Bumper crop plus warning of Prunus diseases
I feel like I’ve been living on apricots for most of the last week. My tree, Kioto, was a trial plant given to me from Lubera and I really doubted whether it would fruit this far north (Gateshead).
However, despite the blossom being threatened by the Beast from the East, it struggled on through it give its biggest crop so far.
The only trouble is, they’re a ‘glut crop’ and despite being absolutely delicious – nothing like the mealy, tasteless offerings you buy in the supermarket – you’ll struggle to eat them all.
Even in the fridge, if they’re touching another fruit, there’s a tendency for them to bruise and start to rot.
I ended up giving most of them away, as they are too delicious to cook with – they beg to be eaten raw.
Therefore, I challenge anyone who says they don’t like apricots to try growing their own.
Kioto especially is like a different fruit altogether and looks so pretty, with pink spring blossom, followed by new red-tipped leaf growth and the red/orange furry fruits in late July/August.
For more information on self-fertile apricots, ideal for smaller gardens, visit Lubera’s UK website.
Prunus disease alert
Now the bad news – the tree’s branches are exuding an amber-like gum.
Unsure of what it is, I consulted the RHS, which says ‘gum production (gummosis) from the bark of Prunus species is actually quite common, and in the absence of dead, sunken bark is likely to have resulted from causes other than bacterial canker, for example, physical damage or environmental stresses.’
This would figure, having had to cope with extreme cold then hot, dry temperatures, as the tree is otherwise healthy.
However, if your Prunus (apricot, plum, cherry, etc) is exuding gum and has sunken bark or ‘shot holes’ in the leaves, it could be bacterial canker – the RHS has more information here.
Even worse, there is the new threat of Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni, which is notifiable and has been found by Defra on imported plant material, although is not yet established in the UK.
Any suspected cases should be reported to The Animal and Plant Health Agency, Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate, telephone: 01904 405 138 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.