JohnnyB60
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I’m pretty sure I killed my apricot tree, but how?

My apricot tree is about 15 years old and has produced some fine apricots over of the years, but not so much in the last couple of years. I was worried that it may have been the same bugs that killed my 1st apricot and peach tree 10 years ago.

This year my neighbor was complaining about rats so I started looking for signs of them and I found a pile of apricot seeds along with rat droppings near a common wall between the properties. So I set up a trap and caught one. Well I was horrified because I’ve never even knew they were anywhere nearby and I panicked. I removed all the apricots from the tree and I also cut all the branches with new apricots.

This is what it looked like right after I pruned it:

[img]https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh176/SleeperN06/Gardening/IMG_3990.jpg[/img]

NOW IT LOOKS LIKE THIS:

[img]https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh176/SleeperN06/Gardening/Deadapricottree_1.jpg[/img]

My question is did my tree die because of the time of pruning or of how much I pruned?

I also did the same thing to an apple tree about 10 ft away and lost 5 major branches that completely dried up. I still have about half the tree still growing. But it’s a little iffy and I may lose it as well.

All of my fruit trees have been excellent producers for about 5 years then slowly went south manly because of bugs. I’m debating on whether or not I’ll plant any more fruit trees because I’m tired of cleaning up fruit of the ground, fly’s and now rats.
Last edited by JohnnyB60 on Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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lorax
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Time of pruning was probably what did it in - apricots prefer to be pruned while they're dormant, not when they're in production. They can actually bleed to death if pruned while fruiting.

Obviously you were freaked out about the rats, but it does sound like you overreacted a bit in pruning back the trees. Rats will normally only eat ripe fruit, particularly stonefruit, and then normally only after it's fallen. They'll also eat fruit that the tree drops prematurely (which is what it sounds like was happening). I grow plums and peaches in an area where large, freaky rats are fairly common, and I've found that I can avoid their presence entirely by letting the cats out into the yard - even the smell of a feline presence seems to deter them. So maybe you can borrow a cat?

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rainbowgardener
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Before I even read Lorax's response, I was going to suggest outdoor cats. We feed a couple of "feral" cats that appeared, every day. They are clean and friendly and they make sure that the only rat, mouse, shrew, etc we ever see is dead. We just recently saw one of the cats with a critter in his mouth. Later we found the critter, which was a fair sized rat with not a mark on it. I think the rat died of fright. I would wonder if it was the same one, but it was in the exact same spot where we saw the cat with it. I guess once it died and couldn't be chased, it was no fun any more so the cat just left it there.
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JohnnyB60
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I have a cat, but I don’t let them out anymore because I found out that some of the neighbors hate cats.

I also found out that we had a rat problem for a few years and almost all the neighbors have been using poison. We used to have a lot of feral cats but they have been disappearing at an alarming rate and I suspect the poison.
I just spent a $150 on traps mostly electronic ones and have killed a total 6.

And I also found one drowned in my fish pond.
[img]https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh176/SleeperN06/Fishpond/DrownedRat_1.jpg[/img]

I haven’t seen any more signs of them since I’ve been using traps, but I can’t stop them from coming back.
Last edited by JohnnyB60 on Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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lorax
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Wow that's such a tiny little rat! The last one Ditto brought in was about half her size, and she's a big kitty - that looks like an overgrown mouse. Regardless, one rat is too many in the garden and I do understand your distress.

This said, if your cats are even a teensy shred obedient (which is really all that one can hope for with cats) you should be able to confine them to your yard without upsetting the neighbours.

There's also another side to the coin - those cat-hating neighbours? I'm willing to bet that they hate the rats more. You could try, diplomatically of course, suggesting that if they were just the teensiest bit more tolerant of the presence of cats, the rat problem would disappear nearly entirely, and gratis since you're just letting your own (reasonably well-behaved) pets out.

JohnnyB60
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lorax wrote:Wow that's such a tiny little rat! The last one Ditto brought in was about half her size, and she's a big kitty - that looks like an overgrown mouse. Regardless, one rat is too many in the garden and I do understand your distress........
It’s kind of an illusion because the gold fish are approximately 10â€

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ReptileAddiction
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Replant! I agree that is definitely why it died.

JohnnyB60
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I was at Home Depot tonight buying some Amend and I was looking at some fruit trees. I was really tempted to buy another Apricot tree, but if I do I will not plant it in the same spot and I’m thinking more in the middle of the yard this time. I think if the rats come back they will have a longer run and the dogs will get them. My only problem is that it will have to be in the middle of my new lawn that’s going in next week.
The old tree took up about a 10’ dia. area and I don’t want apricots dropping on that much of the lawn unless I can stretch out a net or something for 1 month a year. Plus I may have to plant two trees because I’m not sure if there are anymore apricot trees in the neighborhood.

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rainbowgardener
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Most (but not all) varieties of apricots are self-pollinating, so you do not need two trees. If you just check to be sure the variety of apricot you buy is one of those, you will be fine with one.
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JohnnyB60
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rainbowgardener wrote:Most (but not all) varieties of apricots are self-pollinating, so you do not need two trees. If you just check to be sure the variety of apricot you buy is one of those, you will be fine with one.
Thanks! That will help because I would also like a peach tree. All my trees in the past would produce a lot of apricots but only had a 2 week window to harvest in June. I lost a lot due to high seasonal winds when they 1st blossomed and then the birds took about 20%. We tried canning but June was not a good time for us, because of so many things were going on then, so one tree is enough for me.

When I 1st bought my place there was a peach tree that produced the best peaches I’ve ever had. The flavor was so good, unlike any peaches I’ve ever had from the store. The skin was thin and the insides was soft but not mushy. I would just bite a hole in the side and literally suck the fruit right out of the skin leaving the pit inside. I never knew the name of it but the peaches were ready in early July within a few weeks after the apricots were finished.

The tree produced so many peaches that I would share with the whole neighborhood. A lot of people who did not like peaches because of the skin loved these and everybody would be excited when they were ready. The tree fell victim to the peach bore and there was nothing I could do to stop it and it died quickly. The following year I lost the apricot tree to the same bore.

I tried looking to replace the peach tree but did not know what it was called and I didn’t want what my next door neighbor had. Their tree harvested in September and although they were large & looked good they were nothing like my peaches. So I never did get another peach tree. :(

JohnnyB60
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Found these old photos of the tree in 2004

Apricot tree in 2004
[img]https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh176/SleeperN06/Gardening/ApricotTree001.jpg[/img]

Peach tree in 2004
[img]https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh176/SleeperN06/Gardening/Cindyinpeachtree.jpg[/img] [img]https://i256.photobucket.com/albums/hh176/SleeperN06/Gardening/Peaches.jpg[/img]

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ReptileAddiction
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I highly recommend writing down the varieties. I hadnt written it down yet and my stupid gardner took the tag off. Now I cant find out stuff I need to know about to take care of it that is variety specific.



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