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Are apricots grown in Mississippi?

The apricot is believed to be a native of western China. Apricot cultivars grown in Russia are winter hardy and require moderate chilling for normal bud development. After a cold winter that has satisfied the chilling requirement of both species, apricot flowers bloom earlier than those of the peach. Therefore, apricots are more likely to be damaged by frost than peaches are. Following a relatively mild winter, more apricot flower buds abscise than those of peach.

This inherent characteristic to bloom early limits the area where the species can be grown commercially to places that are relatively free of late spring frosts. Apricots are also not grown where spring rains are prevalent because their flowers are very susceptible to infection by a fungus.

Apricot trees are propagated on Marianna 2624, peach, or apricot rootstock. Marianna 2624 rootstock is a hybrid plum stock that tolerates wet feet better than do peach and apricot seedlings. When the soil is deep and fertile, the trees will become relatively large and should be spaced 18-20 feet apart. Because of severe splitting, apricots should be trained to a modified central leader with adequate vertical distance between branches.

Commercial cultivars are self- and cross-fruitful except for Riland and Perfection, which are self-incompatible and require cross pollination. Spurs develop excess flower buds so that even when all long shoots have been removed, trees are usually thinned in the spring to obtain good fruit size.

Tree ripened apricots are among the most delicious fruits available; unfortunately, they are too soft to be shipped any distance. In order to be shipped by train or truck, fruits are harvested at a firm ripe stage before they develop their fine, rich flavor. Two new, early-ripening cultivars, Castlebright and Pinkerton, are firm-fleshed and highly acidic, and they develop a deep orange color, but they lack flavor. They are replacing Stuart and Derby for the fresh market trade. Blenheim (syn. Royal) and Tilton, which ripen in midseason or later, are marketed as fresh fruits, or processed as frozen, canned, or dried fruits. Blenheim is the preferred cultivar for its dessert quality, but it is soft and does not ship well. Patterson and Modesto, because of their color and quality, are replacing Tilton. White-fleshed, clingstone cultivars are grown for the fresh market and processing in the Balkan states.

To succeed in growing apricots, well drained, fertile soil is important as well as copper fungicide sprays in the fall and spring. To delay the frost sensitive bloom, try planting on the north side of a building, or near tall evergreen shrubs where winter sun will not warm them, but where they will get full sun in the summer. Apricot's fruit on spurs that bear for about four years, so pruning for new wood should not be as drastic as for peaches. They also do not get leaf curl but the same sprays help prevent brown rot and blights, which they do get.

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Publication Number: P3055
Publication Number: IS1608
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Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Farmers Markets, Greenhouse Tomatoes, Organic Fruit and Vegetables, Other Vegetables August 17, 2017

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Produce growers, packers, industry suppliers and others can learn the requirements of the new federal Produce Safety Rule during one of three upcoming workshops around the state.

Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit August 4, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A group interested in learning more about the ancient and popular art of winemaking will attend an upcoming workshop on the topic Sept. 15 at Mississippi State University.

The Growing, Making and Improving Wines Workshop will be at the A.B. McKay Food Research and Enology Laboratory on the MSU campus. The MSU Extension Service and the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station are offering the daylong workshop.

Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit August 4, 2017

MCNEILL, Miss. -- Mississippi State University invites muscadine grape growers and those interested in growing these vines to an Aug. 26 field day in Pearl River County.

Topics for the annual Muscadine Field Day include pests, new varieties and vine management. MSU Extension Service, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, and U.S. Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service personnel will speak.

Natasha Haynes, Mississippi State University Extension agent in Rankin County, advocates choosing one local ingredient to spotlight in a menu, such as this squash growing at the Southern Heritage Garden at the Vicksburg National Military Park on June 13, 2017. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Bonnie Coblentz)
Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Farmers Markets, Agri-tourism, Food, Nutrition July 12, 2017

VICKSBURG, Miss. -- Foods grown on Southern farms should end up on Southern tables, especially when those tables are in the state’s many historic bed-and-breakfasts.

That was the message Mississippi State University Extension Service personnel sent home with participants in a recent workshop.

“Nobody wants to go to a Southern B&B and not experience the food, so think about serving local foods,” said Brent Fountain, Extension nutrition specialist.

These blueberries at the Blueberry Patch in Starkville, Mississippi, are shown in a fruit coloring stage on May 17, 2017. Mostly warm winter conditions caused this year’s harvest to be unusually early in most parts of the state. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
Filed Under: Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Fruit May 19, 2017

WAYNESBORO, Miss. -- The demand for fresh Mississippi blueberries may grow this year after a mid-March freeze hampered production in neighboring states.

Freezing temperatures during the crop's early growth stage on farms east of the state, especially in Georgia and North Carolina, caused production losses of up to 50 percent.

Meanwhile, 85 percent of Mississippi's blueberry crop was either in good or excellent condition as of May 15, according to a weekly crop progress and condition report published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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