- Indiana Yard and Garden - Purdue Consumer Horticulture

Q. I wrote you last year about my apricot tree having no fruit for two years. You wrote that it’s not unusual. Now, a third year had lots of blossoms but no fruit again. What can I do to get fruit?

A. Lack of fruiting is to be expected for apricots in our area of the Midwest most years, and this year is no exception. Apricots are about the earliest to bloom of the fruit trees, and this earliness is usually its downfall.

We did have a relatively mild winter and a long, cool spring, making for a beautiful extended flowering season for many of our fruit trees. However, there were several frost/freeze incidents that occurred while the early flowering trees were in bloom. Also, the prolonged cool weather that allowed blooms to stay lovely for so long was unfortunately counterproductive to bee activity. For the first half of April, the high temperatures were below the minimum threshold for bee activity. So even if the blooms weren’t damaged by frost, the fruit set would be light due to lack of adequate pollination. This is the case with my peach tree as well — loads of flowers but very few fruit this year.

There are a few apricot cultivars that are known to flower a bit later and thus are less susceptible to the perils of early bloom season, such as “Goldcot” and “Harglow”; both are considered to be self-fruitful, assuming that flowers survive and bees are active. But, in general, it will be the unusual year that you will have fruit on apricot trees in your area.

Q. Do you have any suggestions for keeping deer out of my garden? I have a small vegetable garden, and the deer have eaten most of my sweet corn crop. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

A. The only reliable method I know of is to fence them out, although even the best of fences are not entirely foolproof. Deer can jump over as well as crawl under. With a small garden, temporary or semi-permanent fencing about 5 feet high might be enough to discourage them from jumping into a confined area. If this is not effective, adding a second fence a few feet outside of the first one should discourage most deer. For a more permanent solution or for a large garden area, consider either a taller physical barrier or an electric fence of which there are several designs. A high-quality, well-designed fence can be expensive, but is more likely to be effective. There are a number of materials to choose from, including high tensile wire, woven wire and plastic mesh (deer netting).

The USDA Wildlife Conflicts Information Hotline has extensive information and plans for deer fence available at http://coldfuse2.agriculture.purdue.edu/entm/wildlife/profindust/print/mammals/deer.cfm, or call 1-800-893-4116.

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