How to Grow Almond tree | Growing & Caring [Guide]

Almond trees are the most popular nut trees around the world. They are highly nutritious and rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

This is a commercial tree that is cultivated by farmers on large land and supplies tasty nuts all around the world.

However, If you have a sufficient landscape, you can also grow this tree. This tree doesn’t need much care and grows effortlessly in proper condition.

For your comfort in this post, I have written how to grow almond tree and all the information you should know about them.

So, let’s see them one by one

Almond Trees

Photo source: Jim Bess

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Where do almond trees grow best

The word almond comes from the old french word  “almande or allemande”. The adjective “amygdaloid” describes a partway between a triangle and an ellipse.

Later, the British pronounced it as “almond”. Almonds have been cultivated since 4,000 BC and are native to central and southeast Asia.

However, it’s widely cultivated in other countries like America, Spain, Iran, Australia, etc.

Almond tree

Throughout history, these nuts have been highly revered in many religions.

In the Hebrew Bible, it’s mentioned: “almond the best of fruits”. Almonds trees were considered a symbol of promise and watchfulness due to their early flowering.

These nuts were the earliest domesticated fruit tree. However, it’s unclear which ancestor of almonds created the domestic species.

Maybe, the most likely wild ancestor of almonds was “Prunus fenzliana”.

Quick Growing Guide

Common NameAlmond tree
Scientific NamePrunus amygdalus
Plant TypeHardy annual
Mature Size13-33 ft tall
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeAverage and well-drained
Soil pH5.5 to 6.0
Bloom TimeEarly Spring
Flower Colorwhite to pale pink
Hardiness Zones5 to 9
Native AreaCentral Asia

What does the almond tree look like

How big do almond trees get?

The tree is tasty, grows 4–10 m (13–33 ft) tall, and spreads a trunk of up to 30 cm (12 in) in diameter.

The young twigs are green in color at first then turn purplish when exposed to sunlight and eventually become grey in their second year.

The tree flowers become white to pale pink, with five petals, grow singly or in pairs, and come before the leaves in early spring.

The blossom of the tree looks fantastic. Especially in the fall when the flowers spread in the surrounding.

how it look like

You can enjoy its beauty with your family and of course, it’s the best place for a family picnic.

The tree fruit matures in the autumn season, 7–8 months after flowering.

The fruit of the tree is a drupe which consists of an outer vessel and a strong shell with the seed which is not considered true nuts, inside.

Shelling almonds means removing the shell to reveal the seed. These nuts are sold shelled or unshelled.

Blanched are the shelled almond nuts that are treated with hot water to soften the seed coat, which is then removed to reveal the white fetus (embryo).

The tree leaves are 8–13 cm long, with a serrated margin and a 2.5 cm petiole. 

What do almond trees symbolize?

It represents sweetness, charm, and sensitivity. In China people see feminine beauty, fortitude in sorrow, and watchfulness.

Related post: 14 perennial plants That make your garden Beautiful.

Growing condition of the almond tree

Before knowing how do almonds grow. let’s see some factors to grow them.

Climate

Climate is one of the unavoidable factors in growing any plant. Well, Almonds are fussy about their growing condition.

These trees are delicious but not easy to grow.

almond tree bloom

Photo source: Mandelbaum

Where do almond trees grow best?

The tree thrives best in Mediterranean climates with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. They are well suited to places like California and the East Coast. 

When to plant an Almond tree?

Almond trees require hot and dry conditions and enjoy long summer with hot, dry, and sunny weather. They grow well in hardiness zones between 7 to 9. You can start planting somewhere in the middle of March.

Temperature

The correct temperature might flourish or slow down the growth of the tree. 

The optimal heat for their growth is between 15 and 30 °C (59 and 86 °F) and the tree buds have a chilling need of 200 to 700 hours below 7.2 °C (45.0 °F) to break dormancy (the state in which a plant is alive but not growing).

Soil

Almonds are particularly intolerant of wet soil and frost and are well suited to places like California and the East Coast. 

Gardening

Photo source:

This creates problems for early blooming almonds, which are particularly vulnerable to frost.

Sunlight 

Although almond plants are tolerant of partial shade. If they are not planted in full sunlight chances are, they will not flower or fruit.

So, you should plant them in the open landscape, where they get full sunlight.

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Water 

They will survive with less water. But, the tree needs enough rainfall (around 500-600 millimeters or 20-25 inches annually)  or irrigation to produce good well-filled nuts.

  • Traditionally, they are not irrigated, till farmers discover that sufficient amounts of water help them grow bigger.
  • They especially benefit from extra sprinkling in early spring. During the summer and sometimes in the 1st month of autumn.
  • But, they really need care in the starting days of planting, as growing too dry can reduce production. 
  • However, it’s vital not to water them during harvest time. Farmers stop irrigation 2-3 days before harvesting to achieve a good yield.
  • Hence watering them is a little guess game you have to provide the right balance to achieve a good yield.

Harvest

How long do almond trees take to grow?

Almonds become an economic crop in the 3 years and reach full bearing in 5-6 years after planting. They live up to 20-25 years long.

  • In India almond trees (Terminalia catappa) are also referred to as Sea Almond or Tropical Almond that belongs to the untrue mangroves.
  • Indian almonds grow in the warmer regions of India, states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala.
  • They also grow in West Bengal and other warmer regions in North India.  Indian almonds bear fruit during the winter season.

How almond tree pollinate

Generally, almonds are not self-pollinating, so cross-pollination with the second variety is important for fruit production.

The pollination of California’s almonds is the largest annual managed pollination event in the globe,

almond tree's pollination

source

with 1.4 million hives (nearly half of all beehives in the US) being transported in February to the almond groves.

Also read: 25 Best Perennial Fall Flowers for the beautiful garden

How to Grow Almond Tree

By root craft

Like other fruit and nuts trees, almonds also normally propagate by budding.

Budding is the far easiest and efficient way which ensures that they grow true to their parents. The hardy rootstock often to peach or the more tough bitter almonds variety.

It is used to prevent the tree from soil-borne diseases and then the fruit-bearing branch is grafted onto the rootstock.  

  • Using grafting makes almonds much more strong and grow much faster than planting a seed.
  • This is particularly the case for those who have peace rootstock, which normally tends to be more productive than those grafted with almond rootstock.
  • Another factor to look after is that you have at least two different but compatible varieties. So that they can cross-pollinate (usually by bees)

By the nuts 

almond tree blossom

From the seeds it takes much longer to bear fruit, as well as the nuts may not have the same quality as that of the parent plants.

Can I grow an almond tree from an almond?

Do not use roasted nuts as you find in supermarkets. Instead:

  • Find fresh, unpasteurized, unshelled nuts.
  • Soak them in water for around 48 hours.
  • Place them on a wet paper towel in a plastic bag and place them in the refrigerator.
  • After placing nuts for 3-4 weeks in the refrigerators, the almonds should start sprouting.
  • At this point, they’re ready to plant in a proper pot that has drained soil mixed (soil mixed with compost).
  • Place in direct sunlight, ideally on the balcony where it’s safe and warm.
  • The important thing is to keep the potted plant moist but never soggy. 
  • After they grow to a height of 6 feet, put it in the bigger area in the garden.

How to Transplant Almond Tree

Every tree needs extra care in the beginning, to give a successful harvest in the future. 

Before planting, keep in mind:

  • Almonds like a healthy distance from their neighbors, ideally 15-20 feet (4-5 meters) apart. 
  • The roots of the plant should be given in-depth dosing with water. Ensuring the soil is thoroughly wet before planting them to give a good start.
  • The hole should be dug wide and deep enough to cover the whole root system. Especially to the taproot (the center from which subsidiary rootlets spring). So that it doesn’t get bent out of shape.
  • As, like other nut trees, almonds are also sensitive to their taproot.
  • They should never be forced or trimmed into a hole. It is not appropriate for the length of its roots.
  • So, plant them carefully in the land without damaging their root system.
  • They should be planted to the same depth as grown at the nursery.
  • You would see the noticeable color difference between the roots and the rest of the plant. It indicates which part should be buried.
  • This is the same for both bare-root plants and potted trees. The hole around the roots should be solidly compressed with soil.
  • After refilling the hole, pour 2 buckets of water into your new baby plant to settle well. You may add some fertilizer to boost its growth. 
  • Though, it’s better to wait till spring to fertilize if the plant falls. 

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How to Harvest an Almond tree

Almonds

After lots of care and effort, it’s time for harvesting your yield.

Harvesting is quite fun, safely wrapped up in their shell, all you need to do is shake hard and the nuts will automatically fall in the ground, where you can gather them.

Pro tip: It’s best to shake the tree over a plate or cloth, so you can easily gather them.  

  • You can easily know if nuts are ripe for picking (or a shaking) when their hull starts to spite open.
  • Generally in the USA nuts are ripe in late summer through to October.
  • Almonds must be dried before eating. You can leave them in the ground for a few days.
  • After shaking them from the tree (if there is no risk of raining) or keep them safely somewhere cold and dry.
  • The average healthy and mature almond nut tree can produce nuts up to 50-65 pounds (23-30 kg).

How to Prune Almond tree

Pruning has different purposes at different stages of the tree’s life.

The young trees determine the future shape, productivity, and qualities of the nuts produced. It’s important to ensure a good harvest in the future.

  • For easy harvesting, almonds are commonly pruned into a “vase” shape with 3-4 main branches
  • If you do this correctly, the “vase” shape makes the tree more vigorous, more productive, and guarantees a long life span.
  • However, pruning after maturity is more important about maintaining shape, set in the early stage of the tree’s life. 
  • Pruning renews the tree and boots to produce more.
  • Around 20% of the older tree’s canopy pruned back every year.

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Pests and Disease 

As I earlier mentioned almond plants are sensitive souls.

They can be damaged by different organisms, including:

  • Insects
  • Fungal pathogens
  • Plant viruses
  • Bacteria

Fungal disease

They particularly suffer from soil-borne diseases, such as the fungal disease Verticillium wilt. This causes lots of damage to the tree and a huge loss of economy for commercial growers around the world. 

The disease can be avoided by using a grafted specimen with a hardy rootstock of peach or bitter almond. 

Remember: Not to over irrigate because it makes a favorable condition for the growth of verticillium. You can invest in Soaker hoses.

Fungal infections can also cause hull rot and there are mitigation techniques for this condition.

Bacteria disease

These trees often suffer from a bacterial disease called “crown gall”.

This gets into the tree by cuts. Do not damage the tree and if pruning, always cut the branches with a clean and disinfected tool.

Mites

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

These mites can be controlled by:

  • An oil spray during the tree’s dormant period.
  • Introducing natural predators such as the Western predatory mite.
  • Effective pesticides present against mites including some pyrethroids.

Varieties and Cultivars you can buy

When you buy a good almond tree, the most important thing to look for is, in which condition you grow and in which hardiness region you live.

Varieties

Make sure to buy sweet almonds instead of bitter ones if you want to eat nuts.

You can buy standard almonds like Carmel (well-protected nuts and excellent pollenizer) and Mission which is very productive but it takes time to bloom.

However, if you have tight space like home orchards, I recommend the best variety of All-in-one which grows about half the size of a standard tree. 

The All-in-one is an exceptional self-pollinating cultivar, it doesn’t need any helping hand in making fruits and adds value in a small space garden. 

The fruit from this tree is considered a soft-shelled nut and ripens in late September or early October.

The Hall’s Hardy is also a good variety. This cultivar is planted for beautiful pink bloom and its nuts.

 It is a full-size almond tree which is better for cross-pollination, so be sure to plant another variety nearby for a good harvest, and it generally ripens in October.

 Hall’s Hardy is a cold-tolerant variety, they are planted in marginal places such as USDA hardiness zones 5-9. They need a bit of chill weather to produce fruits.

Also read: How to grow chives in a pot from seeds

Did I Miss Anything?

Thank you for reading, I hope you found this post “how to grow almond tree” helpful. 🙂

Now I’d like to hear from you: which tip from today’s post are you going to try first?

Or maybe, I didn’t mention your favorite plant growing tip. Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

Before going if you want to grow beautiful flowers in your garden? Then click on these articles also.

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