the garden

  • Soak plants in a bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and allow to drain. This will help prevent transplant shock and give your plant a healthy boost.
  • Add a layer of Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix to the planting area.
  • Dig a hole, approximately twice the depth and width of the root ball of your plant.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the hole.
  • Fill in with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.

Planting apricots in pots and containers

  • Soak seedlings in a bucket of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic and allow to drain. This will help prevent transplant shock and give your plant a healthy boost. 
  • Partly fill your container with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix.
  • Gently loosen the root ball of your plant and position the plant in the centre of the container.
  • Fill your container with Tui Citrus & Fruit Mix up to 3cm from the top.
  • Tap the container gently on the ground to settle the mix.
  • Press soil gently around the base of the plant.
  • Water your plant well and continue to water regularly.

nourish

Feed your plants and they will feed you. Plums use nutrients from the soil as they grow, so replenishing the nutrients ensures they will grow to their full potential, improving flowering and fruiting so they produce abundant and juicy crops.

Feed your apricot tree in spring and summer with a balanced fertiliser such as Tui Performance Naturals Citrus & Fruit Fertiliser. If you’re wanting to feed for longer, Tui Enrich Fruit, Citrus, Tree & Shrub Controlled Release Fertiliser will feed for up to six months and is formulated with high levels of potassium for optimum flowering and fruiting.

Apricots require adequate and regular supplies of water through the dry season. Be careful not to overwater as this can result in waterlogging and split maturing fruit. Little or no additional water is required in winter, the roots of this tree don’t like sitting in waterlogged soils, so the site must have good drainage.

While your apricots are growing regularly apply a dose of Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic to give them a welcome boost.

Well watered, well nourished apricots will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.

Harvesting

Apricots are ready for picking from early summer and taste best when they are left to mature on the tree. Ripe apricot fruit will feel a little soft when cupped in the hand.

Pick with care to using secateurs to prevent bruising and damage to fruit spurs. Birds will also enjoy tucking into apricots and can smell a ripe one from quite a distance, Netting may be required to deter birds when fruit is ripening.

Pruning

Ensure your apricot tree stays healthy by pruning in winter or early spring before it begins to produce new growth. Remove any unhealthy branches and thin out any bushy areas in the leaves.

Use sharp secateurs to make clean cuts on an angle, above a bud or branch. Shorten weak laterals, trim back laterals that have already fruited and thin vigorous shoots back by one third. Also, remove any dead, diseased or criss-crossing wood.

tui tips

  • Pollination of too many flowers can cause over crowding on the spurs, resulting in under-sized fruit. It can pay to thin out smaller fruit once or twice while growing.
  • Mulch around the tree with Tui Mulch & Feed, to suppress weeds and retain moisture and nutrition. 

For tips on growing other fruit tree varieties follow our Fruit Tree Growing Guide >

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