sweetheart apricot

Asked March 23, 2016, 10:30 PM EDT

I have a sweetheart apricot tree at least 6 years old. Every year it sets fruit but when they get to be the size of a quarter they ALL fall off. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

Harford County Maryland

1 Response

This sounds like an insect known as plum curculio. The adult beetle lays eggs on the fruit, the larvae eat through to the seed, and this makes the fruit drop off the tree. You should try a combination of chemical and non-chemical management.

Hang plastic traps (empty 2 liter soda bottles) filled halfway with molasses, vinegar and water from tree limbs at petal fall.
Remove infested fruit from the tree (deformed fruit).
Lightly cultivate the soil in spring before flower buds begin to swell. This disrupts/kills the beetles overwintering in the soil.
Keep the tree pruned so that it is open in the center (curculios prefer deep shade).
In addition, you may spray the tree with Spinosad when the petals fall off and again 10 days later. These are important sprays.