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Apricot is traditionally considered a thermophilic crop that thrives and bears fruit in the mild southern climate. However, it is quite possible to grow it in central Russia, in the Urals or in Siberia, although this will require some effort from the gardener. The key to success will be a correctly selected variety, as well as compliance with all the necessary subtleties of planting and caring for a plant in a particular region.
Choosing the right variety
Attempts to create apricot varieties adapted for cultivation in the harsh and cold climatic conditions of the middle zone have been undertaken by domestic breeders since the middle of the 19th century. Thanks to the painstaking work of IV Michurin and his followers, varieties were bred with high frost-hardy and winter-hardy characteristics.
Attention! Frost hardiness and winter hardiness are not the same thing. The first quality implies exclusively the ability to withstand low temperatures. The second concept is broader, characterizing the resistance of a plant to a number of unfavorable conditions of the winter period and early spring.
For the Urals and Siberia, where the temperature in winter sometimes reaches 30-40 degrees below zero, varieties of apricots are recommended, which:
- tolerate frost and sudden temperature changes well;
- resistant to spring frosts;
- are not afraid of prolonged thaws;
- able to tolerate excess stagnant moisture;
- insensitive to sunburn (not only in summer).
Examples of suitable varieties: Akademik, Khabarovskiy, Amur, Sibiryak Baikalova, Zolotoy Sibiryak, Kichiginskiy, Snezhinskiy, Medovy, Uralets, Northern Lights, Gorny Abakan.
As for central Russia (in particular, the Moscow region) with snowy winters and short-term frosts, as well as warm, but humid and not always sunny summers, such varieties as Iceberg, Countess, Monastyrsky, Lel, Favorite, Aquarius, Tsarsky , Alyosha, Red-cheeked, Varyag, Hurricane, Zeus.
The fruits of these apricots are smaller than those of their southern counterparts, and their fresh taste tends to be less sweet and aromatic. However, thermophilic varieties from Ukraine, Moldova or the south of Russia simply will not take root in the middle lane and further north.
Important! A seedling or seedling is strongly advised to take from the nursery of the region where it is planned to grow.
The following characteristics will help you to choose from apricot varieties that are best zoned in the middle lane for planting on your own personal plot:
- regularity of fruiting;
- tree growth strength;
- self-pollination ability;
- resistance to pests and diseases;
- the size and taste of the fruit.
The fruiting period of apricots also plays an important role:
Groups of varieties
Fruit ripening time (approximate for the middle lane)
June 25 - July 5
July 25 - early August
Important! It should be borne in mind that early varieties are good for areas with short summers, but they are more sensitive to frost and sudden temperature fluctuations. Varieties with medium ripening periods are better able to withstand drought and cold. Late varieties are characterized by increased frost resistance, and their fruits are well stored.
How to choose an apricot seedling for planting
Having decided on a variety suitable for the climate of the middle zone, it is equally important to purchase high-quality planting material. The best are the trees of the first or second year.
Signs of a varietal seedling suitable for the middle strip:
- a well-visible place of inoculation on the root collar;
- powerful, dense, developed roots without signs of freezing;
- part of the trunk about 50 cm from the root - smooth, healthy, has no thorns or any flaws;
- the more live buds a seedling has, the better.
For the Urals and Siberia, it is advised to choose biennial plants with a closed root system. Such seedlings are more likely to take root.
Important! Often (as a rule, due to the small size of the site), gardeners are interested in whether it is possible to plant an apricot alone. This is permissible if the apricot is self-fertile, and there is really no opportunity to place several trees on the site. And yet, in the garden of the middle lane, it is recommended to plant 2-3 seedlings, preferably of different varieties.
Where and when to buy seedlings
It is recommended to buy truly high-quality varietal material before planting in specialized nurseries, garden centers, at seasonal fairs or exhibitions.
Warning! It is necessary to transport the plant to the planting site carefully and carefully, taking care not to damage or dry out the roots. They should be wrapped in a damp cloth, and then put the seedling in a bag.
When is it better to plant apricots: in spring or autumn
The preferred season for planting apricots in the ground depends on the climatic and weather conditions of the region:
- in the Urals and Siberia, it is strongly recommended to plant apricots with seedlings in spring - in this case, the trees have time to take root well before winter frosts, which significantly reduces the risk of freezing out in the first year;
- in central Russia, apricots can be planted both in spring and autumn - however, there is an opinion that "autumn" plants take root better.
A set of preparatory measures and some of the nuances of growing
When starting to plant an apricot in the middle lane and to the north, the gardener must correctly choose a place on the site and adhere to the rules of technology.
How to choose a place to plant an apricot
Correctly identified location:
- located on a small hill;
- protected from east and north winds, as well as drafts (for example, against a wall or fence);
- warms up well by the sun - the heat received in the summer will help the seedlings to winter safely;
- the soil is rich in trace elements and well-drained;
- the groundwater level in the area is not higher than 2.5 m.
Attention! In winter, a large amount of snow should not accumulate in this place.
Apricot compatibility with other fruit trees
The apricot is considered to be an "individualist" - it does not tolerate the neighborhood with most of the fruit crops widespread in the middle lane. Thus, it is highly undesirable to plant it in the immediate vicinity of cherries, cherries, pears, apple trees, rowan trees, walnuts. Apricots and other large plantings should be separated from each other by at least 10 m.
Acceptable neighbors for apricot can be some stone fruits: cherry plum, blackthorn, dogwood, Russian or Chinese plum.
Advice! The best option for the middle lane is when apricot trees of the same or different varieties grow close to each other.
It should be remembered that the distance between apricots when planting a garden directly depends on their height. Tall and medium-sized trees are planted at a distance of at least 5 m. Low varieties can be staggered, leaving about one meter intervals between them.
Does apricot need a pollinator
According to how the apricot is pollinated, varieties are:
- self-fertile (20–40% of the ovaries are fertilized with their own pollen);
- partially self-fertile (10–20% of ovaries are formed from their own pollen);
- self-infertile (capable of fertilizing less than 5% of their own ovaries).
Even for self-fertile apricots in the middle lane, the presence of a number of trees of another variety on the site, flowering and fruiting at the same time, can significantly increase productivity indicators. For the successful fruiting of self-fertile varieties, apricot pollen of another variety is simply necessary.
Important! Often gardeners are interested in whether it is possible to plant a peach, plum or cherry plum for pollination of an apricot. Information on this matter is contradictory.
It is reliably known that for successful cross-pollination it is best to plant 2-3 varieties of the same species side by side. Thus, it is most reliable to select a pollinator for apricots in central Russia among apricots, guided by the recommendations developed for specific cultivars.
Preparing the soil for planting apricots
The planting pit for the apricot should be large (about 0.8 by 0.8 m). The soil mixture for spring planting in the middle lane is prepared in the fall, and for the fall - at least two weeks before planting the seedling in the ground.
- humus (1-2 buckets);
- ash (about 1 glass);
- superphosphate (700 g);
- potassium sulphide (about 400 g).
A drainage layer is poured at the bottom of the pit, then the prepared mixture is laid, on top of it is a layer of ordinary soil, and left until planting.
Planting apricots in autumn
It is believed that the autumn planting is preferable for the middle lane. You just should not do it too late so that the tree has time to take root before the onset of frost.
How to plant an apricot correctly in the fall is worth considering in detail:
- in the selected place, you need to dig a depression 2 times the size of the root system of the seedling;
- if the plant is in a container, water it well, then remove it along with a lump of earth;
- before planting an apricot with an open root system, it is advised to hold the seedling for about a day in water or in a clay mash;
- place a tree in a hole, spreading the roots if they are open;
- fill the hole with soil and compact it;
- water the plant well (2-3 buckets of water);
- tie the apricot to a support (peg);
- mulch the surface of the trunk circle with dry soil, peat, sawdust.
Important! It is not difficult to determine at what depth to plant the apricot - the root collar of the seedling should be about 4 cm above the ground level.
How to plant an apricot correctly
All the recommendations given above also explain how to plant an apricot in spring. The step-by-step instructions for this process are identical to the rules for autumn planting in the middle lane. However, it will be useful to know some of the features associated with the climatic region where the tree will grow.
Secrets of planting apricots in the Urals in spring
Here are some subtleties regarding how to properly plant an apricot in the spring in the Southern Urals and take care of it after planting:
- during the period of thaws and melting of snow, you should carefully monitor so that water does not accumulate in the near-trunk circle;
- if a cold night is expected (spring return frosts or just a sharp temperature drop), the Ural gardeners advise to smoke - set fire to wet straw or a special smoke bomb in the area with trees;
- for better pollination, the crown of a flowering apricot is often sprayed with honey dissolved in water - this additionally attracts bees to it;
- common diseases in this region are clasterosporia and moniliosis, the main attention should be paid to their prevention and control;
- even frost-resistant varieties of apricots growing in the Urals definitely need shelter for the winter.
The secrets of growing apricots in the Urals are shared by Chelyabinsk gardeners V. and N. Chernenko in the video
Planting and caring for apricots in Siberia
What you need to know when planning to grow an apricot in a Siberian climate:
- at the landing site, it is recommended to additionally create an artificial elevation - to fill in a mound or a small earthen rampart;
- the quality of seedlings plays an important role - for the northern climate it is best to buy them in containers, grafted onto frost-resistant rootstocks;
- own-rooted apricots are not advised to grow in Siberia;
- spring planting of apricots is best done as early as possible, after waiting for the soil to thaw by about 10-12 cm;
- in contrast to the general rules for the middle lane, it is not allowed to prune the plant "on a ring"
- in Siberia, apricots often suffer from hawthorn and clotterosporiosis, so prevention is very important.
Useful information on growing apricots in Siberia is presented in this video
Growing apricots in the middle lane: planting and care
Those who wish to grow apricots in the moderate continental climate of the middle zone are given the following recommendations:
- in the middle lane, seedlings of localized varieties of local breeding can be planted both with an open root system and purchased in containers;
- the soil must be fertile - it is desirable that earthworms are found in abundance;
- in the case of a prolonged, warm autumn in the middle lane, it is advised to water the apricots with ash diluted in water so that the growth and ripening of the shoots stop before the cold weather;
- Of the pests in this region, the most dangerous are the moth, leafworm and aphids; of the diseases, moniliosis, clasterosporium, Vals mushroom, cytosporosis, and gum disease are the most dangerous.
Tips from experienced gardeners for growing apricots in central Russia contains a video
Planting apricots in the Moscow region in spring
For growing apricots in the open field in the Moscow region, the same tips are relevant as for the areas of the middle lane. You can add the following to them:
- optimal areas for growing apricots are in the south, southeast and southwest of Moscow;
- in gardens that are often sun-scarce, a white-painted wooden board that reflects sunlight can be installed behind the tree.
Important! The optimal time for planting apricots in the Moscow region is the end of April.
Aftercare and cultivation of apricots
The agrotechnical rules for caring for apricots in central Russia, as well as Siberian and Ural gardens, are practically the same.
In the conditions of the middle lane, the apricot needs moderate, but not excessive watering. An adult tree, as a rule, needs 4 waterings per season:
- during the growth of shoots (April);
- during or after flowering (May);
- in summer, 10-15 days before the fruits ripen;
- water charging in late autumn as a preparation for winter.
Important! Excessive moisture is very harmful to the apricot - it can cause root rot.
The key to good fruiting of apricots in the climate of the middle zone is a sufficient amount of nutrients in the soil.
Top dressing begins from the third year of the plant's life:
- in the spring - nitrogen fertilizers (chicken droppings, urea, saltpeter);
- in the first half of summer - foliar feeding, microelements;
- after harvest, late summer or early fall - formulations containing phosphorus and potassium, but no nitrogen.
Apricots are cut in the middle lane and to the north every year. In the spring, frozen and dead branches are removed. In summer, they form a crown, remove shoots that grow actively and densely. Pruning in the fall helps prepare the tree for winter.
Advice! The wound surface on the branches must be covered with garden varnish or soot, red lead, ocher on natural linseed oil.
Preparing apricots for winter, rodent protection
Measures to prepare apricot for the cold winters of the middle zone, Siberia and the Urals:
- whitewashing boles and bases of the largest branches with garden lime with the addition of copper sulfate (prevention of some diseases common in the middle lane, as well as protection from sunburn);
- covering the trunks of adult trees (and young seedlings - entirely) with burlap, spruce branches or artificial "breathing" material from freezing and damage by rodents;
- thorough cleaning of fallen leaves and careful loosening of the soil in the trunk circle;
- the crown is neatly tied with a rope so that the branches do not break under the weight of snow and ice;
- mulching the soil under the tree with peat, compost, sand with sawdust before frost.
Attention! To cover fruit trees in winter conditions in the middle lane, only breathable material is used! Plastic wrap or synthetics are not suitable for this, since they will cause the bark to die off.
When apricot begins to bear fruit after planting
The age at which an apricot begins to bear fruit depends on how it was grown:
- the grafted plant bears fruit for 3-4 years of life;
- seedling - for 4–5 years.
Important! It is also interesting to know how many years the apricot bears fruit. Gardeners testify that with a tree life expectancy in the middle lane up to about 70 years, harvests from it can be obtained up to 45 years of age.
Possible problems when growing apricots
It happens that an agrarian who grows an apricot in the middle lane is faced with a problem when a magnificently flowering tree suddenly does not give ovaries, or does not bloom in the spring.
Why apricot does not bloom
First, it should be noted that most varieties of apricot yield irregularly. This means that one year the tree is completely covered with fruits, and the next season only a few fruits hang on it.
Possible reasons why the apricot in the middle lane does not bloom on time:
- some varieties zoned in the middle lane begin to bloom not at 3, but at 6–8 years (you just have to wait);
- instead of a varietal seedling, a seedling of unknown nature was purchased;
- the climate of the middle zone is not suitable for this variety;
- the seedling was planted in the ground at the wrong time, in the wrong place or at the wrong time;
- the tree is frozen, sick or severely damaged by pests;
- improper care of apricot (incorrect pruning, excess fertilizer).
Warning! The correct choice of variety, seedling and adherence to the rules of agricultural technology developed for the climate of the middle zone will help to avoid most of the listed problems.
Why apricot does not bear fruit
In the event that there were a lot of flowers, but the fruits did not wait, you should figure out why the apricot does not bear fruit and what to do:
Solution to the problem
Apricot sheds ovaries
Lack of nutrients
Regular watering and feeding
The tree sheds flowers without even forming ovaries
Lack of pollination
Planting a number of pollinator varieties or attracting beneficial insects
Inflorescences fell after a night cold snap
The flowers are frozen
Next year, you need to postpone flowering 2 weeks later, in June, half cutting off young shoots
Apricot bears fruit well after a year
Perhaps a feature of the variety
No need to do anything
Diseases and pests
To help the gardener, there will be knowledge of the main diseases of apricots in the middle lane and how to deal with them:
Prevention and treatment
Brown spots on the leaves that gradually turn into holes
Pruning and burning diseased branches, shoots. Spraying (Bordeaux liquid, copper sulfate)
Flowers wither, leaves and shoots dry out, bark cracks, fruits rot and dry
Destruction of the affected plant organs. Spraying (Switch, Teldor, Horus, Bordeaux liquid)
Orange growths on the bark that look like ulcers
Loosening the soil and pruning during the dormant period. Spraying (Switch)
Brown "smudges" on the tops of the shoots. The bark turns reddish brown and dries up, causing the death of the plant
Removal of damaged parts. Covering wounds with garden pitch. Copper sulfate treatment. Introduction of phosphorus and potassium fertilizers on time
Amber stains in bark wounds
Do not injure the tree. Correct pruning and whitewashing of trunks. The wound should be cleaned, disinfected with copper sulfate and covered with garden varnish.
It is also worth paying attention to the most common pests in central Russia that infect apricot trees:
Appearance and manifestations
Prevention and treatment
White butterfly with black dots on the body. Many small holes in the leaves affected by its caterpillars
Shaking off caterpillars from the crown. Destruction of dry leaves with clutches of eggs. Treatment of wood with insecticides, decoction of tansy, wormwood
A small gray-brown butterfly that lays eggs in the ovary of fruits, which are then devoured by the caterpillars
Collection and destruction of affected fruits and fallen leaves. Digging the trunk circle. Spraying with Chlorophos, Entobacterin, sodium chloride solution
A spotted brown moth that eats leaves. Its caterpillars damage the bark
Destruction of damaged areas of the bark. Then it needs to be treated with a copper-containing preparation and garden varnish. Post-harvest Chlorophos treatment
Clusters on young shoots and leaves of small black bugs drinking their juice
Treatment with Fitoverm or Karbofos before fruiting. Anthill control
Of course, cultivating apricots in the middle lane, in the Urals or in Siberia is much more difficult and troublesome than in the southern regions. However, thanks to the success of breeders today, there are many varieties that can withstand frosty winters, prolonged thaws and temperature drops. A set of recommendations for planting and caring for a plant has been developed and tested in practice, taking into account the difficult features of the climate of the middle zone. A patient and attentive gardener, who took note of them and responsibly approached the choice of a variety for his site, will certainly rejoice at the harvest of ripe fragrant fruits, even if he does not live in warm regions.