Semi-Dwarf Apricot Trees: Complete Guide for Home Growers

Apricots, whether in their candied or fresh form, are considered a seasonal treat that can only be enjoyed for a short period of time each year.

Because a 25-foot-tall tree isn’t always feasible to have to grow in your yard, consider planting a semi-dwarf apricot tree.

They only reach about half that height at their maturity, so you can grow your own apricots almost anywhere! 

How big do semi-dwarf apricot trees get? Semi-dwarf apricot trees will grow to be between 12 and 18 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide at maturity. Their size will depend on the exact variety, rootstock used, and overall growing conditions, such as soil quality, rainfall, nutrient availability, and pruning. 

Everything you need to know about semi-dwarf apricot trees is in this article!

Continue reading for tree information, the tree’s requirements, common pests and diseases, and general apricot tree care guidelines. 

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Trees

Apricot trees need to be grafted from an existing tree to produce delicious fruit. 

Grafting it onto dwarfing rootstock will keep the tree from outgrowing its space and make picking fruit easy. Check out more semi-dwarf Apricot tree facts below! 

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Trees at a Glance

Hardiness ZonesZones 4 – 7
Mature size12-18 feet
Growth rateFast – 2 feet per year
Spacing10-15 feet
Chill hours needed700
Years until first fruits2-4 years
Bloom timeFebruary, March, April
Average yields50-100 lbs. when mature
PestsAphids, mealy bugs, mites, borer species, leaf roller, earwigs
DiseasesPhytophthora, canker, bud and twig blight
Life span15-25 years

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree Hardiness

Most apricot trees are happiest growing in USDA Zones 4 through 7, requiring cold temperatures over a long period of time to produce fruit.

Be sure to grow it in an area that reaches between 32-45°F for a few weeks to produce fruit, and avoid temperatures above 95°F because it can be harmful to the tree. 

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree Requirements

Planning where to plant your tree and how you’re going to care for it is essential.

Begin by locating an area with healthy soil. Fruit trees require ample nutrients to thrive, so barren soil won’t do!

Water the tree deeply with a few inches of water per week along with spring and fall fertilization, and your tree will be thriving! 

With 6 to 8 hours of sunlight per day, it will grow plenty of foliage, buds, and fruit.

While all apricot trees are self-fruitful, adding an additional tree nearby will help get bountiful harvests thanks to the additional pollen. 

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree Size

Semi-dwarf varieties will grow to be about half the size of a full-size tree. It will depend on the variety and rootstock used, but they will top out in height at a much more manageable size at 12-18 feet tall and 8-10 feet wide.

See more details below for their size, space requirements, and growth rate.

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree vs. Standard

Semi-dwarf apricot trees will grow to be 12 to 18 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide while standard apricot trees average 20 to 30 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide.

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree Growth Rate

A semi-dwarf tree will grow quicker than a standard tree, averaging about 2 feet per year, and it will reach its maximum height faster.

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree Spacing

Since semi-dwarf apricot trees don’t grow as large, they can be placed closer together than full-size types. Be sure to allow for about 10 to 12 feet between each tree trunk. 

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree Chill Hours

In order to grow fruit, apricot trees need chill hours. Chill hours are the number of hours that the temperature in the area remains between 32-45°F.

Most semi-dwarf apricot trees need at least 700 chill hours, but some may require only 600, and others may require 800.

How Long Until Semi-Dwarf Apricot Trees Produce Fruit

On average, it will take a semi-dwarf fruit tree 2 to 4 years before bearing fruit. It might be 10 to 15 years before it will produce impressive harvests. 

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree Bloom Time

In the spring, the buds will begin to bloom as early as February but as late as April. Fertilize your tree right after the blooms open to give it ample nutrients to produce fruit. 

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree Yields

You can expect 1 to 3 bushels of fruit once the tree has reached full maturity at about 10 years old. One bushel equals approximately 35-50 pounds of fruit. 

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree Pests & Diseases

The most common issues regarding apricot trees have to do with aphids on the newest leaf growth at the beginning of the season.

They are also susceptible to Phytophthora and common fungal cankers. 

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree Routine Maintenance

To help your tree thrive, it is best to regularly check it for pests; fertilize it at least once or twice per season; prune off any dead, diseased, or dying wood regularly; and do a structured pruning in the winter to help establish the tree’s branches for the best fruit production. 

Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree Life Span

Under regular growth conditions, you can expect a semi-dwarf apricot tree to live for about 15 to 20 years. If well fertilized and well cared for, you can expect it to surpass 20 years! 

Best Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree Varieties

Everyone has a favorite for a reason! Lower chill hours, tasty fruit, and harvest season are the biggest contributing factors here.

Check out these varieties of semi-dwarf apricots to plant for yourself to see why they make the top 5! 

  1. Moorpark was beloved by Thomas Jefferson and is still a favorite for gardeners because it is easy to grow and produces plentiful harvests. 
  2. Canadian White Blenheim is known for having the best flavor. It’s taken home multiple accolades for its amazing taste! 
  3. Chinese is a great variety for large late-season harvests, and its fruit is considered free-stone so the seed falls out of the fruit easily!
  4. Goldcot has a higher chill hour requirement at 800 hours but produces loads of sweet golden apricots in mid-summer. 
  5. Puget Gold only requires about 600 chill hours and produces great-tasting fruit very late in the summer.
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Caring for a Semi-Dwarf Apricot Tree

Apricot trees should grow easily on their own, but if you’re hoping for bountiful harvests, you’ll want to give it some extra TLC. See more details below for specifics to give your tree everything it needs. 

Planting

You’ll want to find an area that receives cold temperatures but is not subject to frost pockets.

Frost will damage the buds and leave the tree fruitless in the coming months.

Plant the tree in an area with fertile, loamy, well-draining soil; otherwise, it will begin to suffer if planted in an overly saturated area.  

Watering

Multiple apricots ripening on the tree.

You’ll want to ensure the tree receives ample water especially when producing fruit.

Aim for 1-2 inches of water per week during regular growth and closer to 2 or more inches per week when fruiting. Adjust this as necessary depending on the weather and climate. 

Spraying

I recommend spraying the tree with a neem oil spray (I use this organic neem) after buds open and are pollinated.

If you spray the tree while blooming, you may kill the pollinators and affect how much fruit is produced.

Neem oil or insecticidal soap will help prevent pests from establishing on the tree’s new growth. 

Fertilizing

Fertilize your tree in the spring with a fruit tree mix with an N.P.K. near 6-2-4 (this one is excellent and certified for organic growing!) after buds open but before they begin to mature into fruit.

This will give them ample nutrients to grow bountiful fruit. 

Pruning

Prune when the tree is dormant so it is well-structured for this upcoming year’s growth. It is recommended to prune apricot trees in a “V” shape for significant fruit production. 

Harvesting

Since the fruit is so delicate, it may be best to cut them off the tree rather than pick them. The ripest will fall off on their own or fall into your hand with minimal pressure.

After blooming in early spring, the fruit matures and is usually ready beginning in June and sometimes as late as August. 

Related Questions: 

What Is the Easiest Apricot Tree To Grow?

The semi-dwarf Moorpark variety is a home gardener’s favorite. It is easy to grow and produces bountiful fruit that is good dried or fresh! 

Are Apricot Trees Self-Pollinating?

Apricot trees require the wind or insects to pollinate their flowers, but they are self-fruitful meaning they do not require a second tree to become pollinated.

Final Thoughts 

Plant a semi-dwarf apricot tree in your yard for a delicious summer treat! Caring for them is easy, and before you know it, you’ll most likely be planting more stone-fruit trees in your yard.

Use the guide above to get started, and refer to it every so often for tips and pointers when you aren’t sure what to do!