The almond tree is one of the most underrated plants that anyone can grow from the comfort of their own home. Not only is it capable of producing almonds that are included in some of our favorite snacks, drinks, and treats, but it is not too difficult to care for and can produce stunning blossoms if cared for correctly. They are versatile trees that can be planted indoors if you like the smell of almonds or outdoors if you would rather keep the tree in its most well-known environment.
Almond trees can be a hugely rewarding plant to have if you are looking to produce large quantities of almonds, however, there are a few things that should be noted when it comes to producing nuts, and they will be addressed in the coming article. In any case, what we will do here is give you a brief guide into how you can best grow and care for an almond tree with minimum fuss.
Table of Contents
Growing your own tree may seem a little intimidating, but in all honesty, successful growth comes down to knowledge. So here is everything that you may well need to know about the almond tree to get you started.
|Scientific name||Prunis Dulcus|
|Preferred Light||Full sun|
|Fertilizer Preferred||Fruit free fertilizer (apply once per month)|
|Months when it Harvests||August – September|
|How often should I water?||At least once or twice per week|
|Pests that can affect the tree||Mites and Ants are most common|
|Diseases||Shot hole fungus and leaf curl are the more common ones.|
- The tree can grow to be around 10-15 feet tall, and its beautiful green leaves will typically turn yellow and begin to fall away in October/November time.
- Its blossoms closely resemble cherry blossoms, and a tree can contain beautiful clusters of pink and white leaves. It is a stunning sight if you are growing them yourself.
- The pollen in the trees tends to attract bees, which is a good thing for nature! They are also quite early bloomers, so they can be one of a bees first food sources of the year.
The History of the Almond Tree
The almond tree dates back to around 4000BC and is said to hail from southwestern Asia. It does have a place in the Bible and is mentioned in the Book of Numbers. Almonds themselves represented fertility to the Romans and would have ritual significance during weddings of old, where the married couple would be showered with fresh whole almonds.
The US didn’t see the almond tree until the mid-18th century, but due to a large amount of cross-breeding with other trees, the almond tree has gone from a tree that was not suited to America’s climate to being primarily based in the US. California is said to produce around 80% of the world’s almonds!
Key points when growing your tree
Almond trees do not like frost. That is rule number 1. They are very susceptible to damage from frost and can often die off quite quickly if left in freezing conditions. The best conditions for an almond tree would probably be a mild, wet winter or a hot summer with lots of sun to promote growth.
Notably, few varieties of almond trees are self-fertile and therefore need cross-pollination for fruit production, so you’ll need to plant at least two trees. If space is at a premium, you can even plant two in the same hole, allowing cross-pollination. This means that if you want to get the most from your tree in terms of almond production, it can only really happen appropriately if you grow two nearby trees because they will fertilize each other.
The trees are deep-rooted and as a result you should look to plant your tree deep in the ground with a well-draining loam soil. If you use an organic fertilizer that will also help growth a little. To plant the almond tree, dig a hole wider than deep and make sure the roots fit easily into the depth of the hole, then water in deeply. You may need to stake the little tree if you live in a windy area but remove the stakes after a year to allow the proper tree growth.
Care for an almond tree will, like with any tree, depend on the season. Look to prune your tree in late winter in order to promote growth and allow light into the tree, while also removing any damages or old leaves that are not in great condition. The spraying of dormant oil or citronella will help to get rid of many pests as well.
During the spring bloom season, care of almond trees should include fertilization of mature trees with urea or manure, watered in or small doses of nitrogen for young trees. Drip irrigation should be initiated daily for those newly planted, with the trees needing at least 2 to 3 inches (5-8 cm.) of water. In the summer months, look to fertilize at the same rate as you do in the spring.
To harvest almonds, shake the tree and separate the hulls from the nut. Be sure to freeze your almonds for around a week to kill any worms or pests before you begin to store them. When they start growing on the tree, they will take around 6-8 months to mature properly, so be patient!
Whilst proper and effective pruning can depend on the time of year, growing conditions and weather, an almond tree should be pruned in about December or January at the latest so that growth is promoted for the upcoming blooming season.
Believe it or not, an almond tree is not able to self-pollinate. This means that it needs another almond tree nearby to be able to produce almonds. Typically, it would be best if you were looking to plant almond trees about 15-feet apart and try to prune them and allow them to bloom at the same time so that their growth is in sync.
This could be a result of what is known as ‘leaf curl’. It is typically not good for your tree, and if you see a leaf turning red, it would be best to prune it to remove it from contact with other leaves.
Even with the best care, however, almonds are susceptible to their share of almond tree diseases. When treating sick almond trees, it’s essential to recognize almond disease symptoms to identify which of the diseases of almond are afflicting the tree.
A spring frost can damage the flowers. It is for these reasons that almond nut production in the United States occurs mainly in California. There is no one, best way to prune an almond tree. However, some maintenance pruning is a good idea just to clean up your tree’s canopy and shape it.