When you hear the name “gold kist apricot tree”, doesn’t it make you think of a fruit that’s been kissed by the sun? It just makes you instantly think of a sweet fruit that has been touched by the sun’s magic.
If you’re a fan of apricots, you’ll love the Gold Kist Apricot Tree. These apricots fruit early in the season, even earlier than most fruits in general.
Fortunately, you may enjoy apricots right in your backyard or even the front. And care is relatively simple, as long as the tree gets enough sunlight and a relatively ideal amount of water.
History of the Gold Kist Apricot Tree
Apricots first were found in China, including the gold kist ones. In fact, researchers have discovered that apricots were grown in China and other regions of Central Asia starting in the 2000 BC period. The country’s traders brought apricots on the journey down the Great Silk Road.
Today, apricots grow in many parts of the world, such as what was once Persia, including Pakistan. It’s thought that the traders from China introduced apricots to the Persians. Fortunately for them, they now grow them commercially.
Apricots were once known as “golden plums” or “zardaloo.” Nowadays, the gold kist apricots are sometimes referred to as “Blenheim apricots.”
Currently, there are dozens of varieties of apricots, including the gold kist apricot. They’re all similar in taste but vary based on size and color.
Tree / Fruit Characteristics
Typically, gold kist apricot trees grow between 15 and 25 feet tall. However, you could get dwarf and semi-dwarf types that don’t get as tall. The dwarf versions only get about eight feet high, which is ideal for home cultivators who plan to keep them in a pot. You could also choose a semi-dwarf tree, which tends to get around 15 feet tall.
A gold kist apricot tree doesn’t have a wide spread. At maturity, they usually have a width of around 10 to 20 feet.
The leaves of the tree are a medium shade of green that really pops, whether it’s the only tree in your yard or it’s surrounded by others. It blooms early in the spring. During this time, you’ll see pink or white flowers blooming. They’re a highly fragrant flower, so you’ll definitely notice the change in the air.
You’ll notice that this apricot will fruit earlier in the year than other fruit trees. Generally, apricots are small, yellowish-orange fruits. They look similar to a peach, but you definitely can tell the difference when you bite into one.
Gold kist apricot trees need sun during their fruit-bearing month, which is June, especially. This is when you can harvest them. However, they need a bit of cold during the winter without cold spells in the spring. You may wonder why a plant would like a colder winter. The reason is that during the cold, the plant doesn’t release growth inhibitors. Therefore, when the spring weather comes, the warmth allows the plant to produce growth inhibitors that allow you to have apricots when it’s warm enough for the fruit to grow.
Ideally, this is why Gold Kist apricot trees grow best in zones seven through nine, based on the US Department of Agriculture’s hardiness zone categorization. States in zone seven include Georgia, Idaho, South Carolina, and Massachusetts. States in zone eight include Washington D.C., Texas, Florida, and North Carolina. If you’re in Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, Louisiana, or Oregon, you’re part of zone nine.
Keep in mind that there are more states in each one of these zones. You should also know that an entire state isn’t always in the same zone. Sometimes, a state will have multiple zones based on the area. You’ll need to bring up the USDA’s map and determine which zone you’re in specifically before you decide to plant an apricot or any plant really.
Size and Spacing
As mentioned above, the spread of the Gold Kist apricot tree at the top usually won’t grow beyond 10 to 20 feet across, which means you may be able to grow multiple apricot, fruit, ornamental, or other trees in your yard. Generally, you want to space your apricot trees at least 20 feet apart from other apricot trees. The same applies to other trees. However, if you’re planting trees of other kinds, you should take into consideration the spread of the other trees. If you don’t, you could find that your other trees block the apricot tree from getting the sun it requires.
Like most apricots, the gold kist apricot tree is self-pollinating. Some apricots are only semi-self-pollinating, but not this one. It’s fully able to produce fruit on its own. The apricot tree has both male and female part. The pollen from the male parts is able to reach the female parts of the flowers to produce fruit.
You could, however, benefit from having a second gold kist tree in terms of how well the pollination is. With two trees, your first tree will produce yield a higher amount of fruit than it would on its own. You’ll want to plant the trees within 50 feet from one another, or they won’t be able to pollinate one another effectively.
Fortunately, you may choose any type of apricot tree to grow as your second tree because all apricot trees can cross-pollinate one another.
Gold Kist apricot trees aren’t very temperamental. The two main aspects you must focus on are how much water and how much sunlight your tree gets. You’ll also need to prune your apricot tree regularly, although the pruning isn’t extensive either.
Apricot trees of any type prefer full-on sunlight. They need it to grow taller and fruit each year. You want to plant them in a place that sunny all of the day on sunny days, if at all possible. You may plant them in a place that only gets partial sunlight. It’ll still grow, but you won’t get nearly as much fruit each year as if you did if the tree was in a sunny spot.
During the first year, you want to make sure you water this tree regularly, usually once per week. The exception is if you have an extremely wet season, you may want to water less frequently. Make sure you water deeply as opposed to just a few minutes of hydration for your apricot. You want to make sure they get at least one inch of rainfall each week, or you should water them.
In the second year and thereafter, you still want to water each week when the soil isn’t moist.
Be careful not to overwater your plant. If you do, you could risk damaging the roots.
Apricot trees of this variety don’t do well when you water their roots directly.
You should prune your apricot tree in early spring or late winter, as your notice flowers and leaves appearing. Your tree is growing at this point, so the pruning process is less likely to severely damage the tree, seeing as how the pruning cuts will heal quickly. Since the wounds heal more rapidly during this time, there’s less of a chance of disease entering into the cuts.
Although you want to focus on removing dead, decaying, or diseased branches first, you also want to prune the tree into a “V” shape. If you want to control the shape most effectively, choose to leave and groom three to five main scaffold limbs.
Pruning is an intricate process not easily explained in a few sentences. Minnetonka Orchards has you covered, though; we compiled a resource to help you properly prune your apricot tree.
Common Uses for the Gold Kist Apricot
Apricots are a treat by themselves. You may choose to eat them with or without the skin on. You lose flavor when you choose to skin them.
The apricot is, by a far, a sweet fruit. However, it has a tart taste, making it ideal for baking since they have the tart flavor to balance any added sugar you put into the recipe.
Try making the apricots into a cobbler, tart, crisp, cake, chutney, or cheesecake. Many people add them to chicken dishes because they add a natural hint of sweetness to the dish and blend easily with other flavors.
Canning apricots can preserve them for over a year. Generally, you want to can these with the pits out. Most people choose to half them. It’s your choice whether you want to can them in white grape juice, apple juice, or water. Another option is to can them with syrup.
Another way you can preserve apricots for longer than the short time they’re good for after picking them is to freeze them. They’ll be good for a few months. To freeze, you may want to cover the fruit in ascorbic acid, although it’s not necessary. Make sure you wash and dry the fruit first. Then, you want to cut the apricots in half and remove the stone. You could choose to cut them into smaller pieces if you desire. Finally, you want to stick them in freezer bags. You could choose to freeze them in an ascorbic acid and water mixture.
You may dry the apricots in the oven or a dehydrator. Some people choose to treat the apricots with lemon water before dehydrating.
For some creative ideas of what to do with apricots, check out these recipes.
Health Benefits of Gold Kist Apricots
Apricots are high in antioxidants, which means these fruits may protect your heart and reduce your risk of certain types of cancer. These fruits are high in potassium. They may help promote good eye and gut health.
Where to Buy This Apricot Tree
You more than likely won’t be able to purchase this tree in your local nursery, although some do carry them. You can, however, find many different types of apricot trees online at Nature Hills Nursery.
Where to Buy Gold Kist Apricots
Gold Kist Apricots aren’t available in the grocery store.
Ideally, if you’re looking for a sweet fruit that can be used in a variety of dishes, apricots could be that fruit. As long as you plant it where it gets enough sun and makes sure the soil remains moist, the tree will thrive, and you’ll reap the reward of its fruits.