As you may recall, Hurricane Hilary took out my apricot tree
last week. Yes, I’m still a bit miffed about
it. You may also recall as I wrote in
the post about the medicinal uses of peaches, we had a bunch of volunteer peach
trees spring up earlier this year. I
transplanted most of them to the fenced orchard. And they got me to wondering whether apricot
trees could also be started from seed.
It seemed logical.
So I did a little searching online. Growing trees from the seed is quite
simple. And with apricot trees running
$35-75 online, it seems the only way to go.
Fortunately, a friend has two trees in her yard and was happy to let me
come get some. I now have several dozen
apricots that are waiting to become trees.
I found a few sources for growing fruit trees from
seed. The general instructions are the
same, with slight differences among the three sites. Be sure to start several seeds for each tree
that you want to end up with.
How to germinate
1. Get some apricots. Ideally, get apricots from a locally grown
tree, since it is more likely to grow in your zone. Eat the fruit. Do not throw away the pits.
2. Squeeze the
apricot pit with a nutcracker. Do so
gently (how do you crack a nut gently,
pray tell?) The kernel inside—it
actually looks like an almond—must not be damaged.
3. Place the apricot
kernels (you are doing more than one, right?) on a damp, not dripping paper
towel. Fold up the towel, enclosing the
kernels inside, and place it in a Ziploc bag.
4. Place the bag in a
warm, dark place. (Alternately, another
source asserts that the seeds must be stratified for 60 days. I’ll be trying both and report results.)
5. Check the seeds in
about one month.
Plant the apricot
6. Once the seeds
have germinated, prepare the pots for planting.
7. Fill the pots with
potting soil and make a small indentation for the germinated seed.
8. Place the seed in
the hole with the roots down.
9. Cover lightly with
soil and water thoroughly.
10. Place the pots
where they will get at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.
11. Keep the soil
moist, watering about every few days.
12. Transplant the
seedlings to larger pots when the seedlings have four sets of true leaves.
Plant the trees
When your apricot trees are at least 18” tall, it’s time to
set them in their permanent locations.
Keep in mind that apricot trees grow quite tall, so you’ll want to place
them where they will have plenty of room to spread. Their blossoms are frequently killed by late
frosts, so if at all possible set them in a warm area of the yard to maximize
production even when the climate is not conducive.
Links to related