How to Acclimate Apricot Trees

Acclimate (ac·cli·mate): "To become accustomed to a new climate or to new conditions. Also to harden off a plant."

Acclimating apricot trees helps minimize environmental stress when planting. Because our potted apricot trees are grown in our controlled greenhouse environment, they may arrive to you already sprouting tender new growth. This growth can be sensitive to things like:

  • Temperature (below 50ºF or above 90ºF)
  • Frost snaps
  • Strong/direct sunlight
  • Wind

NOTE: This is part 2 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow apricot trees, we recommend starting from the beginning.

These conditions are more likely to occur during early spring, but can happen during other times of year in different growing zones. We strongly recommend following this simple process prior to planting apricot trees that are leafed out:

Step 1. Upon arrival, keep your apricot trees in their pots and place them in a sheltered, shady spot outdoors, like a back porch. Leave them there for 3 to 4 hours and gradually increase the time spent outside by 1 to 2 hours per day. Bring them back indoors each night.

Step 2. After 2 to 3 days of this hardening-off process, begin transitioning the apricot trees from their shaded spot to one that provides some morning sun. Return them to the shade in the afternoon. If this conflicts with your schedule, try moving the trees to an area that receives less-intense, filtered sunlight instead. Be sure to bring the trees indoors again overnight.

  • Water as needed to keep the roots from drying out. If the soil in the pots is dry to the touch, then you know it’s time to water. You may occasionally mist the leaves with water, because the environment indoors is drier than outdoors.
  • Observe the foliage daily. If signs of leaf injury/burn appear prior to planting, move the trees back into filtered sunlight and start from the first step again. Progress to Step 3 after conditions improve.

Step 3. After 7-10 days, your apricot trees should be ready for planting in their permanent location, as long as temperatures stay between 50ºF and 90ºF. For best results, try to transplant on a cloudy day.

  • If daytime temperatures are expected to drop within the next day or so, continue to repeat Step 2. Monitor your trees, and the weather, until conditions are more suitable for planting outdoors.

Please note: These are general recommendations. Your particular growing environment might require a slight variation on these guidelines, because some trees can take more (or less) time than others to harden off. Factors like the current year’s weather, individual trees, and your location can all affect the acclimation process.

NEXT: Choosing a Location for Apricot Trees
Previous: Introduction