Section No. 184 of Part I tells of the close relation of this beautiful and excellent fruit to the Plum and Peach, and something of its history and possible improvement, and Section 149 discusses the pruning of the Apricot and Peach.
The fruit ripens after the early cherries and prior to the plums and peaches, and it is a handsome and delicious fruit, only inferior to the best peaches; and as Downing says: "In the fruit-garden it is a highly attractive object in early spring, as its charming flowers are the first to expand. It forms a fine spreading tree about twenty feet in height, and is hardy enough to bear as an open standard south of the forty-second degree of latitude in this country."
The cultivated varieties are developed from Prunus Armeniaca of East Europe. The Japanese Apricot (Prunus Mume) is cultivated mainly for its flowers, and the plum-like Black Apricot (Prunus dasycarpa) has no varieties desirable for dessert or culinary use, mainly on account of its fuzzy skin and also fuzzy pit. The cultivated varieties may be budded or grafted on all the species of the plum, and it buds well on the peach. In New York, seedlings of the Domestica plums are preferred for stocks, but in the prairie States the seedlings of our native plum (Prunus Americana) are preferred, setting the trees in orchard quite deeply on dry soil. If the seedlings are transplanted prior to budding or grafting to give a good root system, the native stocks have supported the tops of full-grown trees better than any other stocks yet tested. In Southern California commercial growers almost invariably use peach stocks, mainly for two reasons: (1) the peach roots are best adapted to the light soils, where this fruit does best; (2) the peach roots are not as apt to be eaten by rodents as are those of the apricot or plum.
The main drawback to the profitable growing of the Apricot where the Peach succeeds comes from the early blossoming of all varieties, thus exposing the ovaries to spring frosts, and the fondness of the curculio for its fruit. In a few cases the writer has observed a positive increase of crop by spraying with milk of lime in midwinter and again prior to blossoming. The white color seems to retard the blossoming quite materially, and the lime appears to lessen the attacks of the curculio. In addition the spraying with arsenite of lime solution (156) just as the buds begin to expand is a decided gain in lessening the damage by curculio and some other insects.