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Apricots

UK Garden Centre - Information about apricots

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Apricots require a soil containing plenty of lime and so grow best in a limestone soil. Where this is not possible, give the soil a liberal dressing of hydrated lime or lime rubble (mortar) and the plants a handful of bone meal at planting time. This slow-acting nitrogenous fertiliser will encourage the formation of new wood. This is important, for apricots have a tendency to suffer from ‘die back’, in which established shoots, for no apparent reason, die back entirely.
Plant in autumn against a warm wall. Fan-trained trees give the best results with this fruit. Plant at least 5.5m (18ft) apart, for they make long shoots. Allow the main shoots to grow on, pinching back the side growths in summer to about 5cm (2in).
Though self-fertile, apricots will set a better crop if hand-fertilised. This is done by dusting each flower with a camel-hair brush as they open. Hand-fertilising is essential for those grown indoors. Apricots flower early and if they are grown against an outside wall, it is advisable to hang muslin over the plants as soon as the blooms begin to open.
When the fruits have set and have started to swell, thin them to three in a cluster and to about 8cm (3in) apart as they make size, removing perhaps the centre one. Allow the fruit to become fully ripe before removing it with care to trays lined with a layer of cotton wool.
Apricots fruit on the old and new wood. To prevent overcrowding, remove the old spurs after the plants have borne fruit on them for two years.
The plants will benefit from a mulch of strawy manure each season in early summer. Once the fruit has set never allow the trees to go short of moisture at the roots.

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