Apricots are small early blooming trees in the genus Prunus cultivated for their delicious fruit. Because they bloom early, any late frost can severely damage the flowers, hence fruit set. So how hardy are apricot trees? Are there any apricot trees suited to grow in zone 4? Read on to learn more.
How Hardy are Apricot Trees?
Because they blossom early, in February or late March, the trees can be susceptible to late frosts and are generally only suited to USDA zones 5-8. That said, there are some cold hardy apricot trees – zone 4 suitable apricot trees.
Apricot trees as a general rule are fairly hardy. It’s just the flowers that can get blasted by a late frost. The tree itself will likely sail through the frosts, but you may not get any fruit.
About Apricot Trees in Zone 4
A note on hardiness zones before we delve into suitable apricot tree varieties for zone 4. Typically, a plant that is hardy to zone 3 can take winter temperatures between -20 and -30 degrees F. (-28 to -34 C.). This is a rule of thumb more or less since you may be able to grow plants that are classed as suited to a zone higher than your region, especially if you offer them winter protection.
Apricots may be self-fertile or require another apricot to pollinate. Before you select a cold hardy apricot tree, be sure to do some research to find out if you need more than one in order to get fruit set.
Apricot Tree Varieties for Zone 4
Westcot is an excellent choice for zone 4 apricots and is probably the number one choice for cold climate apricot growers. The fruit is wonderful eaten out of hand. The tree gets to about 20 feet tall and is ready to harvest in early August. It does need other apricots such as Harcot, Moongold, Scout or Sungold to achieve pollination. This variety is a little more difficult to come by than the other cultivars but well worth the effort.
Scout is the next best bet for zone 4 apricot trees. The tree attains a height of about 20 feet and is ready to harvest in early August. It needs other apricots to successfully pollinate. Good options for pollination are Harcot, Moongold, Sungold and Westcot.
Moongold was developed in 1960 and is a bit smaller than Scout, around 15 feet tall. Harvest is in July and it also needs a pollinator, such as Sungold.
Sungold was also developed in 1960. Harvest is a little later than Moongold, in August, but well worth the wait for these small yellow fruit with a red blush.
Other cultivars that are suited to zone 4 come out of Canada and are a little more difficult to obtain. Cultivars within the Har-series are all self-compatible but will have a better fruit set with another cultivar nearby. They grow to around 20 feet in height and are ready for harvest from late July to mid-August. These trees include: