The Best Locations for Planting Apricot Trees

People have been cultivating apricots for thousands of years, and this delicate and delectable fruit grows best in locations similar to where these plants originate. Apricot trees need a certain number of hours between 32º and 45ºF (0º and 7.2ºC) in order to set fruit, known as chill hours. However, each variety has its own requirement for chill hours with some needing more and some less.


Places Where Apricots Grow Best

Apricots probably originated in Armenia, and they have also been grown for thousands of years in parts of China. Currently, most commercial apricots are grown in the Central Valley of California, although Southern Australia also has a significant production.

In order to thrive and produce fruit, apricot trees need to be planted in a location which does not have long periods of freezing weather or late frost. However, fruit does not develop unless the trees receive a minimum number of chill hours, usually between 500 and 1000.

Chill hours are the number of hours the tree spends in temperatures between 32º and 45º (Oº and 7.2ºC) after the tree has lost its leaves in the fall.

Because apricots bloomin February and March, areas with heavy rains or winds in these months are less suitable locations for growing this fruit. Rain during flowering and fruit set can also lead to bacterial canker disease.

Very hot weather can also produce problems for ripening apricots, and the best locations for growing this fruit is where summer temperatures are moderate and spring weather is mild and dry, such as USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 8.

Best Soil Types for Growing Apricots

Apricots grow best in deep, well-drained soil. These trees require regular, deep watering, so heavy soils can lead to diseases in the root systems because of drainage problems. To find out what type of soil you have in your area, contact the Agricultural Extension office in your location for soil survey information.

Apricot trees are also sensitive to salt and boron in the soil. A laboratory soil test can determine the concentration of these chemicals in your soil and give you recommendations for correcting soil salinity and pH problems for growing apricots.

Apricot Varieties for Warmer Regions

If you live in an area with less than 500 chill hours per year, you still may be able to grow apricots by planting a low chill hour variety. Some low chill hour apricot cultivars are:

  • Gold Kist – 300 chill hours
  • Shaa-Kar Pareh – 350 to 450 chill hours
  • Blenheim – 400 chill hours
  • Tropic Gold – 350 chill hours
  • Autumn Glo – 500 chill hours
  • Brittany Gold – 500 to 700 chill hours
  • Flavor Giant – 500 or less chill hours

Care for your apricot trees in warmer regions in the same way as in other locations.