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Monday, July 30, 2018

Plumcots, Plums and Apricots Good Choices for the Desert

Q. I purchased a plumcot fruit tree years ago for my home in New Jersey. I got great tasting, sweet plumcots in early July every year. I never thought it could grow here. Yesterday, I was reading in the Real Estate Section that a house for sale had a plumcot on its grounds. Will they grow here or is it just that particular location?

A plumcot called 'Plum Parfait' producing fruit in the Eastern Mojave Desert. Below is 'Plum Parfait' tree, about six years old and pruned to 8 feet tall entering into fall color in mid October.

A. The plumcot is a man-made hybrid between a plum and apricot. Other hybrids between these two fruit trees, apriums and pluots, also exist. These types of hybrids don’t occur in nature and are not GMO’s but developed the old-fashioned way through plant breeding.
Floyd Zaiger in a propagation house at Zaiger Genetics, one of the plant breeding companies responsible for hybrids like plumcots, apriums and pluots.
            Our climate is a good climate for growing both plums and apricots as well as hybrids like plumcots. In fact, our desert climate is better for growing these types of fruit than the climate in New Jersey. Our intense sunlight and high temperatures help develop high sugar content and good flavor.
Aprium tart made from interspecific hybrid fruit, the aprium.
            Pick a location in the yard that has plenty of sun but away from walls that produce a lot of radiated heat or reflected light. Dig the planting hole plenty wide and mix a good quality compost with this soil when planting.
            Add water to the hole as you are planting to help settle the soil and stake the tree for the first growing season. Cover the soil with a four-inch layer of wood chips after planting. These “dissolve” into the soil where there is water and continue to improve it in the years to come.

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