regret moorpark apricot -- get blenheim

July 8, 2005

I put in a Moorpark apricot tree. It's doing well and has lots of .. leaves. Not a single apricot. The white peach is covered in peaches (they are like sugar with some peach flavor -- and that's not a complaint!!).

Anyone else in the SF Bay Area have luck with a Moorpark tree? I'm thinking about putting in a Blenheim variety in its place.


Comments (13)

  • jim123

    Apricots in general take a few years to start production. Your Moorpark may still produce fruit.

    Moorpark seems to require a bit more winter chill than many mild climate areas can provide. My Sunset Garden Book shows that most of the bay area is probably too mild for best production, but still a better choice than many. Some of the varieties that they show that might be better suited include Floragold (my personal favorite), Early Gold, Bleinheim (also know as Royal), Royalty, and Southern Giant.

    Any apricot is fussy about spring weather and may not set fruit if conditions are not just right during bloom season. Well worth the effort though.

  • californian

    I live in Orange County and my two year old Moorpark made 15 lucious apricots this year, and one last year. My 17 year old Royal Blenhiem made about a hundred apricots this year, and thats after me thining out about half the fruit. The Moorparks were bigger and tastier. This is amazing that the Moorpark produced after us having such a mild winter this year, and they aren't supposed to be adapted for my low winter chilling area. The tree is growing fast and next year I hope to get a lot more.
    The mild winter produced some other strange results. My three Asian pears flowered twice this year. Once in the winter which produced no fruit and again last month, this time producing fruit, probably because I hand polinated them this time. My Weeping Santa Rosa produced a good crop a month earlier than the books say it should, and then apparently died after ripening the last fruit, with the leaves all turning brown. I started cutting off the branches today so I could throw them away in the trash and I noticed under the bark the cambium was still green. I wonder if the mild winter upset the trees biological clock and made it think this was fall and it really didn't die but was just shedding its leaves thinking it was now fall.

  • Monique_CA

    You know that apricots have a cycle as far as pruning and when they set fruit, right? I don't know a thing about it, except that my dear friend had a mature apricot tree, and you have to prune it something like every other year, her father in law came and pruned it for her, too hard, and it didn't set fruit for several years. It has something to do with fruit setting on second-year wood...or something. I'm sure there's someone more knowledgable than I who can jump in here and save me!!! Otherwise, ask about pruning and fruit setting on the fruit tree forum.

  • labrahamian

    Apricots fruit on second year growth, so pruning for fruit production is necessary. We have two Bleinheims that produce heavily every year, even after thinning. This year though we had very heavy rains just as the tree flowered, as a result, only about 75 fruit this year (the squirrels got all but about 15 of them).

    Montrose, Z9b/SZ21

  • jim123

    My reading shows that most apricots fruit on one to four year old wood. That seems to hold true with my trees. It can vary with variety though. When prunning, I try to remove about 1/4 of the new wood each year to always have plenty of fruiting wood. Most of my peach trees seem to like slightly more agressive prunning, more like removing 1/3 of the fresh growth each year.

  • lola1

    I know this sounds easy and it's not, but try to be patient. It's been a very weird spring,--- unusually wet, windy and cooler temps for longer times. Apricots are more tricky and finicky than other stone fruit like peaches.

    Planting another apricot near the Moorpark would be helpful, as generally, apricots are not self-fruitful. They do better if there's another apricot nearby. Apricots have 'spurs' that are spikey coming off the main shoot or main branches. Prune your apricot after it has bore fruit. In your case seeing that it hasn't done so, you may want to consider pruning it in late July/early August. Make few big cuts rather than many small cuts.

  • docholliday

    The nursery catalogs cannot be believed when it comes to their info on the cultivars they sell. They often don't sell the best cultivars. Apricots in my area have the perennial problem of flowering too early and getting nipped by a late freeze, thus wiping out the crop most years. I made the mistake of buying what the catalogs say is an extremely winter hardy variety, Goldcot, but winter hardiness is not my problem; early blooming is my problem. The website below shows that most of these apricot varieties the catalogs sell, taste terrible in taste tests, esp. the Goldcot I bought last. They say that Blenheim actually blooms later than any variety, and it is the only apricot they tested that rated an excellent flavor grade. They also seem to think pretty highly of Tilton. I had never heard of either Blenheim or Tilton, but I am going to be looking for them now.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Virginia Extension: apricot variety tests

  • calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

    Although the bay area has many micro-climates it is not a good location for apricots regardless of variety. If you expect regular crops of fruit,even light crops, I think you will be disappointed with any variety. Al

  • joereal

    how'bout Floragold? It says in the nursery tags that it will produce when all other apricots can't in your area, if you can make it bloom, then it will fruit, it is self-fruitful.

    Surely you can sue the breeders if needed. I don't have time for that, however.

  • macfairman

    Joe, it's a common enough tree that it's my fault for putting it in, not something I can sue about! I'll see how this year goes and put something else in if it continues not to bear fruit.


  • californian

    Looks like my Moorpark won't produce any fruit this year. It only made a few blossoms, and when I tried to hand pollinate them half of them broke off. It did produce 17 large tasty apricots last year and two the year before, but my Royal Blenheim that has finally died used to produce over a hundred fruit each year, but not as big or tasty or good looking.
    I think maybe I should rip it out and plant something with less of a chilling requirement, even though the tree looks healthy and has a lot of leaves.
    This year we are having an extreme drought in Orange County, California, I wonder if that has anything to do with it? We have only gotten about two inches of rain since last July. Even the weeds died of thirst.

  • californian

    I spoke too soon. Just noticed 5 apricots on my Moorpark, and it started making a few more blossoms too. I tried hand pollinating them again and only one of the six blossoms I tried fell off. BTW, if a blossom falls off so easily by just lightly touching it with a paint brush, does that mean it probably wouldn't have made a fruit anyway?

  • mensasnem

    "Anyone else in the SF Bay Area have luck with a Moorpark tree?"

    I grew up in Sunnyvale CA in what had been a moorpark apricot orchard. The trees in our backyard were mature when our house was built and had been long producing by then. They continued producing for another 16 years.

    Moorparks are by far the best tasting apricots you'll ever have the privilege of eating. They are also the best for drying, canning, freezing, cobblers, and jam. Their draw back is that they do not keep for more than an hour or two after being picked. Pick and eat right from the tree, or pick and process immediately.

    Apricot varieties that store and ship well, completely lack the excellent bursting sweet/tart flavor of a moorpark. They look very much like apricots, but that's where the similarity ends.

    If you want apricots that keep well in a fruit bowl for several days, get some other variety. If you want apricots that REALLY taste great and have unequalled versatility, get a moorpark.

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