Tomcot is a modern apricot variety, and one of the best-suited to temperate climates. Flowers open at different times over a relatively long period, which means a frosty night may not damage all the blossom.
The fruit size is larger than is usual for apricots. The fruit is ripe when the orange skin develops a red flush on the side facing the sun (actually a mass of tiny red dots) - usually middle to end of July in the UK.
Growing any apricot in the UK is a bit of a gamble, but our experience is that you should get a crop one year in three. Success is more likely if you train the tree as a fan on a south-facing wall, and protect the blossom from spring frosts. All in all, worth a try if you have a bit of spare space.
Tomcot apricot trees for sale
1.1-year maiden bare-root
Medium size (2.5m-3m after 10 years)
2.1-year maiden bare-root
Large size (3m-4m after 10 years)
How to grow
Whilst most apricot varieties will only succeed in the UK and northern Europe if grown as a fan on a south-facing wall, Tomcot can also be grown as a free-standing tree provided you have a sheltered spot with a sunny aspect - but if in doubt, fan-training is a safer bet.
A mature tree will produce several hundred fruits in a good year. As the fruitlets form, thin the clusters to 2-3 fruits per cluster.
The main challenge for growing Tomcot in the UK is that it flowers (like all apricots) very early in the spring, at a time when there are few insects around and there is a risk of damage to the blossom from frost. A good spring is a big help, but if you are growing against a wall you can help protect the blossom by covering with a frost-protection fleece if frost is forecast (remove it during the day).
Tomcot is self-fertile so does not need a pollination partner, although cropping is improved if there is another apricot variety nearby. In a good spring Tomcot can produce a lot of blossom and a heavy fruit set, in which case some thinning may be useful - this ensures larger fruit size of the remaining fruits, and, more importantly, maximises the flavor.
Tomcot prefers well-drained soil, and does not tolerate water-logging (but is drought tolerant).
Whilst most apricot varieties are hardy trees, bacterial canker is a potential problem. However the simple precaution of keeping pruning to a minimum and only pruning in late spring will minimise the risk.
If you are planting a 1 year-old tree (either a bare-root tree or a tree supplied in a 3L container) in open ground, start by cutting the stem back to about 30" / 75cm above the ground - do this either in November or in early spring before the tree emerges from dormancy. This will encourage branches to emerge the following spring and summer.
Developed at Washington State University, USA, in the 1980s and released in 1996.
- Picking period (southern UK):late July
- Picking season:Early
- Keeping (of fruit):1-3 days
- Food uses:Eating fresh, Culinary, Dual purpose (eat + cook)
- Gardening skill:Average
- Flowering group:2
- Pollinating others:Good
- Bearing regularity:Regular
- Disease resistance:Average
- Climate suitability:Temperate climates
- Summer average maximum temperatures:Cool ( 20C - 24C / 68F - 75F), Warm (25C - 30C / 76F - 85F), Hot (>30C / 86F)
- Country of origin:United States
- Period of origin:1950 - 1999
- Fruit colour:Orange