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Apricots in Minnesota?!

August 2, 2011

Apricots in Minnesota?! Yes! And they’re delicious!
Fruits of the City started off the 2011 gleaning season this week harvesting an apricot tree. Although I’ve known that apricots can grow here I have never personally had the privilege of harvesting one. The challenge of growing apricots in Minnesota is not that the tree itself isn’t hardy, but rather that they blossom early in the spring and a late frost can kill off the flowers so that no fruit forms. This was not the case with this particular tree that was donated to Fruits of the City. Our challenge came in the form of four-legged furry creatures who wanted the fruit as much as we did. As we waited for the fruit to ripen I would check on the tree periodically. I noticed that the squirrels were enjoying it immensely. Finally it was ready to harvest and I’m happy to say that the squirrels left some for us. I was so delighted to drop off such a treat to the local food shelf. So thank you apricot tree owner (and squirrels) for the gift!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kate permalink
    August 25, 2011 2:01 pm

    I am curious what variety of apricot this tree was. I have a new home, with a sunny yard and would like to plant an apricot or peach tree, but want one that has a proven record. Do you know what variety it is?

  2. August 26, 2011 6:26 pm

    Hi Kate, I believe we harvested a Sungold apricot. Moongold was also planted for cross pollination. Here’s some info from U of MN extension regarding growing apricots in Minnesota. Hope this helps!
    ‘Apricots are fast-growing small trees with a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years. They grow best on a well-drained soil in full sun. Flower buds are often killed during the winter. When this happens there is no fruit or bloom the following year. The attractive white to pink flowers open very early in May and are some times killed by spring frosts. Cool, wet weather inhibits bee pollination activities, often resulting in a small amount of fruit set. Since apricot trees require cross-pollination, plant two or more varieties to ensure fruiting. Fruits make excellent preserves or sauce. Autumn foliage is golden yellow. The apricots listed here are the hardiest available. Trial in zone 4.

    Manchurian Apricot (Prunus armeniaca mandshurica), 20 ft. This is the hardiest of the fruiting apricots.

    MANDAN APRICOT (Prunus armeniaca mandshurica ‘Mandan’), 20 ft., is a vase-shaped tree. Fruits are 1¼ inches in diameter and have a red blush.

    MOONGOLD APRICOT (Prunus armeniaca mandshurica ‘Moongold’), 15 ft., is a University of Minnesota introduction of 1961. The golden fruits are 1 inch in diameter. Moongold and Sungold apricots are often planted as a pair to ensure fruiting.

    SCOUT APRICOT (Prunus armeniaca mandshurica ‘Scout’), 15 ft., is a Canadian introduction of 1937. It has 1½-inch fruits.

    SUNGOLD APRICOT (Prunus armeniaca mandshurica ‘Sungold’), 15 ft., is a University of Minnesota introduction of 1961. Fruits are 1 inch in diameter.’

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