APRICOT CULTURE IN POLAND
Excavations indicate that apricot had been grown in Poland already in the eighth century A. C. It is known that XV and XVI century apricot culture in Poland became quite common as the apricot was grown by the monks and also by the land-lords. Due to severe climate however, apricot culture in this country never gained any substantial economical importance.
Actually in Poland are grown about 315,000 apricot trees, of which about 180,000 are in fruiting age. Apricots comprise in this county about 0,3% of all fruit trees. The trees of this species can be found mainly in the home gardens in the southern and west southern part of the country. Where the microclimate permits, apricot is also grown in central Poland. The most concentrated apricot orchards are located in the south-east of the Kielce province. This is the only part of the country where commercial apricot orchards can be found.
In most years the summer seasons are favourable for apricot culture. There is a variation in the time of apricot ripening from early June up to August depending on weather conditions in a given year. Severe winters and late spring frosts are the main factors limiting expansions of the apricot industry.
Following favourable weather conditions during the winters and springs apricots are coming to bearing in the third or fourth year after planting. In the above mentioned region the commercial culture apricot is producing 7–10 tons of fruit per hectar, provided there was no cold damage to the trees or flowers. Cases are known where single apricot trees, twenty years old or so produce occasionally up to 200 kg of fruit per tree.
The seedlings of Prunus cerasifera divaricata (Bailey) are used as rootstocks for apricots in this country, as the apricot seeds for seedling production are not every year available.
The following are the main apricot varieties grown in Poland: Moorpark, Luizet, Zaleszczycka and Podolszycka. The last two are local varieties of an unknown origin. Some 15 years ago a modest program of apricot breeding was started at the Research Institute of Pomology in Skierniewice. As the first step an introduction and evaluation program was established and implemented. The main objective in that program was to select some late blooming and winterhardy apricots, which could be either recommended directly to the growers or used in cross breeding program.