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Apricot variety opinions

Posted by scottfsmith 6B-7A-MD (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 18, 12 at 8:45

I am now finishing a big trial of central asian apricots, including many white apricots and Hunza types (Hunza is a region in Pakistan). I have pretty much realized they are not going to work, in my climate they are all far too shy in bearing (as in, less than a dozen apricots on a whole tree) and far too prone to rots and diseases. So, I have chopped off most of those guys and I want to graft on some more standard varieties to look for good ones that work for me. The only standard apricot that has worked for me thus far is Tomcot. It is fantastic but I would like a couple other outstanding varieties. Here is my current list of interest, I am looking for both information on how they taste from people living anywhere as well as information on how easy they are to grow if you are in a hot and humid climate like I am. The earliness of the bloom is not a big factor for me, I have yet to get badly frozen out in 7+ years of apricot growing.

Early Blush (good rec from harvestman)
Montrose (Colorado apricot but has done well for folks in the east, flavor supposedly very good)
Nicole (new CA-bred cot that will probably be a bad grower but I may want to try it)
Apache (same group as Nicole)
Helena (ditto)
Alfred (older NY apricot, not sure why it is not more popular given the positive comments I have found on it)
Hargrand (sounds like best-tasting of the Har series? I tried Harglow and gave up on the "Har" 'cots but maybe I was being unfair?)
Harcot (second-best tasting of Har series?)

I am also thinking about the Tasty Rich aprium. Along with Tomcot I also already have Sugar Pearls which I am optimistic on based on other opinions, plus a Chinese. I am also trying Orangered and Robada which are excellent tasting cots but I expect will not cut it in my climate.

Some things I already tried and didn't like (mainly they did not taste good enough and/or were too prone to diseases or cracking) include Jerseycot, Harglow, and Puget Gold. These guys are all "OK" but hey who wants to settle for "OK"?

Some kinds I never tried but I have heard so many negative reports on east coast growing include classics like Blenheim, Moorpark, etc. Other apricots don't seem super high on the flavor list, Tilton is a classic example of this -- sounds like a very easy one to grow but not too exciting to eat.

Scott


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Scott I am so happy to see this post. Apricots seem finicky but I must have that all wrong. Living in zone 6-7 surrounded by water makes my apricots lose a lot of fruit due to fog and general dampness. I have had success with my 'Harglow',(late blooming) but I never hear a word about this apricot from anyone on this board. Guess I chose poorly. It is sweet, a beautiful color and flavorful. I think I will take your advice and add a 'Tomcot'. I would like to hear more about 'Robada'. Many thanks for your help, Mrs. G


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Scott:

Tasty Rich has been my earliest tree fruit and one of the most consistent in production and eating quality. It has good size, good eating quality if fully ripe, and runs about 16-19 brix. That is a couple points behind Tomcot. It ripens 7-10 days before Tomcot. Now the bad: it blooms very early. I'll keep it until I find something better because it's so early. Early Blush is the only candidate I have right now that should be earlier, Adams County Nursery says a week earlier. I would think everyone out east should consider Early Blush.

Robada is the highest quality apricot I've fruited so far. It's biggest, has a beautiful red blush, runs as high as 24 brix but last year was great all the way from 16 to 24 on a tree with too many fruit, and it blooms late for me in the greenhouse. I have no disease issues to deal with but remember Tomcot is western bred just like Robada so you don't know without trying. Robada matures 7-10 days after Tomcot. There have been years when the fruit was tart. Maybe I picked too soon. I've been on a good run the last few years with Robada.


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

I planted Harglow because it was recommended for the climate here. It has yet to set a proper crop, but the trees are still young. So I can't comment on quality.


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

We have 4 varieties sold in the area up here in Z4. We even have a peach that actually bore edible fruit, though I seem to be harassed by a fungal disease that matches the prior description of "lose a lot of fruit due to fog".

I hope I'm not stealing the thread if I ask a question about taking care of the plants we have as opposed to new/different varieties as the thread started out.

But for you guys down south growing apricots, are there methods of care for your trees that make a difference?


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

If you didn't have a Tomcot next to the Harglow it would probably seem pretty good, but the problem is I did and it made it hard to keep the Harglow, even if it was nice how it was later than Tomcot.

Fruitnut, my orchard site has done really well with early bloomers so that doesn't deter me so much from Tasty Rich. The biggest deterrence is that I can't find it this year, ACN is out and nobody else is selling.

Scott


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Mapler, I missed your question. In zone 4 you should not have much problem beating back a fungal disease. Start a new thread with a description of what your disease looks like and you will get a diagnosis and treatment. It is probably either peach leaf curl or bacterial spot since those are the two most common; start by Googling for pictures of those two.

Scott


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

I have a Sugar Pearls and a Westcot. Neither is of bearing size yet. I haven't seen any comments on Westcot yet. Also, does anyone know if the two varieties even blossom at the same time? Tomcot sounds interesting. Wonder if I could find a place to squeeze one in? Northwoodswis


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

I have Harogem, Puget Gold, Hunza, and Tomcot. Harogem hasn't fruited yet.

I'd like to graft Moongold and Sungold onto one of my trees.

I'd rather have several varieties that ripen over a longer period. Last year I was flooded with Tomcots that all ripened around the same time. Next year I think i'll dehydrate the majority of them.


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

  • Posted by orto EU zone 8 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 18, 12 at 14:50

Hi Scott,

I have hargrand and harcot here in Denmark, I wouldn't call it hot, but it is humid (However, our concern is bloom hardiness)

I got my first fruit of the hargrand last year. Very rich flavour and nice firm texture. Not a huge cot but not too small either. My tree is still young so maybe they will be larger this year.

Sincerely,
Sam


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Northwoods, I didn't find very positive comments on Westcot flavor, I put it in the Tomcot category. But I didn't find any direct comments from actual growers, just variety descriptions.

Sam, thats good to hear on Hargrand flavor, will have to try that one for sure. I don't care so much about size.

Frank, somewhere I read that Moongold and Sungold have been superseded by better varieties .. so they say. I'll be interested in how your Harogem works out.

Scott


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Oops I made a typo in the above -- for Tomcat category I meant to say Tilton category.. one of those T-cots.

Scott


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Scott,
I assume you are aware of Bob Purvis? I believe he was/is the "chairman" of the apricot sub group of NAFEX.

He seems focused on cold hardy varieties but has grown a pretty expansive list....in a environment far different than yours.

I have his variety lists/descriptions if you are interested as well as contact info should you want it.


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Rob, I got most of my list above off of Bob's list. He also puts out apricot interest group reports every few years with lots of individual experiences in them.

Scott


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Hi Scott,

No one else has commented on Alfred and I'm wondering why it's not more popular as well. It seems to be popular in the UK. I had it years ago and it was the first fruit in my orchard to bear and it bore prolifically. The location was a little south of here and had a nice gentle northern slope with good drainage. I hated to have to leave it and am wishing I had planted fruit trees sooner here because now I can't find Alfred. Where did you get yours? Thanks.


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Hi Mary, I found that Alfred has had problems with peach scab but otherwise it is a good if small apricot. I have had problems with scab so I am going to stay away from it but it still seems under-appreciated to me. In terms of availability I don't think anyone is selling trees, and I never got it myself, but I expect there is scionwood out there somewhere. Cummins nursery lists it in their catalog but not in inventory.

Scott


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Scott - I have a seedling apricot that produces massive crops here every other year - I'll send you a stick. please let us know how it does out there. In Kansas this is a big winner.


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Hi Scott, I wish I caught your thread sooner as I just ordered a Blenheim and a Moorpark apricot from Bay Laurel Nursery yesterday! Can I ask what kinds of problems you heard people were having in our area? For what it's worth, they're grafted onto Citation rootstock to try and give them a leg up on the soggy clay soil in the backyard (I read it could tolerate wet feet if need be), but if they're not going to grow, I might still have time to pick something else out!

~Kelly


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Kelly, I have not grown those apricots myself because I heard so many negative reports. Don Yellman in particular lives in northern VA and had great difficulties with Blenheim many years back. West coast apricots can have problems with not setting fruit in cold weather, diseases such as scab and brown rot, and splitting. While I have not grown your two I have grown other apricots which had these problems and I later removed.

I would see if you could call them up and get something else. Looking at what they have available, Chinese, Harcot, Shekar Pareh, Tilton, and Tomcot are all good east coast cots; Tomcot is by far my favorite apricot.

Scott


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Thanks Scott! I'm going to give them a call this morning and see if I can switch my order. I think I'm going to go with a Tomcot and a Chinese, since the sweet pits sound neat to try. Do you think the Chinese will provide adequate pollination for the Tomcot, or would something like the Harcot be better? Any thoughts on root stocks, between the citation and myro? I'll admit that I liked the citation because it encourages early bearing and keeps the trees a bit smaller, which seemed good for a backyard situation.

Sorry about all the questions, I'm just excited to try my hand at apricots and want to get it right. Thanks for your help!

~Kelly


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Kelly, Tomcot is somewhat self-fertile already and you should be fine with any other variety to increase the set.

Citation has done well for my peaches and plums but I have not had an apricot on it. Apricots generally fruit pretty soon so there is less need for a precocious rootstock on them. The main advantage of CIT is it could keep the tree a bit smaller, apricots can be quite vigorous.

Scott


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Thanks Scott! I got a little overzealous and ordered a Tomcot, a Harcot, and a Chinese. I'll have to find a little extra room in the yard, but I look forward to trying the different varieties once they start bearing!


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

I grow Alfred and the fruit is very small and highly prone to scab. It tastes fine and bears very reliably. I can't really endorse it, however.

Hargrand is not a very hearty variety and seems more prone to cambium kill than others in the Har series but this is based on limited experience and only a few dead trees. It's tasty and the fruit is much larger than any others I've grown.


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

While I like to eat all fruits so far, there are few my wife has an equal affinity for, except for these little apricots that we find at a stand. I bet they are the Tomcots. So I ordered one and also a Harglow. I'll be planting them on a gravely slope where my mericrest nectarines are so happy. They do poorly in the deep humus by my pears.
Noogy


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Harvestman, I decided not to go with Alfred for the scab reason -- fought enough of that already.

For the record here are the cots I ended up deciding to try from the above:

Early Blush
Hargrand
Helena
Hoyt Montrose
Nicole
Stark SweetHeart

Along with opinions here and across the web etc I also recently joined the NAFEX Apricot Interest Group run by Bob Purvis. He has been putting out a yearly letter for over ten years with a lot of good information -- highly recommended for anyone into apricots.

Of the above I am most excited by the Montrose, it seems to get good opinions from everyone. Coincidentally I was in Montrose last week -- its nothing like my climate at all, but there are good reports of if from many parts of the country. I think someplace is selling it now as well, Burnt Ridge I think. The Harcot sounded slightly less tasty than Hargrand in most of the descriptions so I picked Hargrand and ditched Harcot. The hardiness issue is not a problem for me. I also ditched Apache, it probably won't work anyway, but I did decide to try Nicole and Helena of the CA cots. Nicole sounds like the best in taste after Robada; Helena and Alfred seem similar in the taste category but I decided to try only one or the two.

Scott


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RE: OrangeRed, Robada, Stark Sweetheart

Scott, concerning your Orangered: According to the Robada patent, in Fresno Robada blooms much earlier than its New Jersey-bred parent, and I once read that Orangered has chill requirement of 1000 hours. On the other hand, it is sold by a foothill nursery near Sacramento that also sells Robada, Nicole and not much else in the way of apricots.

I have a Stark Sweetheart tree, and it really doesn't get enough chill here, but when it does make blossoms, they are on the medium-early side. I haven't noticed any disease problems, but I know that your climate is much more challenging.

If you planted Sweetheart near Robada, you would have two sweet-pit varieties side by side, and some sources say that Robada needs a pollenizer, as do Orangered and Nicole.


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RE: Hoyt Montrose?

Is Hoyt Montrose a strain of Montrose? The Montrose sold by L.E. Cooke is a sweet pit variety, recommended as a follow-up to the earlier-maturing Chinese (also sweet pit) in areas which receive late frosts.


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Carolyn, Hoyt is a seedling of the original Montrose tree which is supposed to be larger than the original tree in size but otherwise more or less identical. I think most people selling Montrose are in fact selling the Hoyt seedling but are leaving off the Hoyt from the name.

Scott


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Hi Scott and Harvestman,

Thank you for your comments about Alfred. Interestingly, when I did a google search for a source for Alfred Cummins Nursery came up, which is only about 10 miles from here. As you said, they do not currently have it and couldn't really give a reason why, though scab sounds like a good reason and perhaps smaller fruit size. Another nursery, Schlabach in Medina, NY, also usually has it but not currently because of a quarantine. I didn't think to ask "for what?" but I wonder if it was scab? I also didn't know to ask about Montrose which sounds nice. But they said that they are only selling the Har* series this year. Cummins recommended Harlayne so I will be giving it a try. It is nice to buy local trees but I am not super excited about it. Mainly, I need another late blooming tree to pollinate the Sugar Pearl from Gurneys which is doing nicely so far.


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

I will post my Apricot experiences so far....

Blenheim (Probably properly Royal) and Moorepark - One of these 2 trees died the 1st season from Borers and Jap Beetles (Not sure which of the 2 plants it was)
The other one seems to be highly attractive/susceptible to borers and japanese beetles... Literally - the Jap Beetles eat off every single leaf... and Japanese beetles don't seem to care much about the "Normal" insecticides that I have used. I really need to look into a BT product for Jap Beetle control.

It flowered last year and is in flower this year.. Hasn't set any fruit yet.

The rootstock for these seems to be some sort of plum - not sure if that made a difference.

The Hunza on Citation - A BIG, vigorous, healthy tree that seems to naturally grow with a very open habit. Fruit is much better than Store apricots... but as Scott says - doesn't bear much fruit. I got 9 apricots last year, and I enjoyed eating them. The fruit were really pretty and didn't have any problems with cracking from rain or other maladies like this. It does not appear to be nearly as attractive to Japanese beetles or borers as the other 2.

I just got a new Goldensweet - not in the ground yet. Will post on that once I see something one way or another.

Thanks


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

I completely agree with your opinion on Jerseycot. It was released (I heard) because it reliably cropped in its trials in NJ. It does set fruit and then loses them all to disease. I also have a Tomcot, which I do like, though it doesn't set quite as heavily as the other apricot I have (unfortunately variety unknown). All my apricots are ones I grafted myself on either Marianna 26-24 or St. Julian A.

I would like to know what you didn't like about Puget Gold? It was the other 'east coast adaptable' variety I had considered.


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Mauch1, Puget Gold is very reliable, but it gets bad peach scab. Franktank posted some pictures of his scabby PGs on a thread here which looked just like mine. The problem with the scab is it is bad enough that it stunts the fruits and decreases sweetness and flavor as well. With enough of the right sprays the scab can be nailed but I am not looking for extra work. It also is not the greatest tasting cot, its about average.

After Tomcot I am most excited by Montrose for an east coast cot, it seems to get a thumbs up from everyone, everywhere. I am grafting it this spring so it will be a few years before I know.

Scott


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Does anyone have any FIRST hand taste experience with Apriums, Peacotums, or nectaplums. looking for actual user testimonials not p/r marketing descriptions. I'm just real curious about the flavors.


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

APPLEJACK:

I've grown at least three aprium I can recall. Flavor Delight is very productive but the flavor didn't delight me. Tasty Rich is very good for it's season but the apricots that follow within 2-3 weeks are better. Honey Rich has been really good a couple years but is mostly soft and just OK.

I've had fruit a couple years off Spice Zee nectaplum. So far it's nothing outstanding for sweetness or flavor.

I'll have a few fruit this year on Bella Gold peacotum. The tree has very unique leaves and seems stress sensitive so maybe the fruit will be the same but I no idea right now.

Flavorella plumcot is very unique and outstanding in appearance and aroma. Flavor can be great but it's hard to grow.


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Thanks Fruitnut. I really appreciate your feedback. I just planted a nectaplum and was curious about the flavor. I guess I shouldn't beleive the hype.nice looking tree though.

still deciding to plant either an aprium or a peacotum this year. but who am I kidding, I'll probably plant both. I'll definietly look into flavorella plumcot.

I also just planted two 4 in 1 pluot trees. Can't wait to try my first pluot harvest.Hopefully they'll do well and give me the variety I want.

Do you have any experience with multi budded trees?


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The Spice-Zees I have bought at the Farmer's Market were DELICIOUS, so much that I went out and bought a tree. Maybe it just needs central California heat to ripen properly.

Cot-N-Candy is also really yummy, with a light melon flavor.

I have held off on buying a BellaGold, because the description of "mildly sweet" underwhelms me--I will wait until I can actually taste one.

Carla in Sac


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Scott - what are the 'right sprays" for scab on apricots?


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

ltilton, I use sulphur at dime or so sized fruits -- that is the key period when scab gets a hold. If you are using synthetics there is probably something that works better than sulphur.

Scott


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Carla - was the taste of the nectaplums you ate the flavor of what you'd expect from a nectarine/plum hybrid or was it just a really good nectarine?

The aprium you mentioned sounds worth checking out. The city I live in gives out one free tree every year. I may just have to add it to the family.

does anyone here have any taste experience with the sprite/delight cherry-plum?


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Well, I sprayed Immunox, with my apple scab spray, but I see that Captan would be the way to go.


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

I have 'Early Blush'. For a second tree, I'm considering 'Hargrand' (NJ). Is the kernel of 'Hargrand' or 'Early Blush' sweet?

Steve


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Scott, after losing my four year old 'Harglow'in Hurricane Sandy, after four years it only produced four apricots and they were nothing to rave about. Though sad to lose the tree, I think I might be better off. Purchased a 'Peche de Nancy' (its an apricot, not a peach like its name)I am sure you know that and an early 'Blenheim'. These will be arriving this spring. I hope I have better luck with them. Have you ever tried a 'Peche de Nancy'? Thanks, Mrs. G


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Well, I finally saw the questions from back in April!

No Spice-Zee is not "just a really good nectarine", it is like a white nectarine with a definite plum flavor. However, it is a peach leaf curl magnet, so I think if you have disease in your climate, it would be a lot of work to keep the tree healthy. If not, definitely get one!

I have heard Sprite/Delight are not very good, the taste practically for the birds, maybe they would be OK for pies. But there are so many trees much more worth the space I can't see growing either.

And my Cot-n-Candy is a growing FIEND, it sprouts branches all over like it is a bush and sets fruit really heavy every year. The trunk hit 6 inches in diameter in 3 or 4 years. So it is just a fabulous variety, if you can grow apricots.

Carla in Sac


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Mrs G, Peche de Nancy and Blenheim are not at all happy in the east. In general, most of the popular California apricots do not do well in the east: they rot, they crack, and they don't produce. I have heard of many failures on Blenheim. I tried Peche de Nancy myself and got about one edible fruit before I removed it. It cracked and rotted badly.

Tomcot is by far the best apricot of the ones I have fruited. This summer I added 8 more varieties from the ones above so I may find some other ones that work for me.

Scott


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RE: Apricot variety opinions

Oh ugh. Scott this is really not good news as I was so looking forward to the Peche de Nancy. I'll get in touch with the nursery and see if I can change the order. Thanks as always, Mrs. G


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