Apricots in the Urals and Siberia: planting and care
More recently, the very question of whether apricots grow in Siberia might have seemed strange, because the harsh Siberian climate is clearly not at all what is suitable for a heat-loving tree. However, through the efforts of scientists, the incompatible sometimes becomes compatible, and the incredible becomes possible. The review will discuss the prospects and possibilities of growing apricot in Siberia and the Urals, as well as the best varieties of this fruit tree for these climatic conditions with photos and reviews of gardeners who successfully cultivate such trees in regions of extreme agriculture.
Is it possible to grow apricot in Siberia and the Urals?
In fact, apricots in Siberia have been growing for a long time. Moreover, this region is the historical homeland of this tree. True, this is not entirely about the culture that we are used to seeing in the southern gardens.
Did you know? Section apricot, or Armeniaca, includes a dozen species, among which there is a plant Prunus sibirica, or Siberian apricot. In the wild, it is found in Mongolia, Korea, China, Primorye, Amur, Transbaikalia, that is, in the southern regions of Eastern Siberia.
As soon as scientists realized that Prunus sibirica and Prunus armeniaca (common apricot, characterized by large, soft and sweet fruits) are close relatives and can be crossed with each other, the idea of spreading a popular garden tree to cold Siberian lands ceased to seem unrealistic.
One of the first to implement this plan in the life of Ivan Michurin. He is the author of such well-known varieties as Comrade, Mongol and Best Michurinsky, who opened the list of winter-hardy varieties of edible apricots.
Today, many scientific and horticultural institutions are engaged in the cultivation and cultivation of such crops, including the Baraba nursery in Novosibirsk, the Winter Garden nursery in the Kemerovo region, the Michurinsky nursery in Khabarovsk, the Buryat fruit and berry station in Ulan-Ude, and the Botanical Garden of Irkutsk State University . By the efforts of the employees of these and many other organizations, the list of cold-resistant apricots is constantly expanding, so today you can even find such exotic things as colon-shaped trees, which have almost no crown, small yields, but they take up very little space, and look like real site decoration.
The best varieties of apricot and their description
When choosing an apricot variety for Siberia and the Urals, one should pay attention not only to frost resistance, but also to other, no less important characteristics.
Important! Winter hardiness and hardiness are words that are not synonymous. The second term refers to the ability of wood to remain at lower temperatures, while the concept of "winter hardiness", in addition, also includes resistance to temperature extremes and return frosts.
Siberia - The region is large, and the climate here is also diverse. Despite the fact that the main part of this region of Eurasia belongs to risky farming zones, some of its areas (primarily southern) are quite suitable for growing heat-loving trees such as apricots. Yet, when choosing the right variety, one must be selective. Below are eight good options that you should pay attention to.
Bred by breeding by crossing several varieties at once: Alexander early, Best Michurinsky, Overinsky precocious, Krasnoshchekoy and Korolevsky.
The resulting tree grows moderately, has a dense, elongated crown shape. The bark is dense, brown in color, has transverse lentils. The crown is formed by large matte leaves (up to 10 cm in length), growing abundantly.
Amur fruits are medium-sized (25-30 g), orange in color with a characteristic blush. The pulp is juicy, tender, easily separated from a small bone.
The variety is distinguished by annual abundant productivity, high winter hardiness and stable immunity.
Apricot variety bred for cultivation in hot climates. Resistant to drought and longevity. (lives over 100 years).
The tree has an average size, a thick trunk and a sprawling crown, which is formed by large heart-shaped leaves. Gives large fruits (55-60 g), growing in large breasts. The berries have a sweet taste, soft texture, the pulp is easily separated from a large bone.
Bred in 1996. A large tree grows fast. It has a large gray-brown trunk and a sprawling crown densely covered with matte dark green large leaves.
Apricot varieties Akademik belongs to self-fertile varieties, which is its advantage. Fruits are large (30–45 g), sweet. They have an orange-scarlet hue and a characteristic blush on the side. The pulp is soft, easily separated from the bone. Berries perfectly tolerate transportation.
The result of crossing the Best Michurinsky and Krasnoshchekoy varieties (the latter is grown mainly in the southern latitudes). Thanks to such relatives, the tree has high winter hardiness, but also tolerates periodic summer droughts.
Khabarovsky apricot tree grows quickly and sprawling. The trunk reaches 5 m. Branches are massive, densely overgrown with large green foliage.
Fruits are medium-sized (25–35 g), orange-scarlet, have a pinkish blush on their sides. The pulp is sweet, dense, orange tint.
By its appearance, this representative of frost-resistant self-made apricots owes work to a group of scientists from the Department of Fruit Growing at the Voronezh Agricultural Institute named after Peter I, who in the second half of the last century managed to advance the territory of cultivation of the well-known Krasnoshchekiy variety to the north, crossing it with the early Northern variety that was already popular in Transbaikalia at that time.
Despite the fact that the Triumph of the North is not currently in the State Register of Breeding Achievements of the Russian Federation, it managed to earn popularity not so much among the Siberians as among the inhabitants of the warmer climate point of the Central Black Earth region of Russia. Nevertheless, taking into account the fact that one of the parent lines of the variety has proven itself in the East Siberian region, which, as you know, includes Transbaikalia, Northern Triumph is also suitable for cultivation in this region.
The main characteristics of the variety - a tall and sprawling tree with confident growth power, large (30-60 g) and dense golden-colored fruits with a scarlet blush inherent to the Red-cheeked parent and decent taste characteristics (tasting score 4.5 points or more), relatively low but stable productivity ( 20–25 kg per tree), high resistance to adverse weather conditions, pests and diseases.
It is a direct "descendant" of Krasnoshchekoy. Originally designed for harsh climate. The variety is the brainchild of breeders of the Far Eastern branch of the Agricultural Research Institute (DalNIISH), where in the 80s of the last century it was created by pollinating the Best Michurinsky pollen obtained directly from several popular apricots. In addition to the aforementioned Krasnoshchekoy, in the genetic formula of Seraphim there are also Overensky early ripening and Alexander early.
Did you know? The word “seraphim” comes from the Jewish day “seraph” (flame), and sometimes this term refers to a dragon spewing fire. In the Old Testament, the six-winged seraphim, as the angels closest to God, fulfilled the prophecies of the Most High on earth, punishing the sinners with the fire and glorifying the Creator with hymns.
A variety of unknown selection is often called the champion of winter hardiness, but this characteristic is valid only for the territory of the Moscow Region and other regions of the Central region of the Russian Federation. In Siberia, however, Snegiryok is also grown and sometimes successfully, mainly due to the compact tree (in height it does not exceed one and a half meters), which must be covered for the winter.
Important! When growing heat-loving crops in extremely cold areas, the tree needs to be formed as low as possible, sometimes literally in the form of a bush, so it is easier for the plant to transfer both low temperatures and sharp winds.
It appeared on the basis of the Far Eastern Research Institute of Agriculture, but not as a result of crossbreeding of different varieties, but as a random seedling of unidentified Siberian apricot growing in Khakassia (Altai Territory, East Siberian Economic Region of Russia). In 2002, the winter-hardy variety was included in the State Register of Breeding Achievements of the Russian Federation and recommended for cultivation in Siberia, namely in the Irkutsk Region, Krasnoyarsk Territory, Buryatia, Khakassia, Yakutia, Tyva and Transbaikalia.
Did you know? The word "Baikal" in the title does not refer to the Siberian lake, but is the name of the breeder who created the variety. I. L. Baikalov is one of the founders of the idea of creating apricots for Siberia, for which he is noted in the Russian Book of Records.
The variety belongs to early and ripe, forms rather large (25–37 g) fruits of a slightly flattened shape, “smart” orange with a red barrel. Productivity provides an average (20 kg per tree), but stable. Important disadvantages include self-infertility and a high tendency to melt wood (one of the main problems when growing apricots and peaches in regions with a harsh climate).
For the Urals
The Ural climate is particularly severe, and for apricots gentle, the main danger is not so much low temperatures (although frosts in the region reach –40 ° C), but significant and sharp temperature fluctuations, including a sudden change in severe frosts and long thaws and daily changes in weather. In addition, a large amount of snow and its periodic melting is accompanied by stagnation of water in the soil, which is detrimental to most apricots.Finally, spring back frosts, sometimes coinciding with the flowering phase of fruit trees, are a significant risk.
For this reason, only the most winter-hardy and hardy apricot varieties can be used for cultivation in the Urals. True, they do not differ in elite fruits, but the opportunity to have a harvest of their own fruits on the site is already a great success for the inhabitants of this region.
The original Ural variety. Its appearance is due to scientists of the South Ural Research Institute of Horticulture and Potato (Chelyabinsk), which recorded a successful result of random pollination of Manchu apricot.
Did you know? Manchurian apricot (Latin Prunus mandschurica) - a rare and extremely beautiful representative of the plum genus of the apricot section. The main feature of the species is the huge size of the tree (up to 12 m in height), durability and high frost resistance, although the fruit produces very small.
The tree is medium-sized, early ripe. It is difficult to classify the elite variety according to marketability and taste characteristics: the fruits are small, not more than 10-12 g, round and regular in shape, like nuts. The skin color is yellow with a raspberry blush, the taste is not bad, but it has a characteristic sourness. With good yields, Chelyabinsk early has several disadvantages: late entry into the fruiting phase and lack of ability to pollinate independently.
Kichiginsky can be called the closest neighbor of the Ural early, in any case, both varieties were bred in the same place almost simultaneously and have the same recommendations regarding zoning. The Kichiginsky genetic formula also contains Manchu apricot, which was pollinated by an unknown representative of the Siberian line of apricots to create a new variety. Ripens later than its relative. Otherwise, both the external and taste characteristics of the fruits in the variety are very similar to the early Chelyabinsk.
The piquant genetic formula is also based on the Manchu apricot, which has been freely polluted by an unknown variety..
The tree is medium-sized, the fruits are round, orange with a red blush, but larger than those of Chelyabinsk early and Kichiginsky - up to 16 years old. They look beautiful and deserve a high commodity mark, but the taste characteristics, as it should be for the "wild game", medium - not higher than 3.6 points out of five. Spicy fruiting begins in the fourth year, in addition to high winter hardiness, has good immunity to diseases and pestsIt easily tolerates drought, yields decent and regular crops, and also, importantly, it is moderately self-fertile, that is, it can form fruits without the participation of pollinators, although to a lesser extent than in the presence of “helpers”.
The originator of Snezhinsky, like the previous three varieties, is the Ural Federal Agrarian Research Center of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, however this apricot was bred later and is the same age as this century (state registration of the variety, however, occurred three years later).
Snezhinsky, in fact, is a subsidiary of Piquant, since it is a free seedling of this variety. However, compared with its parent, this apricot has more interesting characteristics - large-fruited: Snezhinsky forms fruits weighing 22–23 g, which is 40% higher than the similar parameters of Piquant.Having inherited moderate self-fertility from the ancestor, Snezhinsky at the same time shows higher productivity indicators - 60–75 kg of apricots can be harvested from one tree, which is more than a worthy result for a species grown under initially unfavorable conditions.
Unlike the four previous varieties, Uralets is not in the State register of selection achievements of the Russian Federation, which does not make this apricot less popular among Ural gardeners.The variety was bred on the basis of the same scientific institution, has common authors with K. Snezhinsky - K. Mullayanov and F. Gasimov. More than ten years ago, scientists managed to select the best version of the Kichiginsky apricot using the free pollination method, since then varietal trials of the novelty have been underway and, possibly, its registration is just around the corner.
Important! If Snezhinsky is essentially a variation of Piquant improved in terms of fruit size and some other indicators, then the exact same thing can be said about the Uralets – Kichiginsky pair.
Features of planting and further care for apricot
The biological feature of apricot is a short period of winter dormancy. As long as the temperatures remain stably low, the tree tolerates cold without problems, however, starting from the second half of winter, the plant is sensitive to weather changes: as soon as frost gives way to a thaw, the apricot comes to life. It is at this moment that the tree becomes defenseless against a sharp cooling - the awakened buds can damage even minor frosts. From this point of view, the stably cold climate of the Far East and Eastern Siberia for apricot may be more favorable than the changeable weather of the Moscow Region and the southern regions of Siberia.
In Western Siberia, a fruit tree lies in wait for another problem - bark heating. This is due to the fact that in the region heavy snowfalls are sometimes accompanied by high air temperature, as a result, the roots of the tree are in soft (not frozen) earth, but cannot breathe due to the dense snowdrift on the surface. Such an imbalance leads to a violation of the structure of the wood, as a result, the apricot dies.
Important! In the regions located north of Voronezh, the death of apricots after winter is overwhelmingly explained by bark heating.
- The best rootstock for apricots grown in regions with snowy and intermittent winters is plum, cherry plum or thorns. These trees are not afraid of stagnation of water in the root neck, however, the height of the trunk before grafting should be at least 60–80 cm, in addition, when choosing a stock form, it is important to consider its compatibility with a particular variety.
- It is better to plant a seedling not on a flat surface, but on a slope. If the relief does not imply hillyness, the slope should be organized artificially by constructing a hill with a diameter of about 2 m and a height of at least 0.5 m on the site. A hole is dug at the top of this hill and a tree is already planted in it. In order for the “hill” to keep its shape, it is better to plant it abundantly with lawn grass, which has a dense but shallow root system.
- When planting an apricot, the root neck should not be deepened.
- No boards should be made to hold water along the edges of the trunk circle.
- Standard winter winter irrigation of apricots grown in cold regions is not carried out.
Diseases, pests and their control
Indigenous Siberian apricots, used to breed cultivated hybrids with increased winter hardiness, genetically have strong immunity, so the most common diseases and pests usually do not do much harm to such trees. Thus, the systemic use of toxic chemicals in gardening is not required.
To prevent damage in spring and autumn, it is enough to treat the trees with one of the modern biological products that are safe from an environmental point of view and compatible with the concept of organic farming that is gaining more and more popularity. Examples of such funds are Fitoverm, Fitosporin, Guapsin, Trichodermin, Fitodoctor.
The benefits and harms of the Siberian fruit
The chemical composition of apricots only slightly depends on their variety, so to say that the "northern" fruits have some fundamental differences from the "southerners" in terms of their beneficial properties or contraindications would not be entirely true. Nevertheless, there are some features here, and they testify to the advantages of northern fruits over southern ones. There are two reasons for this. The first has already been mentioned - it consists in the absence of the need to use heavy and poisonous chemistry when growing a tree, traces of which, penetrating the fruits, can be fraught with danger to the health of those who eat them. But it's not only that.
It turns out that the need to survive in very harsh climatic conditions makes plants accumulate the maximum amount of biologically active substances. And since in living nature all processes are balanced and proceed according to the same laws, it is precisely those substances that a plant needs for development, and are the most valuable that is present in its fruits for us.
Important! The appearance and taste of Siberian apricots is inferior to European hybrids, however, in terms of biochemical composition, these fruits are often significantly superior to products grown in ideal greenhouse conditions.
It is real today to get your own apricot crop in Siberia and the Urals. Not all varieties are suitable for this purpose, in addition, planting and agricultural technology of growing thermophilic tree in conditions close to extreme has features. However, having mastered this science, the gardener has every chance to get his own apricots as a reward, and if their external and taste characteristics are inferior to the elite natives of the tropics, their number will definitely not only satisfy the need for fresh fruits in the summer, but also make good reserves for a long northern winter.