Which apricot varieties can be successfully grown in Iowa?
Cold hardiness is an important factor when selecting apricot varieties for home gardens. Many apricot varieties are not reliably cold hardy in Iowa. However, a few varieties can be successfully grown in the state. ‘Moorpark’ is reliably cold hardy in the southern two-thirds of Iowa. ‘Moorpark’ is self-fruitful. A single tree will bear fruit. ‘Moongold’ and ‘Sungold’ (University of Minnesota introductions) possess excellent cold hardiness and can be successfully grown throughout the state. ‘Moongold’ and ‘Sungold’ are self-unfruitful. Plant at least one tree of each variety for cross-pollination and fruit set.
Growing apricots in Iowa can be challenging. Apricots bloom in early spring and are susceptible to damage from late spring frosts. A late frost or freeze can severely damage or destroy the flowers, resulting in little or no crop. In Iowa, gardeners can anticipate a good crop about once every 3 or 4 years. Apricots are also short-lived. Trees typically survive for 10 to 15 years.