Ultimate Guide to Grow, Care and Harvest Sweet Almond Tree

Almond Trees are hard nut to crack, but if you want to harvest the nuts, make sure to give it plenty of water and sunlight. Believe it or “nut” this coveted tree crop has been cultivated from as early as 4,000 BC – and shows no sign of dropping out of fashion any time soon. This Blog will help you to understand about Almond tree climate and what needs to be done to have a dense, fully grown sweet almond tree.

General overview of Almond Tree

ORIGINAsia
TYPEDeciduous fruit tree
COMMON NAMESAlmond tree, Sweet Almond Tree, Tropical Almond Tree
HEIGHT15 feet
TOXICITYNon-toxic
LIGHTFull sun
WATERINGMaintain moist, well-draining soil

Varieties of Almond Tree

Almond trees generally taste bitter and sweet. Bitter almonds are mostly grown for ornamental purposes, while sweet almond varieties are what you will need if you plan to eat almond fruits.

Almond Fruit

‘All-in-one’ Almond

This ‘All-in-one’ variety is ideal for small gardens as it grows to around half the size of an average almond tree, and the best thing about “All-in-one” variety is that, it is self-pollinating, so it does not require you to plant more than one.

Hall’s Hardy Almond

This is actually a peach-almond hybrid. The nuts have a very hard shell and the kernels are bitter. The showy flowers are beautiful in the spring. It is not recommended for nut kernel production.

Nonpareil

This is a naturally grown in California. It blooms approximately the 3rd week in February in California’s central valley, matures at the end of August. It’s kernel is flat, medium-large size with excellent quality and flavor. It has become the basis of the almond industry. Shell is quite thin, often poorly sealed. Almond Tree is large and can be easily harvested.

Mission Almond

Mission Almond is also called ‘Texas’ is harvested 40-60 days after Nonpareil, Mission has a strong flavor, is not blanchable, has a hard shell with good integrity and no opening around the shell.

How to grow an almond tree

Procedure of Planting (DIY Guide)

Giving your almond tree the best start in life is essential for developing a healthy, thriving tree. The ideal time is fall to plant an almond tree, as these trees have a rapid early growth phase, and this will ensure they develop strong roots before winter.

First, select a spot for your tree which has full bright sun but is protected from cold winds. Almond trees can be grown in any soil type. The exception to this is soggy, poorly draining soil, which is not suitable for almond trees. They can handle a variety of soils, including sandy, loamy, and clay, but they absolutely must be in well-draining soil. You can add in organic matter and sand to increase soil draining capacity.

The taproot is sensitive and should not be bent or forced into a space too small for it, thus dig a hole for your almond tree at least the same depth as the root ball. Soak the roots with water before you plant them and gently spread them out in the hole. Fill the hole with topsoil and ensure it is well compacted without air holes. Add extra soil around the trunk of the tree to create a slightly raised angle that will encourage water to drain away from the trunk and prevent rot.

Once planted, add several buckets of water to the tree to help it settle. Young trees may need to be staked to help keep them in an upright supported position, but stakes should be removed when the tree is able to hold its own weight, to allow it to grow without restriction.

Almond trees are not self-pollinating, and therefore. if you wish to see fruit, you will need at least two different trees planted in close proximity to each other to allow for cross-pollination. As a guide, the trees should be planted between 15 and 25 feet apart, but if you are short on space, then you can actually plant two almond trees in the same hole. The trees will grow with intertwined trunks and will ensure cross-pollination of the flowers.

You can also checkout the video for a more comprehensive approach.

Procedure of Watering (DIY Guide)

Young Almond Tree needs plenty of water, as much as 3 inches per day. As the tree becomes established, you can reduce watering to 3 inches per week, dependent on its conditions and the time of year.

Although almond trees enjoy hot, dry conditions, they do need plenty of water to bear fruit. If the fruit is not important to you, and you are growing your almond tree an ornamental, then watering will not need to be as much of a consideration. If you want your tree to produce fruit, you will need to pay more careful attention to your watering schedule as almond trees can be quite fussy.

Lack of water typically results in a poor yield of fruit so to avoid all this give your tree extra water early on in the growing season, as a Extra water can also be beneficial during hot, dry summers and at the beginning of fall. However, you must ensure that you stop watering your almond tree several days before you harvest the fruits. This allows the fruits to dry out and it does require some guess work as to when the fruits will be ready to harvest.

You can also checkout the video for a more comprehensive approach.

Sunlight

Sunlight

The position of almond tree should be such that they should receive full sunlight of around 6 hours and a greater amount of sunlight will result in greater abundance of flowers and ultimately fruit. The tree can survive in partial shade, but it will produce a much smaller volume of flowers and may struggle to set fruit.

Temperature

Almond trees prefers climates that are long, hot summers, providing them with a long growing season. During very hot summers, you can whitewash the trunks of almond trees to protect them against sunscald.They also require a certain amount of cold weather to blossom. Ideally, the tree should get between 300 and 400 hours each year of temperatures that are lower than 45 °F. This requirement is the reason why almond trees do not grow well in tropical climates, as they don’t get cold enough for long periods of time. However, it makes the almond tree ideal for growing in climates such as those found in California and states on the US east coast.

The almond tree is hardy to USDA zones 7 to 9 and will struggle outside of these regions. The tree itself can cope with frost, it can affect the development of flowers, which will, in turn, affect fruit production.

Pruning

When the tree is young, you should prune it to encourage good shape, which will result in a healthy tree and ensure a long productive life. Prune it in winter during its dormant period, cutting out all of the weaker branches, leaving just 4 or 5 main branches remaining.

Once the tree is established, your pruning will be about maintaining the shape, as well as encouraging new growth. Cut out any branches that are growing back toward the tree and any outside of its natural shape. Aim to remove around 20% of a mature almond tree’s branches each winter when you prune, as this will promote new growth and ensure the tree continues to renew itself.

Thinning out branches will also help light to penetrate the tree and increase airflow, which will help with flower production and the tree’s overall health. You should also prune back any dead or diseased growth at any time of year (University of California).

Harvesting

To harvest almond tree, all you need to shake the trunk of the almond tree and the almonds will fall on the ground.

Almond are typically harvest in the fall. You will know they’re ready to harvest while you see their shells popping open. When the majority of fruit at the tree is bursting out of their shells, you will know it’s time to shake your tree. It’s a good idea to unfold a sheet or tarpaulin on the ground to make for clean collection.

Once you’ve collected your fruitsyou’ll need to remove them from their shells and dry out so that almonds may be eaten. To do this, truely store them in a cool, dry spot for a few days. Some people leave the fruits on the ground for several days before collecting them, as this gives them a time to dry out, however this should obviously  be done in case you are sure that it won’t rain.

For more comprehensive procedure you can check out the video below:-

Propagation

Almond trees are generally propagated by root graft. This ensures that the new tree is an exact copy of the parent tree, and means you can rely on it producing good fruit. Use a hardy rootstock, ideally peach, and then graft a fruit-bearing almond branch onto the rootstock.

To propagate using almond nut, soak a fresh nut in water for around 48 hours. Then, set the nut on a paper towel and enclose it in a plastic bag. Leave the bag in a refrigerator for around a month, at which point you should see some sprouts coming.

Once you have sprouts, you can plant the nut in moist soil in a pot. Position it on a warm and bright sunlight and wait for more growth. At around a height of 6 to 8 inches, transfer it to a larger pot. Once the tree has developed a strong root system, you can plant it outside.

Pests and Disease

Planting, Growing and taking care is one thing and maintaining almond tree, keeping Pests and diseases away from the almond tree is another humongous task.

Pest infested Almond buds

Almonds are sensitive souls. They may suffer from a number of diseases.

Verticillium wilt is the common disease that almond tree are susceptible to it. This causes all kinds of drama for gardeners around the world every year, and enormous economic damage for commercial planters.

It can be avoided by using a grafted specimen with a hardy root stock of peach or bitter almond. It’s also important not to over irrigate, which encourages the kind of conditions that verticillium thrives in.

Fungal infections can also cause hull rot and there are various preventive measures that you can take to prevent this condition from happening.

Crown Gali is another bacterial disease that can cause damage to almond tree. This usually gets into the tree via cuts, so care should be taken not to damage the tree. If pruning, always cut branches with clean, disinfected equipment.

Almonds may also have issues with mites, such as the brown mite and the red European mite, which stress the tree out and cause damage to its leaves.

There are also some pesticides which are effective against mites, including some pyrethroids.

How many pounds of nuts do you harvest from your almond trees? Leave us a comment! Also, share this page with others who may be interested in growing almond trees!

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