Good source of Vitamin A and beta-carotene. Antioxidant properties prevent free radicals from oxidizing the bad form of cholesterol (LDL), a first step in forming plaque in blood vessels. One form of Vitamin A, retinol, essential to light sensitivity. Impaired night vision early sign of deficiency. Good source of dietary fiber to support digestion, elimination and regulation of blood sugar.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Vitamins – A and C
Minerals – Potassium, others in trace amounts
Reduces risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, heart disease, lung cancer, perhaps colon cancer. Vitamin A associated with reduced risk of cancer in organs lined with epithelial tissue.
How to Grow
Many types of apricot cultivars; dwarfs and standard. Best depends on climate and space available. Dwarfs grow near 6 feet tall. If fan trained, grow to 15 feet. With minimal pruning, standard cultivars can reach 30 feet. If planting only one tree, use self-fruiting cultivar. Need sunny spot sheltered from wind. Soil should be well drained and fertile, with pH near 6. Prepare soil by working in plenty of organic matter and some plant mix two spades deep in radius as far as you think roots will spread. Be careful not to over fertilize with nutrients, which causes rapid growth and makes tree more susceptible to pests and disease. During growth, thin out branches that crowd the tree. Thinning heavily grouped fruits on a branch increases size of remaining fruits and prevents excess weight on branches. Produces fruit 2-3 years after sprouting. Ready to pick when soft. For dried apricots, pick while firm and split them.
Apricot pests include red spider mite, aphids, birds, sawfly, green fruit worm and peach tree borers. Tiny red spider mites problematic in dry weather, causing yellow spots on leaves and visible webs. Spray leaves regularly with insecticidal soap. Control aphids by planting French marigolds to attract predator ladybugs and hover flies. Also spray off with strong water stream. Repel birds by surrounding trees with netting. Distract birds by planting more appealing mulberry trees. Caterpillar stage of sawfly makes fruit inedible by boring holes. Control sawfly pupae by hoeing around bottom of tree to expose them for birds to eat. If large infestation, spray insecticide like Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) or pyrethrum. Bt also controls green fruit worms. Look for small sawdust-like buildups next to holes. Probe into holes to kill borers.
When selecting trees, choose one grafted to a seedling apricot rootstock. Generally grows better than ones grafted with other rootstocks. When thinning fruits, pick out central fruit first, as they tend to be odd shaped.