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cyclewest

Chinese Apricot - experience?

cyclewest
15 years ago

Has anyone had any experience with the Chinese Apricot, also known as the Mormon apricot? It is on the list of recommended varieties by our local extension office in Utah. The main difficulty of apricots in this zone 5 climate is the risk of a late frost that will kill blossoms/developing fruit. I've heard that Chinese is very cold and late frost hardy. It is also self-fruitful-doesn't need a pollinator, and has a sweet pit, you can eat the stone. However, I've also heard that it is clingstone.

Anyone have one or heard of them before?

Comments (31)

  • denninmi
    15 years ago

    I can't answer your climate question, but I do have one of these trees, and it's ok. The fruit isn't really any smaller or more sour than any other apricot. They bloom comparatively late for an apricot, a few days later than the others, but all apricots are among the very first to bloom, well before apples and pears, so they often get zapped.

    The pits are edible, IF you can stand to crack them -- EXTREMELY hard to crack.

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  • fruithack
    15 years ago

    I had one- thought it might do better than Harcot. It may have been marginally better at resisting late cold snaps, but still lost crops where sweet cherries are reliable. So I replaced it with a Sweetheart cherry to extend the cherry season.

  • marknmt
    15 years ago

    Mine does fairly well here in Western Montana, if I could keep the squirrels off of it. We find them good to eat out of hand and excellent for jam (the apricots, not the squirrels). Haven't had any disease problems. It has done much better than my Tilton, and I thought the fruit as good. In a good year and on younger wood the fruit is decent sized. This year they ran on the small side and I lost most to the squirrels anyway.

    It's pretty safe to call us "Frost free" after May 19, and it's often earlier. Last year my Mormon apricot bloomed from April 11 through 25 and set a decent crop. I seem to have missed recording this year's bloom. But we often have a period where it manages to beat the frost.

    Good luck,

    Mark

  • troman1973
    15 years ago

    Mark,

    I just planted a Chinese apricot that I got at a local nursery, so I assume it is hardy to my zone. I am just wondering what zone you are in? How low a temp do you usually reach? I just planted it here in August, I hope it makes the winter now, the tree looks nice. How large do the trees get?

  • marknmt
    15 years ago

    Hi Troman.

    We're basically Zone 5b with some Zone 4 variations. Our lows in a typical year will be around zero F, but we've seen it at -30. The extreme lows rarely last more than a day or two. Will global warming move us upt to Zone 6? Stay tuned!

    My Morman was one of the first fruit trees I planted and I didn't find out the rootstock, but it's been easy to keep it to about 12 feet. I basically just summer prune it now and that keeps the size in line.

    Good luck with your tree, and I hope the fruit is as tasty where you are as it has been here.

    Mark

  • cyclewest
    Original Author
    15 years ago

    I spoke to a neighbor with the tree, two doors down. He said it took a couple of years to produce, probably related to the environment (we share a neighbor that overwaters) and it appeared to have a rough start with leaf drop one of the first years. They bought the tree in a 15 gallon container and put it in the ground. He said he thought the fruit was about average, grocery store size, and it is easy to separate the stone from the flesh. He didn't know that you could eat the seeds. He estimated about 70 fruit last year and just over 100 this year.

    I think we'll go ahead and get this one. Now for the container vs. bare root debate... Fall vs. Spring planting...

  • carol6ma_7ari
    15 years ago

    Sorry to be adding to this thread so late - I just did a search for "apricot" since I have a new (2008) tree. The Chinese Mormon that I got about 20 years ago did well but, my bad, I didn't spray it, so the insects completely killed it in 5 years. (sigh) Best tasting apricot I ever had. Then I couldn't find any nursery that carried it. It took a google search for me to discover the Capitol Reef Nat. Park study of all fruit orchards in Fruita, UT, where it thrives. Then, another search to find a zone 5/6 eastern US nursery carrying it.

    I had been advised (since it's zone 6 here) to plant it on the north or shady side of a building, to hold back its bloom time because of possible late frosts here. This worked! And this time, I'll spray it.

  • sautesmom Sacramento
    15 years ago

    Can't find a nursery that carries Chinese Mormon? Geez, they're all over here--Lowe's, Home Depot, Costco. If you want mail order, even Rintree has them.

    Carla in Sac

  • jellyman
    15 years ago

    Carol:

    I assume from your tag you are located in Massachusetts, and, if so, you should be growing Tomcot not Chinese Mormon. No need for a pollinator, and there are lots of sources if you do a search. Nearly all home grown apricots are pretty good. Tomcot is excellent and adapts well to the eastern climate.

    It would be a rare, but perhaps not impossible occurrence for insects to kill an apricot tree. In fact, I can't think of an insect, or combination of insects, that would actually kill an otherwise healthy apricot tree. Japaneses beetles can defoliate trees when present in large numbers, but usually do not focus on apricots. Protecting the fruit itself is a different matter, and may require several sprays with an effective insecticide like permethrin against the plum curculio and/or oriental fruit moth. Not all areas have these insects in serious numbers, and you may or may not have problems with them.

    It is far more likely your apricot tree was affected by bacterial disease or something of that nature. You need to do some closer observation and better diagnosis of your tree before you begin any kind of spray program. There would be little to be gained by spraying with something like the "combination" orchard sprays if they do the tree no good at all.

  • boizeau
    15 years ago

    There is another tough apricot with a bit better fruit called Montrose. I have tried for months to find a seed source. it blooms later than most apricots and has pretty good disese resistance. If you find a source for seeds/pits, please do let me know.

    Here is a link that might be useful: montrose apricot

  • temp_wattscc_net
    14 years ago

    I'm in Utah about 30 miles south of Salt Lake City. Maybe I'm just frustrated, but I'm strongly considering giving up on them, and cutting down my two Chinese apricot trees to make room for something else. They're pretty trees but the only thing falling from them is frozen/dead blossoms in the spring, and dead leaves in the fall. :-(

  • fruithack
    14 years ago

    Nate: do it now or do it later- you're gonna do it. Delaying will only add to your frustration. There are are only about a zillion other fruit trees that will perform better.

  • carolync1
    14 years ago

    Nate, Chinese should fruit near Salt Lake at least some years, when there's not a late freeze. We frequently got fruit in Ogden. It helps if your trees are not in a low spot or "frost pocket". You may be able to save your crop during marginal freezes (during bloom) by running a sprinkler overnight under the tree, or by setting old-fashioned christmas tree lights in the tree and/or covering the top only with floating row cover (clothes pins work on frosty, still nights).

    No reason to have two trees of the same variety. And you could summer-prune one tree to under 8 feet for easier care.

    Boizeau, if you're looking for late bloom, Montrose was developed in Colorado and ripens after Chinese, so you could plant both for an extended season. It is also a sweet pit variety. Crack the seeds in a vise. Don't try to grow from seed - it probably won't come true. You might have a local nursery order some trees from LE Cooke, a wholesaler.

    In Zone 7, your choices in apricot varieties should be wider. If you're in the West, you could also try Canadian White Blenheim with Chinese or Montrose. It is also a Sweet Pit variety, and needs a pollenizer. Sweetheart from Stark is a sweet pit variety, too.

    If you're in the East, try for a locally adapted variety or two.

    Sugar Pearls (Gurney or Henry Field) is also noted for late bloom. No matter what it says in the catalog, planting two trees of the same variety will not result in cross-pollination, unless you are growing trees from seed. They also sell Goldcot, for really cold climates.

  • olpea
    14 years ago

    Sugar Pearl bloomed for the first time this year. Bloomed the same time as Jerseycot, which was the same time as Asian crossed plums. All got froze out (well there are a few blooms on some Asian plums, and possibly one or two on Jerseycot, but I'm not expecting anything.)

  • alanrockwood
    12 years ago

    Chinese apricot is very popular in Utah. An extra feature, noted by some already in the thread, is that the pits are good to eat, not bitter like some apricots. The pits taste a lot like almonds.

  • jj84097_comcast_net
    12 years ago

    I had a old apricot in my yard in Orem Utah. Left over from when the property was part of an apricot orchard. It was planted before 1953 when the land was developed. I believe it was a Chinese. It lost a branch or two to peach tree borers. Yes, borers can kill a tree completely. Alas I didn't prune and it fell over on 4th of July, about 1997. Main root broke. I replaced it with a Stark Sweetheart apricot. It was 5 years before it produced fruit and it is not as good as the old tree. It is to the north of my house, thus blooming later, and I get fruit when my neighbors don't.

  • becky_jake_juno_com
    12 years ago

    I've heard from multiple sources that Moorpark does really well in Utah 5A. Regardless of how well they generally do, we are a late frost area. The only way to guarantee apricot production is to put in some extra work. Watch the news to stay ahead of late frosts and cover the trees when they come. If your trees are maintained under 12 feet this might be feasible. If not, good luck. You can make bonnets for your trees (not much different than covering cherries with bird netting). When the danger of frost is past, pull off the bonnet. Using this method you can grow any apricot you want. Local nurseries will likely know which varieties are the best for your area. Chinese/Mormon should produce like a freak with this kind of protection.

  • njbiology
    11 years ago

    do you think that Montrose will do well in zone 7a/6b northern New Jersey? If so, I think some are saying it's better than Tomcot; plus, it has a sweet pit - I am not sure if Tomcot also has a good sweet pit.

    Thanks,
    Steve; NJ

  • darlingdiamond
    11 years ago

    My husband and I have a Chinese Apricot tree that we planted
    about 9 months ago (September). While it is beautiful and healthy (it has been fertilized), it has yet to produce any fruit...not even buds. One comment listed says it takes about 2 years to produce fruit. Does anybody know anything about that?

  • ncrepair
    8 years ago

    We got an Chinese Apricot tree about 6 or 7 years ago. It produces every year and really big fruit. The size of a lemon. Having said that it looks like we will not get any fruit this year. We bought it at Costco and it produced fruit starting the first year. The fruit is great and the jam is great. Fresh fruit is juicy.

  • beechhouse1212
    8 years ago

    I live in Zone 4 (western Wisconsin). The Chinese apricot was the only apricot to survive our brutal 2013-14 winter with -29 temperatures and -50 windchills. Our Moorparks and Moongold didn't make it. Our "zone 4 hardy" peaches (Contender, Intrepid and Reliance) all died as well.

    The Chinese apricot is a beautiful tree, with fall-like colored leaves in Spring. Tough and beautiful!

  • farfaras2
    8 years ago

    I live in FL zone 9 and just planted 36 seeds from Chinese apricots we ate. They all came up and are about 6 inches high and will be transplanting them to larger pots soon. The fruit is small and the seeds are huge but they taste a little like an apple. Hoping I can raise a mature tree and get my own fruit.


  • parker25mv
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I have just the opposite problem where I live—no chill.

    I think apricots are, as a group, one of those fruits in the middle in terms of how much chill they are suited for. They can grow but do not do the best in warm climates with temperate winters, but in less moderate climates a severe winter can nearly kill them off.

    I would place them between peaches and cherries. Probably do best in zones 6-8

  • farfaras2
    8 years ago

    Actually they seem to do well here because there are quite a few around. We'll see!

  • mattpf (zone4)
    8 years ago

    All apricot kernels are edible .ive tried these apparent sweeter tasting kernels and they still taste like medicine also. None tatse good but are supposed to cure or prevent cancer from starting. That's why they are Illegal to sell raw ,you can buy them but they will be baked which most likely kills the b17 inside. Interesting that some people are starting to pay attention to the kernels now. There is a area in Pakistan called hunza valley those people are all pretty much growing apricots for decades and none ever get cancer ?they use apricots for everything and especially the seeds.

  • mattpf (zone4)
    8 years ago

    And that Chinese pioneer apricot your talking about can tolerate zone 4 and possibly colder

  • utahmom54
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi ncrepair, Would you please tell me what state you live in or the general location or zone where you live? What Costco did you purchase your Chinese Apricot from? Also, I would love to know about the site where you are growing your apricot tree? Is it on the north side of your yard? Is it in a higher ground area or down in a valley? We had a Mormon apricot on the far south end of our lot that died a few years after we planted it, from a gusty wind storm that snapped the trunk. We have a Moorpark apricot on the south end of our lot too, just north of where the Chinese Apricot was and it's still alive, but unfortunately we only get a crop about every 8 - 10 years. We are located about 40 miles south of SLC in Zone 5b: -15F to -10F or 3A if you're using the Western Garden Book's zoning (they have their own separate zoning tables). We have a place on the north side of our lot where we could plant a Mormon apricot, but don't want to do a repeat and not get any fruit! I'd love to know the secret to your success! Also, do you or anyone else here know if the Chinese (Mormon) Apricot can be kept smaller--10 to 12 feet tall? Our Moorpark has a huge trunk and is very tall, as it's about 22 years old. We love the apricots on it, but getting a late frosts usually prevents us from getting more than a couple each year. We tried Christmas lights one year, and it didn't work for us. Has anyone ever tried leaving a sprinkler on under it all night to circumvent a late frost? Does that work? Many thanks!

  • ncrepair
    7 years ago

    To Utahmom54 We live in American Fork. Right in the town and our tree is on the east side of our yard. We bought from Costco in Lehi. We got a lot of flowers this year and they have all flowered and looks got to get a crop. Our tree is about 15 to 20 feet. We did some pruning this year. I should be easier to pick the fruit this year. Anything else just let me know.

  • Greg
    7 years ago

    It will be interesting to see if Friday is the freeze/kill day for us. It is supposed to get pretty cold but if a few clouds hang around we should be alright.

  • parker25mv
    7 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Although Chinese Apricot is considered a member of the species Prunus armeniaca, I suspect this variety might also be closely related to Prunus mume. The Japanese do have cultivars of Prunus mume whose fruit can be eaten raw, and Prunus mume did originally come from China.