The most important apricot production centers in the world are Anatolia. Turkey is in the first place in the production of wet apricot in the world with production of 811.609 tons in 2013. However, the yield per tree is more than 100 kg in agriculture, but this amount is 50-60 kg.
The origin of the apricot is disputed. It was known in Armenia during ancient times, and has been cultivated there for so long that it is often thought to have originated there. The apricot was brought to Anatolia through Iran and the Trans Caucasus during Alexander the Great's campaigns in Asia (330-323 BC). Later, during the invasion of the Romans to Anatolia, the Armenian merchants first transported them to Italy, then to Greece and then to Europe.
Apricot production in our country is mainly carried out in Malatya, Elazığ, Erzincan, Sivas, Mersin (Mut), Antalya, Hatay, Kars, Iğdır. In the province of Isparta, apricot production is being done on the north side of Eğirdir lake.
Soil and Climate
Apricots need a very specific climate to grow and produce fruit properly. Although it is a deciduous tree that requires a period of cold in winter, being a tree that blooms very early is very sensitive to late last winter or spring frosts. It prefers the warmer climates where it can be grown as a normal tree or shrub in a sunny location, sheltered from cold winds.
Poor blossoming and low yields is the result of temperatures increase in early spring leading to early blossoming. Resistance to low temperatures is similar to that of peaches. Heavy rains and high humidity during blossoming or close to harvest time, cause damages. Blossoms have low resistance to frost and - 1 °C is sufficiently cold to do damage. Lately, new varieties have been developed that can withstand temperatures of - 20 °C. Certain varieties are sensitive to high temperatures that cause cracking in the fruit.
Soil Selection Consideration for Apricots
It can grow in most of the soils, but deep fertile and well drained loamy soils are more suitable for its growth and development. However, in some varieties, large wild apricots grow in sandy, well drained and less fertile soils.
Apricot Garden Facility
Important factors considered for establishing apricot garden;
- Directions: Because apricot has pile root structure, it can easily grow in places where the grade of slope is up to 20% from slopes. Even apricot is quickly affected by the late spring frosts, so it gives better results on the slopes and ridges rather than on the plains and potholes. In addition, southern slopes should be preferred because of the abundant light and sunshine.
- Soil Depth and Soil Qualities: Apricot does not give good results in cold and deep heavy soil and roots are drowning by drowning. For this reason, sandy-loamy, well-ventilated and lime-rich soils are ideal soil for apricot gardens.
- Ground Water: The most affected matter of the apricot tree is the soil water near the soil surface. For this reason, apricot horticulture should not be installed where the ground water is high.
- Apricot Garden Plant Location: The road condition, proximity to the bazaar or distance should be taken into consideration.
- Market Status: It is necessary to make the selection of varieties considering domestic and foreign market demand.
Preparation of Planting Areas
To obtain a better apricot garden, planting field should be fallow from spring to autumn. If there is no opportunity to kriz, the field must be cleaned from wild weeds until the autumn and the soil must be lifted and rested.
Apricots should be planted in the autumn when there is not much winter cold. Because:
1-Soil and climate planting is more convenient.
2-The rate of taking and holding winter rainfall is high.
3-Provides early development.
It is useful to open the seedling holes at least 2-3 months before planting. While the hole is digging, the stone should be weed out. If the hole includes calcareous, stony, gravely and rubble, the hole should not dug.
The size of the seedling hole varies according to the characteristics of the seedlings.. Ideal form is 60 cm wide, 60 cm long and 60 cm deep pit sewing. After planting, tree basin is mulched with 10 cm thick hay mulch to conserve soil moisture.
Apricot is trained to open vase and modified centre leader system of training, though the open vase system of training is more popular in the hilly regions. At the time of planting, one year old whip is headed back at about 60-70 cm above the ground and 3-5 well spaced shoots are allowed to grow in all directions.
The plants are generally planted at a distance of 5m x 6m or 10m x 10m. Due to the absence of the dwarfing rootstock, high density planting is still to be standardized with proper training and pruning system, and with the use of growth retardants.
Annual Maintenance of Apricot Garden
Planting Pruning: The apricot tree pruning is necessary to produce abundant fruit because they grow on the young branches produced in the previous season. To stimulate growth is necessary pruning of branches in a worse state or old branches, branches that are too close together or crossed.
Pruning Shape: Apricot trees are generally pruned as goble, peak branches or different peak branches.
Crop Pruning: Once the shaped apricot trees have been cropped, they are not pruned too much. Only diseased, broken and interrupted branches should be pruned to prevent light penetration.
The purposes of soil cultivation are;
- Destruction of weeds
- To ensure that various fertilizers are mixed with the soil
- To ensure that the operation of small living entities that provide soil fertility
- Providing respiration of roots and the dissolution of nutrients in the soil and the release of soil
- To ensure that rainwater is easily absorbed by the soil
- To destroy the ball and grub that left by the insects
Though apricot is tolerant to dry atmosphere, it requires irrigation especially during critical periods of fruits growth and development. Water requirement varies with soil, tree age, climatic conditions and irrigation methods. Excess water causes trees to die therefore water should be applied according to the trees' needs. In heavy soil, trees should be irrigated once every 2 - 3 days and once a day in light soils.
As a general information, an irrigation period is recommended as follows;
First irrigation; during planting
Second irrigation; 15 days before harvest
Third irrigation; after harvest
Fourth irrigation; In August
Fifth irrigation; In September
The aim of the fertilizer is to grow the apricot trees, to supply the nutrients needed for blossoming and fruit connection to the soil or to the moss. Trees have a wide variety of nutrients from the soil, they are not found in any kind of soil, or the nutrient ratios decrease over time. If the nutrients are not returned to the soil, the fruit yield and quality will be low because the trees will be weak.
The best way to determine the proper fertilizer variety and amount when fertilizing is soil and leaf analysis.
Amount of fertilizer depends on;
- At the age of the tree,
- The growth of the tree and the amount of fruit,
- To the plant nutrient content of the soil,
- The gubernin used varies according to the nutrient content.
Thinning in apricots is done in table varieties. The best thinning time is when the seedling begins to harden. During the thinning, the small fruit should be torn off, the big ones should be left, the diseased, deformed; double fruits should be torn off. In the end branches, the fruits that come to the tip of the branch are further thinning. It is recommended that the thinning distance is between 4-8 cm.
The fruit should be collected a couple of days before full maturity. Harvesting is done manually and carefully. The fruit’s skin is sensitive to bruising. The harvest season is short, and therefore fruit is picked when its color changes. Selective picking is preferable.
Recently, commercially fresh apricots are rarely to be stored. However, there are occasional storage necessities in some types of table and fruit juice industry.
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