Things that can go wrong with apricots

We love apricots, but we hate them a little bit too, because they get SO many diseases, are prone to frost, and can generally be very fussy to grow.

An Earlicot apricot showing rain cracking
An Earlicot apricot showing rain cracking

This photo is a variety called ‘Earlicot’, which, as you’ve probably guessed, is very early! We planted them because they help to start the fruit season earlier which spreads the harvest over a longer period and therefore increases food security.

But there’s also a downside to this variety – they like to crack! They are particularly prone to doing this in a wet year, but even in a relatively dry spring some of them always crack regardless.

From a home garden point of view they’re not a dead loss, as they’ll usually hang on to the tree and ripen anyway, and can be used for jam or preserving (or eating, if you don’t care what they look like!).

Another thing that can happen at this time of year is a disease called Freckle.

A young apricot showing signs of Freckle
A young apricot showing signs of Freckle

Freckle can even show up on your leaves…

A freckle infection on apricot leaves
A freckle infection on apricot leaves

A really bad case will definitely downgrade an apricot from a “first” to a “second” grade, but this is usually just a cosmetic problem that affects the skin, and the fruit underneath will be perfectly good to eat and delicious.

It’s just one of a number of fungal diseases that can affect different types of fruit, and is prevented with a spray regime using organic fungicides, as well as good hygiene practices.

Last but not least, here’s a great example of how resilient your apricot tree can be, and how it can turn something bad into something good.

An apricot tree growing out of a Blossom blight infection
An apricot tree growing out of a Blossom blight infection

You can see the remnant evidence of Blossom blight on this shoot, where the flowers rotted and died, and then the shoot also died back. But the tree has managed to isolate the disease, stop it spreading any further back towards the trunk, and has then put out three magnificent new, strong shoots – healthy new growth to replace the old!

Apricots are fussy, but they’re also tough – and of course they’re absolutely worth persevering with because they are one of those fruits that suffer most from modern picking and storage techniques, making it hard to find that “home-grown” deliciousness when you buy them off the shelf. If you’re keen to go pro with your apricot tree check out our short course devoted to all things apricot-y.

4 thoughts on “Things that can go wrong with apricots”

  1. Just wondering if you have any ideas to stop dieback of leaves on my pear ,plum and apricot trees. Tips turn brown then whole leaf dies and falls.Its a major problem atm.

    1. Hi Prim, there are lots of things that might be causing these symptoms, from nutritional problems, to over-watering, to various diseases, or even insects! I’d suggest you start with our e-book “What’s That Spot”, and see if you can find some photos that look similar to the symptoms you’re experiencing. This is also the exact sort of problem we help our Grow Great Fruit members with, so you might be interested to look at that program as well. Good luck with your trees!

  2. hi,
    Cant work out why my to apricots one of which is a moorpark the other Ive forgotten have been in two years and I have had probably 3 or 4 apricots from these trees.. They have been well,pruned not overwatered and sprayed at the right times..I’m very puzzled..

    1. Hi Robbie, in the first couple of years the tree is busy putting its energy into growing the branches it needs rather than growing fruit – in fact we don’t usually let our trees have any fruit until they’re at least 3 years old, or until the “establishment pruning” phase is over, i.e. when you can look at the tree and see that all the framework branches are established in the right place. Once they’re in place you can ease back on the hard pruning, and let the tree settle down and start fruiting. If it’s flowering well but not fruiting then you need to do some detective work to figure out whether it’s frost, disease or lack of pollination that might be causing the problem.

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