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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU?s Alcalde center to host apricot workshop Friday

ALCALDE ? Apricots are many people?s favorite fruit, but they?re a very unreliable crop in northern New Mexico. The late frost and spring winds, historically prevent apricot blossoms from setting on fruit.

Woman in purple vest looking at green fruit on tree.
New Mexico State University Extension fruit specialist Shengrui Yao looks at apricots on trees at NMSU?s Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde. She will explain the method she used to have apricot blossoms survive the late frost of northern New Mexico during a workshop 9 to 10 a.m. Friday, June 26, at the science center. (NMSU photo by Jane Moorman)

A researcher at New Mexico State University?s Sustainable Agriculture Science Center at Alcalde has found a way for apricot trees in this harsh climate zone to produce fruit.

During a workshop from 9 to 10 a.m. Friday, June 26, at the Alcalde center, Shengrui Yao, NMSU Extension fruit specialist, will show growers and home gardeners interested in producing apricots how she overcame the climate issue.

?I have worked for four years to get an apricot crop,? Yao said. ?We finally found a way.?

Planting the trees in high tunnels, or hoop houses, and having external thermostat-controlled propane burners in the tunnels prevented the drop in temperatures from freezing the flowers and fruitlets.

?It is very exciting ? we have fruit this year. The early cultivars will be ready soon,? she said. ?The concept not only works for apricots, but all stone fruits like peaches and cherries.?

During the workshop, a short presentation ? with question-and-answer time ? will be followed by a field tour of the trees with ripening fruit. Refreshments will be provided.