Which Apricot Varieties Should You Plant?
You may not be aware but there are actually quite a few apricot varieties that are grown in the United States. Although most apricots that are purchased in stores come out of Michigan, Washington, Utah and California, the trees will actually do quite well in the South or the Midwest as long as they are provided with well-drained soil. When planting trees, keep in mind that nearly all of the apricot varieties require a lot of attention for the first couple of years but once they become established, an annual pruning is pretty much all that they need.
These trees are mostly known for their exceptionally early ripening period which happens in June. These are ideal for canning, freezing or dehydrating. Around the center of these apricots is a ridge which is their distinguishing feature. Tilton trees will often mature at a height of 25 feet tall. They thrive in USDA 5 through 9 zones and require full sun.
Of all of the apricot varieties, the moorpark is the most common. The trees grow to be 20 feet tall on average and they are not really fussy about soil type however, proper drainage and irrigation are necessary. Moorpark trees do well in zones 4 through 8 and should be planted in full sun. They bloom near the end of spring and their fruit is ripe by August. These apricots are well-known for their full flavor and sweetness. They can be enjoyed fresh off the vine, canned or dehydrated.
This variety really resembles the moorpark apricots except the fruit is larger and their color is a bit more pale. Many people plant these trees for the beautiful display of flowers that they offer in April in zones 5 though 8. The early golden produces more flowers than any other variety and their fruit ripens near the beginning of July.
A smaller variety, the Chinese apricot tree averages only 15 feet at maturity. They do well from Minnesota all the way to Arkansas and can even tolerate light frosts. These trees take between three and five years to start producing fruit but once they get going, they produce exceptionally heavy crops. Of all of the apricot varieties, the fruit from these trees is considered quite small. The apricots are orange and ideal for dehydrating or canning.
Thriving primarily in Oklahoma and Texas, the Gold Kist is a tree that prefers a warm climate. These trees need very well-drained soil and plenty of full sunshine. The fruit is yellow, large and firm which makes them a top choice for canning.
This dwarf apricot tree averages between 12 and 18 feet tall at maturity. They seem to flourish in Missouri, Texas, Pennsylvania and Iowa and they begin producing fruit usually three years after planting. The Wenatchee is self-pollinating and begins blooming near the beginning of April. They prefer a slightly fertile, well-drained soil. These apricots are a favorite to eat fresh as the fruit is yellowish-orange, fleshy and sweet.
These trees are self-pollinating however, they will offer a significantly larger crop if they are cross-pollinated with other varieties. They thrive in zones 4 through 8 and produce a consistent amount of fruit right in the middle of June. Tomcat apricots are yellow and exceptionally juicy.
Growing from Nebraska well into Georgia, these apricot trees display a lot of flowers in the early spring. They produce very small amounts of fruit however, the apricots are huge. The fruit ripens in the summer with a mildly acidic and thick skin in a shade of reddish-orange.