In the genus Apricot, some researchers have up to 14 species. However, 4 types are well-known and well-known: Common apricot (Armeniacavulgaris), A. Manchu (A. mandshurica), A. sibirskiy (A. sibirica) and A. mume (A. mume). The most widespread in the whole world Common apricot. It is cultivated throughout the globe in both hemispheres, occupying large areas, with the exception of the arctic and equatorial zones. The beginning of the apricot culture is lost in the depths of centuries and millennia. This is evidenced by both the finds of its bones during archaeological excavations, and the fact that the varietal richness and originality of the main centers of its culture - Central Asian, Chinese, Iranian-Caucasian and European - could have formed only over many centuries. The youngest of these centers - European - is about 2 millennia old. It is believed that in the era of Alexander the Great and Hellenism, the apricot from the Iranian-Caucasian hearth penetrated into Asia Minor and Greece, and from there to Rome under the name “Malus Armeniaca” (“Armenian apple”). According to some reports, the apricot came to southern Europe also through Egypt.
In the Middle Ages, gardening in Europe developed very slowly, and only about 800 apricot appeared in Germany and Northern France, and in the XIV century. - in England. With the onset of the Renaissance, the spread of apricot accelerated, and already in the 17th - early 18th centuries. he went to North America, South Africa and Russia.
The first "introducer" of apricot in Russia was Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich. The Tsar was extremely inquisitive by nature. Educated, well-read, he loved beauty in everything, delved into all the details of the economy and gardening in his possessions near Moscow. It was under him, in 1654, that 4 "peach plum" trees and 2 "Armenian apple" trees were brought to Moscow through Arkhangelsk. In the XVIII century. apricot became widely known in Russia and was grown in monasteries, in the greenhouses of the nobility, and in the southern parts of Russia - in the open field. The apricot culture penetrated to the south of Russia automatically as the territories of the Crimea, the Caucasus and Turkestan were annexed.
In the 20th century, attempts began to arise to grow apricots north of their usual cultivation areas. The first varieties based on A. mandshurica received I.V. Michurin in Kozlov (now Michurinsk), Tambov region: ‘Satser’, ‘Mongol’, ‘Comrade’ and ‘Best Michurinsky’. Then the work with apricot was continued by his students H.K. Enikeev, M.M. Ulyanishchev and M.N. Venyaminov in the Voronezh region, crossing Michurin varieties with Central Asian and European ones. They obtained varieties: ‘Hardy’, ‘Voronezhsky Large’, ‘Yield’, ‘Rattle’, ‘Yantarny’, ‘Triumph Severniy’, ‘Dessert’, ‘Kolkhozny’, ‘Success’ and many others.
In the Far East, the works of G.T. Kazmina. Based on selection among local A. mandshurica and crossing of this species with European varieties, a wide range of Khabarovsk apricots has now been created: ‘Amur’, ‘Khabarovskiy’, ‘Serafim’, ‘Akademik’, ‘Petr Komarov’, ‘Yubileiny’ and others.
In Moscow, Professor A.K. Skvortsov, starting from the 50s. XX century, a cultural population was created A. vulgaris with a slight admixture A. mandshurica... Now L.A. is continuing his work in Moscow. Kramarenko. The apricot population is expanding, gardens have been created in 27 monasteries in the Moscow and neighboring regions. Attempts are being made to grow apricots even further north - in the north of the Vladimir and Tver regions.
In 2005, 8 varieties of Moscow apricots were registered in the State Register: ‘Alyosha’, ‘Lel’, ‘Iceberg’, ‘Tsarskiy’, ‘Countess’, ‘Aquarius’, ‘Monastyrskiy’, ‘Favorite’. These varieties are adapted to the conditions of the Moscow region and are relatively winter-hardy. However, when growing them on personal plots, gardeners face difficulties that are half dependent on the whims of the newest culture for us.The other half of the difficulties are provided by the gardeners themselves with improper planting and care.
For the successful cultivation of apricots in the Moscow and neighboring regions, certain conditions and rules must be observed.
The choice of the landing site is of the utmost importance. Moscow apricots are not yet so adapted in our zone to grow anywhere. For apricots, the warmest and well-lit place is required, closed from the north and east, and preferably from all winds. The place should not be low, where cold air flows. It is best if there is a small southern or southwestern slope. During the summer season, plants should gain as much heat as possible, store as much carbohydrates as possible. Then, turning into protective high-molecular complexes, these substances will help the trees to winter better. Being in a damp, cold, shaded place, apricots will not pick up a sufficient amount of substances necessary for overwintering, they will get sick, get frostbite and will soon die.
Soils for apricots should be light, well permeable to water and air, with a neutral or slightly alkaline reaction. If the soil is heavy, clayey, or consists of one peat or one sand, then digging holes is required the more, the worse the soil. On clay soil, drainage in the form of gravel, broken brick and sand is laid on the bottom of the pit. On sandy soil, a layer of clay 20-30 cm thick is laid on the bottom. Then the pit is filled with a mixture of clay, peat and sand in equal parts with the addition of dolomite flour or ash, everything must be thoroughly mixed. You can add a little (1 bucket) rotted manure or compost. Apricots are not particularly picky about the nutrient content of the soil, so when planting, you should not overuse fertilizers. And with further growth, rotted manure should be applied along the projection of the crown, focusing on the development of the tree: if the growth is too large, do not apply or reduce fertilizing, and if growth is weak, increase it. It is always good to add ash, which deoxidizes the soil and serves as a valuable fertilizer containing potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and many other elements necessary for plants.
In natural habitat, apricot grows on mountain slopes, sometimes of great steepness. In China, they even use apricot trees for sliding slopes in order to strengthen the latter. Our terrain is mostly flat, and there are almost no happy owners of slopes. Therefore, I strongly recommend that all gardeners plant apricots on artificial mounds with a height of 70-100 cm and a diameter of up to 3 m. The mounds can be even smaller if making them is difficult for older gardeners. The main thing is at least some hillocks.
When planting, a circular roller of earth should be made at the top of the mound so that the water does not drain off during watering. In autumn, the watering roller must be removed so that the water can flow freely from the mound from all sides. The root collar - the borderline place between the roots and the stem - should not be buried under any circumstances. Even if the first roots are a little bare, this is not a problem. Scary for an apricot when the root collar is underground. In the spring, it is necessary to fill in a new roller of soil for irrigation, and so every year.
Apricots in our area very often suffer and even die from bark podoprevanie. Correct landing on hillocks can significantly reduce the risk of this scourge. It is also very useful to trample the snow near the trunks, since the snow cover helps to evaporate.
There is an opinion that the apricot is drought-resistant. This is not true. Apricot tolerates dry air well, but not soil. I have repeatedly seen in Central Asia dead apricot orchards disconnected from irrigation. Like all plants, apricot needs regular watering, especially when transplanting. Only in moist soil can new roots form. Watering is necessary for apricots in the spring, when the main growth of the shoots is taking place.Watering is also necessary after harvest. Or during a drought, which we rarely have, but still happens. In the second half of summer, watering should be reduced or stopped, because trees should no longer grow, but only prepare for winter, the shoots should ripen, and water is not needed here.
But trees cannot stand stagnant water. If someone on the site has close groundwater, or in the spring there is a long flooding, then such a site is not suitable for growing apricots.
All over the world, from time immemorial, apricots have been pruned. Trees are not cut only in Central Asia, or they are cut there occasionally. Apparently, this is due to the fact that trees feel completely comfortable in such a climate, they do not get sick, there are a lot of them, and local residents almost never go without a harvest.
In our climate, pruning is essential. When pruned, the fruits become much larger, better colored, and most importantly, they get sick less. Pruning allows the plant to be in a state of more intense growth, metabolism increases, immunity is enhanced.
Cut apricots in early spring, you can start at the end of February if the weather is warm. It is advisable to finish pruning the apricot in the first decade of April. Then you can cut the rest of the stone fruit, and then the pome fruit.
- the crown is formed (this is especially important at a young age); when the tree reaches 2-3 m, the main conductor is cut out, and the crown begins to fall apart, lower, giving preference to shoots in a horizontal direction;
- diseased and weak branches are removed;
- the crown is thinned out by removing unnecessary shoots - parallel, directed inside the crown or in another undesirable direction;
- the shoots are shortened in order to prevent exposing the branches in the future (annual shoots of apricot with good care can reach 2 m or more), the longer the shoot is, the more it is necessary to shorten; vertical shoots shorten more than horizontal ones.
All cuts must be done carefully, with good tools, without leaving hemp. Slicing of the sections is done immediately. Garden pitch hardens in cold weather, so you can cover it with oil paint, for example, Surik, or even better Kuzbaslak. Modern expensive putties can also be used.
In late autumn, the trunks and main skeletal branches of apricots should be whitened. The best whitewashing is folk: a water mixture in equal parts of clay, slaked lime and fresh manure. You can also add copper sulfate and ash. It turns out a chatterbox that must be interfered with all the time. If you cannot get these components, you can buy dry whitewash in the store. Dissolve copper sulfate in very hot water (it does not dissolve in cold water), about a teaspoon of crystalline powder per liter of water. Add dry whitewash to this blue solution and stir well until the consistency of sour cream. If the whitewash is washed off during the winter, it should be renewed in the spring. It is not necessary to take a ready-made whitewash containing adhesive substances, which will not be washed off for several years. You make life easier for yourself and make it difficult for the tree, because these additives impair air exchange, clog pores and can harm wood that is not immediately visible.
The whitewash reflects the sun's rays, prevents the trunks from heating up, and the tissues from prematurely leaving the dormant state. Thus, cracks and frost cracks are avoided. The substances contained in the whitewash: clay, manure, lime, copper sulphate, ash, etc. - have a therapeutic effect on wood tissue.
Any plant requires care, but apricot in particular, it is still southerner. Only hardworking and caring gardeners can master this culture.
Photo by the author