Problem with Apricot Tree
I have inherited an apricot tree in a garden in France which I suspect is at least 25 years old. It used to grow beside a barn which meant that it got practically no sunlight, but after the barn has been demolished about four years ago, the tree has been putting on a lot of new growth. Early in the season there is now masses of fruit, but those that survive are small and hard and though the flavour is good, the skins are discoloured and to a lesser extent so too is the flesh. Most of the fruit falls off the tree prior to maturity and I suspect this is because the tree is infested with an insect which eats and/or perforates the leaves. I am not clever enough to identify the insect indeed I have never seen one. Alternatively I suppose it could be some form of blight because there is moss and lichen on the main trunk of the tree. If a spray treatment is recommended I wonder what I should use, and when I should use it? Thank you in advance for any advice.
It sounds to me as if your apricot tree has done quite well by itself, despite not being in the best position for most of its life and possibly neglected.
I would firstly recommend pruning out any dead wood during the next few months. Then in spring prepare the soil around the tree to a couple of meters, digging it over and mixing with it some compost. Apply an appropriate fertiliser through its growing period (spring and summer). Keep it watered regularly, but be careful not to over-water as this could cause other problems in the long run.
This should help with the fruit forming more fully and ripening, although you may not see this until the following year.
If you do find any pests that you suspect are causing the holes in the leaves then i would be interested to see them, so please do forward any images you can get and hopefully i can tell you what they are and if they pose any problems. But for now it sounds to me as if your tree needs revitalising from the roots.
Hope this helps.