Almond tree: develop your favourite snack

We love our almond milk, trails and marzipan, but how much attention do we pay to the manufacturer of these nutty gifts? As it turns out, the almond tree is a spectacular plant with beautiful flowers, delicious fruits and majestic shape. What's better is that growing your own is a project that tests your gardening skills.

Almond trees are used to being outside, but they can be potted and brought home (your family will love the scent!). However, as with most producing plants, you will find that you get what you put into it. Almond trees themselves are easy to care for, but if you want a good harvest, you have to invest a lot more in them.

If you are ready to do the job, you will definitely be rewarded. The average almond harvest is 50-65 pounds of nuts per tree! You will eat them whole, sliced, splintered, chopped and in any other way you can. The uses of this versatile mother are endless!

Are you ready to get your hands dirty? Let's examine the exact details of growing almonds.

Good products for growing almonds:

Brief instructions on care

Almond gardenA blooming almond garden. Source: Steve Corey

Common Name (s) Almond tree
Scientific name Prunis dulcus
Harvest month (s) August September
light Full sun
Water: Uniform, deep irrigation
ground Well permeable
fertilizer Fruit tree fertilizer every 4-6 weeks
Pests Mites, scales, ants
Diseases Wilting verticillium, shot hole mushroom, leaf curl

All about almond trees

Almond tree in bloomA blooming almond tree is a beautiful sight. Source: Sergey Yeliseev

How do almonds grow? It's hard to imagine nuts growing on trees, so we'll break them down for you. Technically speaking, almonds are seeds that, like all seeds, develop in fruit. Almonds belong to the same family as the peach, plum and cherry trees (family of the Rosaceae). Its fruits are light brown and somewhat flaky. Inside is the cored core that contains the seed or kernel. In commercial production, fruit and peel are stored as a by-product and used in animal litter and cattle feed. In your garden, you can turn them into compost or mulch.

The almond tree size reaches 10-15 feet high. It has bright green leaves that turn yellow and fall in the fall. Perhaps the most beautiful part of this plant is the almond tree blossom. They form in groups of white and pink flowers that resemble cherry blossoms. Almonds are early bloomers, so these flowers are some of the first spring flowers.

One of the best things about these trees is that they like the bees. Their pollen is very nutritious and promotes the health of bee populations. Since they bloom early, they are one of the bee's first food sources every year. If you let this tree grow, you can also help the dangerously dwindling bee population.

Almond has been grown since 4000 BC. BC and has its origin in Southwest Asia. This tree is so historic that it is even mentioned in the Bible (Book of Numbers). Almonds were so fertile for the Romans that they showered newlyweds with them. Almonds are still used occasionally at weddings.

The almond tree was imported from Spain to the USA in the 18th century. However, they were not well adapted to the climate. After many crossings, the trees were ready for cultivation in the 1870s. Today they are California's largest export item – they produce 80% of the world's almonds.

Popular types of almond trees

Almond fruitAlmond fruit on the tree. Source: Will A Smith

There are two main types of almonds – sweet and bitter. The sweet almonds (Prunus dulcis var. Dulcis) are the most common and produce the edible nuts that we are all used to. Bitter almonds (P. dulcis var. Amara) are grown as ornamental plants or pollinators. Here are some popular varieties of the almond family.

& # 39; All in one & # 39;

This is one of the most popular sweet strains, and for good reason. The most amazing thing about it is that it pollinates itself, which is very unusual for almonds. As a dwarf almond tree it grows only half as high as a normal almond tree. Thanks to these two attributes, "All in One" is perfect for small rooms.

"Nikita's pride"

These are the toughest strains when it comes to cold climates. Although we don't recommend exposing it to frost, this tree grows well in northern areas. It also blooms later in the season, which can work well in your landscaping and reduce the risk of frostbite.

"Hall & # 39; s Hardy"

This is considered one of the bitter almond varieties, so it is mainly used for decoration. The almonds can still be consumed and are ideal as feed for wild animals such as birds or deer. The selling point of this tree is its beautiful, light pink flowers.

& # 39; Bounty & # 39;

Bounty is one of the sweetest strains out there. It produces large almonds with just the right natural taste to nibble on. It is a late bloomer, but the fruits are usually ripe until September.

Plant almonds

Almond flowerClose-up of an almond flower. Source: Glow

The best time to plant almonds is when the ground is thawed but young trees are still resting. This gives them time to expand their roots before the next winter. Find a place in your garden that receives full sun and protection from cold winds. Since they require cross-pollination, you must plant at least two almonds if you want a large harvest. You can plant any kind of almond. Almond trees like a lot of root space, so plant them at least 15 feet apart.

This tree can live indoors, but fruit production is much less likely. If you choose this compromise, you'll need a dwarf almond tree and a 10-20 gallon container with easy-to-move drainage holes. You are very lucky if you take the tub plant outside in the summer and bring it in when it is cold.

To plant, you need an almond start, either in a kindergarten or from seeds (see as in the section "Propagation"). The start should be at least 6 cm tall before you plant it. Carefully take the baby almond tree out of the container, moisten the roots and massage them out. Be careful not to damage the taproot, as their health is vital to the rest of the tree.

Dig a hole the size of the entire root system – no cramming allowed! Place the tree in the hole, add the backfill and gently push it down. Treat your almond tree to a strong drink of water so that it settles better.

New almond trees grow at their own pace. The production of almonds can take between 2 and 12 years. It seems like an unbearably long time, but please be patient. It is worth waiting for these lush trees.

maintenance

Ripe almond fruitAlmond fruits split to expose the hard outer shell of the nut when ripe. Source: Vassilis Online

As mentioned earlier, almond trees produce just as much of the care that they receive. Here you will find everything you need to know to get the most out of your almond plantations.

Sun and temperature

Almond trees like their surroundings sunny, hot and dry. The more sun you get, the better your fruit will be. For best results, plant your tree where it can have at least 8 hours of sun. These trees can handle partial shade if necessary, but they bloom and best carry a lot of sun.

The ideal temperature range is between 60 and 85 ° F, but the length of the growing season has a direct impact on fruit formation. If your tree only has a short warm season, it may not produce at all. Frost can severely affect fruit production and wipe out early flowers in spring. You must also protect this tree from cold winds.

To bear fruit, almond trees must rest, which requires prolonged exposure to cold temperatures (but not too cold!). They need about 200-300 hours of temperatures below 45 ° F. During this time, they lose their leaves and store the energy needed to produce almond fruits. The rest periods take place from November to January.

In zones 7-9, this cold period can be achieved by leaving the almond tree outside all year round. Some almond tree varieties can also deal with the weather in zones 5 and 6, but please do your research first. If you have a tree indoors and outdoors, you need to find a cool place for it where no frost occurs, e.g. B. a garage or a shed. Under these conditions, however, the harvest may not be optimal.

Irrigation & humidity

In addition to the warm season, watering is an essential part of your tree's nut production – and almonds are a real water eater. Young trees need 2 to 3 inches of water daily, while mature trees take in the same amount weekly. In addition, they need additional water in spring to promote flowering. Ideally, you should also receive more than the recommended amount in summer and autumn. However, you should stop watering a week or two before harvest so that the fruits can dry out.

Production depends on a lot of water, but the almond tree can easily be damaged by over-watering. To achieve the right balance, you have to be consistent. If you water, do it deeply without drowning the roots. Then let it stand until the top centimeter of the floor just begins to dry.

Almond trees also need very low humidity, which is why they do not thrive in the tropics. The drier your location, the better.

ground

Almond trees may be picky with the sun and water, but they are actually very tolerant of different soils. The only important requirement for this is that the soil is well drained. If it stores too much moisture, the roots can drown and rot. If necessary, increase the drainage of your soil with sand or organic matter.

For the absolute best results, choose a soil that is sandy or loamy, fertile and with a pH of around 6.5. Almond trees are very susceptible to soil-related diseases like Verticillium wilted. Always use new soil bought in the store for container plants. If you suspect a disease in the soil of your garden, do a soil pathogen test to see what to do. These are often provided by the university's agricultural departments.

Fertilize

Dry the almondsDry the almonds in their hulls. Source: Vassilis Online

The almond tree fertilization plan will keep you on your toes. These plants need a lot of nitrogen to grow and produce fully. However, too much nitrogen can damage the stem and leaves. To find the right balance, you need a good fertilization plan.

A good rule of thumb is to apply an ounce of granular or slow-release fertilizer each year the tree grows and to reach the manufacturer's recommended amount once it is ripe. Start fertilizing in spring and every 4-6 weeks until harvest. Optionally, give a final dose after harvesting before the leaves fall. This gives the tree a head start when blooming next year.

Use in baby trees only in spring after planting. Give them less than an ounce for this initial fertilization just to be sure. Such fertilization in regular small amounts drastically reduces the likelihood of nitrogen burns. Ideally, the fertilizer you use should be rich in nitrogen and phosphorus. However, a balanced one also works well.

clipping

Pruning is an essential part of keeping your almond tree healthy and fertile. When it is young, trimming determines its mature shape, which in turn determines how it produces. In winter, when the almond is resting, cut it into 3-5 branches that form a cup or vase shape. Use sterile pruning shears or good clean pruning shears as necessary.

Ripe plants should be pruned by around 20% each year. Keep the old shape and focus on old wood, as new one bears fruit better. If necessary, dilute the canopy so that there is good air circulation and sunlight in the middle. This promotes new growth, flowering and increases the vitality of the tree. You should also prune anything that is dead or dies – not just in winter, but in every season.

Almond trees can also be designed as fan-shaped espalier trees. This is a very complicated process, which we discuss in detail in our article on espalier fruit trees.

Propagation

To ensure typing and increase durability, almond trees are often propagated by Budding. This is a simple grafting method that you can easily do yourself. To start, you need the following:

  • An almond tree from which you can take a bud
  • A healthy rhizome (preferably a peach tree or bitter almond)
  • A sharp, clean knife
  • Graft tape

We start with the selection of a healthy bud from the almond tree. Use your knife to carefully cut the bud about an inch above and below the branch. Cut the bark and only the outer surface of the trunk. Set the bud aside for now.

Go to the rhizome. Peach trees are great for almond grafts, but you can choose a different, harder type of almond. Find a healthy spot on the rhizome and make a vertical cut that is slightly longer than your bud cut. Cut through the bark, but not the wood underneath. Make a horizontal one on top of this cut that forms a T shape. You can now carefully pull off the bark lobes created by this vertical cut.

Take your bud cut and carefully slide it under the bark on the rhizome. It should fit like a nice little bag. Attach the bud with a graft strap. Now you just have to wait until the bud has melted into the rhizome. When this is complete, remove the tape if it is not damaged.

If grafting isn't your style, you can propagate your almond the old-fashioned way Seeds. Note, however, that the resulting tree may differ from the parent tree because it has been cross-pollinated. You need a fresh almond that has not been roasted or otherwise altered.

First, put the raw and fresh almond in a bowl of water and let it soak for 48 hours. When the time is up, take it out and put it in a damp paper towel. Place the towel and seeds in a plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator for about a month. During this time the seed germinates and begins to sprout.

Take your new sprout and plant it in well-drained soil. Keep the soil moist, but don't drown the endangered plant. Put it in the sun and wait for the sprout to grow. If it has turned into a two meter tall plant, you can repot it into its permanent home.

Harvest and store almonds

Almonds in the trunkAlmonds still in their hulls. Source: Chooyutshing

You have watched your almond tree bloom, grow and produce. Now it's time to enjoy the best part of the orchards: the nuts!

harvest

Almond nuts are ready to be picked when the hulls are broken. However, wait until more than half of the nuts are cracked before you start harvesting. You remove them all at once, so you need optimal maturity.

Harvesting almonds is pretty easy. All you do is shake the tree and they fall off. Place a sheet or tarp under the tree to protect yourself from chafing through the grass.

Before they can be eaten, the almonds have to dry out for a few days. If it won't rain, you can just leave them on the tarpaulin on the floor. Otherwise, remove any shelled nut from its hull and store it in a cool, dry place.

After drying, remove the hull if you have not already done so, and open the shell. If you don't have the commercial machines for this, this can be a long process (let your family help!). It is highly recommended to freeze the almonds for a few days to kill bacteria or insects. After that, you can prepare them any way you like!

storage

If properly stored, your almonds can last quite a long time. Due to their high fat content, almonds can become rancid if stored incorrectly. This doesn't make them inedible, but it does make them bitter.

For the longest shelf life, pack your almonds immediately in an airtight container. Store them in the refrigerator, freezer or in a dry, dark place with a temperature below 40 ° F. With this method, almonds last at least 2 years!

You can also keep your almonds in a cool pantry for a few months. Store them in a sealed container so that insects cannot get to them. Remember that almonds can absorb other smells over time. Therefore, keep them away from odor-intensive foods. Since plastic bags are permeable, we recommend storing your nuts in solid plastic or glass containers.

Even if you use your almonds for culinary purposes, they must be properly stored. Roasted almonds last up to a year when stored in a vacuum-packed bag in the refrigerator. Almond milk should be consumed within 4 days, but can be frozen for up to 3 months. Almond paste lasts 3 months in the refrigerator and 6 months in the freezer.

Almond treeThe almond tree produces one of the most popular nuts in the world. Source: HealthAliciousNess

Troubleshooting

As we have learned, almonds are quite picky, and so are pests and diseases. For these walnut trees, the best thing you can do is prepare and prevent them.

Growing problems

Almonds depend on bees pollination, but sometimes you have to literally take matters into your own hands. Hand pollination on this tree takes a while, so it is usually only used for small harvests. Start pollination as soon as the flowers open, and remember to pollinate with another tree. Simply transfer pollen from one flower to another with a brush or cotton swab.

frost can be extremely dangerous for almond production. It wipes out early spring flowers and prevents the almond tree from achieving its ideal yield. Protecting your tree from this can be difficult, especially if it is large. The best thing you can do if your ambient temperature is below freezing is to keep your tree inside and not bring it out until you are sure the frost is gone.

If your almond tree is blooming, bearing fruit, or even growing well, it is likely under water. It takes just the right irrigation schedule to please these plants and some practice to get rid of them. When watering, do not flood the floor to form puddles. Water frequently so that the soil never dries out completely.

Pests

Commercial almond growers use dormant sprays that largely keep many pests and diseases away. They apply horticultural oil three times a year in winter, usually for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine's Day. The application in February is particularly important because it passes into the flowering period of the tree. It is also helpful to kill overwintering pests and eggs.

A common pest of almond trees and nuts is Mites. These tiny beetles thrive on plant sap and reproduce like crazy. They can transmit harmful diseases and cause your tree to lose its strength. The most striking symptom is yellow spots on the leaves caused by their feasts. Horticultural oil prevents the mite eggs from hatching. If adult mites are also present, use a miticidal spray or neem oil to control them. These methods usually control frame also.

AntsFire ants in particular are big fans of almonds. They don't usually cause too much of a problem unless they transport aphids to the leaves of your tree, but they can damage the shell that surrounds your almonds. To prevent this, it is recommended to use a Tanglefoot Trap product on the trunk of your tree. Wrap part of the fuselage in a waterproof material, such as a bandage, and spread or spread the sticky product on the fabric. The ants get caught in the sticky material and do not reach the tree roof.

Diseases

Wilting verticillium is a soil-borne disease that grows in the roots. Trees between one and five years old are the most common victims, especially in spring. This disease is usually not fatal, but it can affect nut yield. It is usually shown by leaves turning yellow or brown on a branch. You can see the branch wilt from top to bottom while the rest of the tree is healthy.

It can be prevented by using a tree with a resistant rhizome like peach. It is also good practice not to go over water as this will only create an ideal place for the growth of the bacteria. If your tree is already infected, you usually have to wait for it. As long as the infection does not spread, the tree grows out of the infected areas and you can prune them.

Bullet hole mushroom Starts as tiny red dots on leaves and fruits and grows into large lesions that sometimes collapse and create "bullet holes" (in young leaves). It can cause the leaves to fall, weaken the tree and hinder nut production.

Prevent this fungus by not pouring over the leaves and keeping them dry. If necessary, trim the lower branches so that sprinklers do not hit them. If you see signs of a bullet hole, use it to trim the section and destroy it away from the tree. If the problem gets out of control, you'll need to apply a Bordeaux mixture (an organic mixture of copper and lime in water) or a synthetic fungicide such as chlorothalonil.

Curl leaf is another common problem with almonds, especially in California. Spraying the tree with horticultural oil three times (usually Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine's Day are the difficult times to spray) should prevent most leaf curling problems.

frequently asked Questions

Almond branch close-upClose-up of an almond tree branch. Source: Shirofilm

Q: Where do almond trees grow best?

A: These trees are used to being hot and dry. They thrive best in zones 7-9, especially in California!

Q: How long does it take for an almond tree to bear fruit?

A: It really depends on the tree. Some will bear fruit in two years, while others can take up to 12 years.

Q: is almond a nut?

A: It can be considered a nut in a culinary sense, but almonds are actually seeds. They develop inside the fruit like a peach, while real nuts are themselves hard-shelled fruits.

Q: Where do almonds come from?

A: Almonds originally came from Southwest Asia, but are now mainly grown in California. If you're wondering what to grow on, almonds are seeds that grow in a small fruit on trees.

The green thumbs behind this article:
Rachel Garcia
Juicy fanatic
Lorin Nielsen
Lifetime gardener

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