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Monday, March 28, 2016

What? No apricot fruit?

Q. I have Katy and Blenheim apricots that are supposed to be low chill and self-pollinating but they barely produced any fruit the last two years. Three years ago both trees had a large amount of fruit. The trees seem to be healthy and there were plenty of bees.

A. Both of these types of apricots are older varieties and excellent producers in our climate. They are both self-pollinating and do not require much winter chilling temperatures to produce fruit.
Fruits of Katy apricot great for drying

You didn’t tell me if you saw flowers or not. The presence of flowers and no fruit is a big clue as to what may have happened. I am guessing you had lots of flowers but no fruit.
My guess is it was due to freezing temperatures during February. Apricots will flower during the first couple weeks of February. Last year there was a late freeze that could have eliminated apricot fruits in parts of the Valley where cold temperatures accumulate.
Apricot fruiting spurs

When fruit trees are near flowering, in flower or they have set small fruit, then these fruit buds/flowers/small fruit will tolerate temperatures from 32 to about 30° F. Nothing lower than this.
Too much shade from neighboring trees can eliminate fruit production in all but the sunny locations of the tree, usually hear the top or exposed sides.
You didn't mention pruning. If anyone pruned these trees and removed small side shoots from branches then there will be no fruit. Fruiting spurs are small side shoots going from branches. Fruiting spurs are needed on apricot for fruit production.

So unless someone pruned out the fruiting spurs or there was a late freeze this year, you should have plenty of apricots.

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