[NAFEX] Pruning Apricots

William C. Garthright billg at inebraska.com
Thu Jun 4 19:09:11 EDT 2009

My Goldcot Apricot had started blooming in early April when the 
temperature here dropped to 23° F, killing all of the blossoms and 
unopened flower buds. No big surprise, since that's happened every year 
since I planted it in 2006 (I did get a half-dozen apricots last year).

Right now, the main branches are lined with spurs that appear dead (no 
leaves, at least). The smaller branches, too, are bare of leaves for 
half to two-thirds of their length. All of the leaves are at the ends, 
mostly on the new growth of the year. Is this normal, or did the freeze 
kill most of the leaf buds, too? And will there be new flower and leaf 
buds there next spring? In other words, will these branches and spurs 
recover, or should I be doing something, um,... more aggressive in 
restoring the tree?

I'm just wondering how I need to prune the tree to keep it producing 
flower buds. I didn't need to do much dormant pruning this year, since 
I've got the branches held quite horizontal to slow its growth a bit. Of 
course, that was before the buds froze. But I am doing some summer 
pruning and training now, mostly removing some very vigorous vertical 
shoots (which I expected). The tree looks healthy, but the inside is 
pretty bare. Assuming that the weather cooperates next year, will these 
bare areas produce buds again?


Lincoln, NE (zone 5)

I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would 
take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet 
place and kill him. - Mark Twain

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