PruningApricot, Prunus armeniaca -
WHY Pruning of the Apricot is quite similar to that of the Plum. The fruit-buds are borne on spurs, as the Apple, or on the wood of the previous season's growth, either terminal or lateral. Before pruning a variety learn the habit of fruit-bud formation. If the variety is unknown to you, then study new growth and observe where the flowers develop. The fruit-bud is easily recognized; it is much larger in size than the wood-bud. In most varieties of Apricot the long slender shoots that grow during the summer months will bear the fruit the following season, but the location of the fruit-bud on the slender shoot is characteristic of the variety. Heavy pruning is necessary to produce good fruit.
HOW There are 3 possible locations: a. Towards the tip of the previous year's growth. b. In the central part of the shoot. c. Near the base of the shoot. In any case, the fat buds produce the fruit, while the slender buds will open into leaves and branch growth. In pruning, do not cut back the tips if the variety is of class "a". In class "b", prune back about 1/3 of the shoot, and in class "c" top back 1/2 to 2/3 of the shoot. Of course, general pruning is given the tree, cutting out enough branches to shape the top. A few varieties of Apricots also develop fruit on spurs formed on older wood. Do not remove these unless injured or for some other good reason, since their fruit is always strong, well-supported, and of good quality.
Some trees grow twiggy naturally, and certain apple varieties such as Jonathan, as well as many varieties of cherries, plums, peaches and apricots, need additional thinning of their bearing wood to let in sunshine to ripen the fruit.
In cold regions, the Lorette method is risky, since trees pruned in summer tend to keep growing later in the season, and this growth may be injured in the winter. For the same reason, even in areas where the growing season is long, vigorous-growing trees such as the peach and apricot are often difficult to grow by the Lorette method.
Pruning apricots is similar to pruning peaches. Heavy pruning is necessary to produce good fruit. The open center method is best, and in addition to cutting back the limbs, you may need to thin out the bearing spurs. Root pruning is beneficial to help prevent excessive growth and subsequent winter injury where the growing season is short.
Eutypa is commonly called dieback in apricot trees. Dieback is characterized by tips of twigs and branches dying backward toward the center of trees. Dieback is a wound-invader. Dead branches should be cut and removed. Prune infected branches at least 8 to 12 inches below visible damage. Apply benomyl fungicide to cuts.
Apricot trees tend to spread excessively, so thin to upright wood.
Apricots bear laterally on spurs that usually live for no more than three years. Annually thin bearing trees to upright shoots. Thinning renews fruiting wood and improves light distribution. Don't head remaining branches unless branches are excessively long. Head long branches lightly to contain them.