Belongs to the Rosaceae (rose family), the almond tree is relative to some popular fruit plants. This species comes in different types, ranging from little to mid-sized trees.
If you want to grow pretty blossoms only, consider planting tiny ornamental shrubs of almond. For enjoying edible nuts, opt for the mid-size trees.
Fortunately, growing almonds does not have to be difficult. You can harvest the nuts successfully as long as the tree is nurtured in the right climate and proper care.
This deciduous tree is also known as Prunus dulcis and can reach 3 to 4.5 meters tall. Thus, growing it in a narrow garden is not impossible.
The almond tree itself is native to the Middle East and North Africa. If you are interested in growing it in your garden, the following information will help to make the most of the attempt.
1. How to Grow an Almond Tree in the Garden
Before growing one, keep in mind that almond tends to generate its best crop of nuts when it is cultivated in a region with hot summer and low humidity.
Throughout the growing season, you need to keep the tree away from the harm frosts as well. For this reason, it will be better to grow almond in an area with a seven to eight-month period free of frosts.
Moreover, you should keep in mind that a spring frost can also spoil the almond tree blossom, making it pretty difficult to grow the plant in a cold region.
For instance, in the United States, the main production of almond nuts is centered in California since the region has a pretty long warm season.
Instead of clayey soil, you better grow your almond tree in sandy one since good drainage is necessary here.
Provide the tree with rich, profound, well-drained loam that is a bit acidic to neutral. The soil can be slightly alkaline as well to let your almond thrive properly.
When planting the almond, make sure to till it deeply into the soil. This way, the roots are capable of striking down profoundly for better growth.
In general, any type of soil will work for an almond tree. The exception is only soggy, poorly-draining one that is not suitable for this variety.
This tree typically handles a variety of soils, including loamy and sandy, as long as they are well-draining.
If the preserved ground is lack of draining ability, you should combine sand with some natural elements to improve its streaming ability.
If you want to enjoy the most flowers from your almond tree, make sure to locate it in full sun. The plant will potentially produce more nuts as well.
Just like many other trees that are native to warm regions, almond requires minimally six hours of direct sunlight every day. However, a greater amount of sun will typically lead to higher production of fruits.
It is no secret that almond can withstand partial shade. Nevertheless, the tree may generate a much smaller volume of blossoms and will probably struggle to make fruits.
When it comes to water, the almond tree requires average water needs. You can shower your plant around three inches every day, especially during its formative years.
Once your almond has established, it is possible to reduce the amount of water to three inches a week instead of a day. However, you should remember its condition plays a role in determining how much showering needed.
Despite its love for hot, dry circumstances, these trees enjoy lots of water to encourage fruit production.
Indeed, they can endure in nearly drought-like conditions. However, you will not love it since the almond is less likely to generate a bunch of fruits in such states.
In case the fruit is not essential, or you want to grow it as a flowering almond tree, there is no need to consider watering that much.
On the other hand, if you want the almond to generate fruits, it is important to pay more attention to your watering manner since this tree can be pretty fussy.
Additional Watering is Essential
Give extra water to your tree, especially in the growing season, since doing so can help the almond to obtain a better yield of fruit.
Furthermore, additional water can also be advantageous throughout hot, dry summer days and early fall. Nevertheless, make sure to stop watering the almond tree a few days before harvesting.
This practice is useful to allow the produces to dried out. As a result, you do not need to guess when the fruits are ready to harvest. Even though the tree can gain many benefits from extra water throughout the year, be careful not to overwater it since almond will not be able to endure wet soil.
You can fertilize your almond tree in spring. Get a balanced food plant for the best option. Then, apply it along the drip line of your plant.
Utilizing a half cup of high-nitrogen fertilizer is a good idea as well. You can do it when the spring shoots of your tree are 5 to 8 cm long. Meanwhile, once the tree matures, you can provide it with 30 pounds of well-aged manure every spring.
As mentioned somewhere above, almond prefers climates that experience extended, warm summers since such conditions provide it with a long growing period.
Throughout sweltering summers, try to whitewash your almond tree’s trunks to guard it against sunscald.
Even though the tree loves the heat, it also needs a specific amount of cold weather to take a rest or engage in the dormancy process.
Generally, the ideal period for the tree to get in temperatures of lower than 7 degrees Celsius is between 300 and 400 hours every year.
This temperature requirement is the main reason why an almond tree cannot withstand tropical climates since it cannot obtain enough cold weather to enter the dormancy phase.
Climates found in California and some states on the US east coast become the best place for growing almond properly.
Almond Tree Growing Zones
This tree is hardy to USDA Zones 7 to 9 and tends to struggle outside of these areas. In zones six or lower, the late spring frostiness may spoil or even kill its flowers as well as buds.
Indeed, an adequate period of cold weather is required for the tree to thrive, but frost can result in issues for it. But in most cases, your tree will be able to deal with cold.
However, although it can survive, it can affect its blossoms. This condition may influence fruit production accordingly.
Due to its exceptional growth process, an almond tree requires warm climates from January to February, followed by a wintry November and December. The warm-up seasons will awaken dormant buds in January, and by February, the blossoms are ready for pollination.
Then, is it possible to grow almonds outside the above ideal zones? Of course, you can cultivate this tree in other regions, but its production frequently suffers. To make sure that the tree suits your hardiness zones, you should consider getting one started at a nearby local nursery.
2. Planting Almond Trees in Your Garden
It is important to give your almond tree the most impressive start in life to thrive. Ideally, you should plant this cultivar in fall considering its quick early growth phase.
Moreover, planting it in fall will guarantee the tree to develop burly roots before winter.
Of course, starting to plant your almond at any time across the year is highly possible. However, it probably requires additional care since you should protect the tree from heat-waves and frost later.
Once the fall comes, and you are ready to plant the tree, don’t forget to pick a spot that obtains full sun yet is shielded from cold winds.
Now, let’s take a look at the step-by-step to plant an almond tree in your garden.
Steps to Plant an Almond Tree
First, dig a hole minimally at a similar depth to the root ball. It is very significant since the taproot of your tree is sensitive and cannot be forced or bent into a narrow space.
Remember that the hole must be broader than it is deep. The size should be roughly two times the root ball’s width.
Second, immerse the roots in the water before plating them. Then, mildly spread them out in the previously-prepared hole.
Remember to load the hole with dirt and assure that it is fully compressed. You need to include additional soil as well around the trunk of your almond tree to make a somewhat raised angle. As a result, water can drain away from the stem for preventing rot.
Next, once planted, you can shower the tree with several buckets of water to help it reconcile. Young cultivars may require to be staked for making them stand upright.
In case you are using stakes during this point, don’t forget to remove them when your almond tree can hold its weight later. This way, it can grow without any constraint.
When your tree is pretty young, pruning is necessary to promote good shape. This will lead to a healthy cultivar and ensure a long, prolific life as well.
You can prune your tree in winter throughout its dormant phase. Simply trim out all the weaker branches, keeping only four to five twigs.
Once your almond tree is established, pruning is also necessary to maintain its shape while promoting new growths.
If you see any branches that grow outside of the tree’s natural shape or develop back toward it, just cut them out.
Your goal is to get rid of about 20 percent of older branches from the tree every winter. By pruning regularly, you can anticipate continuous new growths from the almond.
Moreover, pruning some branches will allow sunrise to enter your almond tree and enhance breeze too.
This condition can help your tree to bear more flowers while maintaining its overall health. You are better thin out any diseased or dead growth too at any time of the year.
3. Harvesting a Crop of Almond Nuts
Theoretically, the crop generated by an almond tree is not a kind of nut. This is a stone fruit or drupe instead.
The produce cultivating on your tree will appear like a strong, green hull at first. Inside it is a solid, light-colored shell that is later cracked with a nutcracker to obtain the edible part.
By cracking the shell, you will free the brown seed that is typically consumed. For your further information, almond itself comes in several dissimilar types.
The one you found in dessert and nut bowls recipes is frequently the sweet almond (Prunus dulcis).
In addition to the sweet one, there is also a bitter almond. They are botanically named Prunus dulcis var. Amara, this kind, is typically used to particular flavor liqueurs.
Almond Tree Pollination
In general, an almond tree is not a self-fertile kind. The pollination process tends to engage two or more trees for the best results.
At this point, you will require two or more cultivars to enjoy edible fruits from the tree. The good news is that any cultivars can be utilized for pollination.
To encourage perfect pollination, you have to play the trees 38 to 63 cm apart from one another. Most growers will find it the trickiest part to grow almond for a crop of nuts.
A genius way to prevent having to plant dissimilar cultivars for pollination intentions is to pick one of the self-fertile kinds. For instance, you can consider selecting the Garden Prince.
The Garden Prince is a kind of self-pollinating almond tree that can reach 3 to 3.5 meters tall. This species is cold-hardy and may cultivate better in Zone 8.
Harvesting The Almond Tree
Luckily, almonds tend to provide a sign when they are ready to be harvested. The hulls start to tear apart and disclose the common, light-colored shell.
You should not wait too long once noticing this splitting since the exposed shell will make great food for both insects and birds.
For a home grower, the simplest way to harvest an almond tree is by tapping the branches with a rod. Consider laying a tarp down first to catch the crops as they fall to make it easier for you to pick them up later.
After collecting the almonds, make sure to dry them properly, or they will get moldy. You can follow the below information for the best practice.
To dry the harvested almonds properly, get rid of the hulls first. Then, spread the nuts out in a skinny layer across the surface, contributing to drying. Doing so when the shells still on.
The perfect surface will be a table, but you may need to replace the top with a screen. After that, wrap them with BirdBlock mesh to avoid any birds from seizing them.
You can cover the almonds with a tarp once it is going to rain.
If you want to know when the drying process is done, the easiest way to make sure is by sampling the nuts.
Simply crack the shells of several nuts and figure out whether the edible seeds inside are rubbery or hard.
In case they are hard, you can get ready to enjoy them. However, if the seeds are rubbery, this means another drying period is needed to complete.
After determining that the crops from your almond tree have been adequately dry, bring the rest of the nuts indoors (with the shells still on).
You better store them at room temperature so that they can be kept for the next eight months.
4. How to Propagate Almond Trees
Generally, you can propagate almond by utilizing root graft. Doing so can guarantee that the new tree is identical to the parent, making it more potential for bearing good fruits.
Take a hardy rootstock or peach and find a branch that is going to produce fruits. Then, attach it onto any underground of your plant.
It is also possible to grow an almond tree from seeds. However, you will wait much longer until enjoying the fruits.
Moreover, when growing a tree from seeds, the new growth will not always be identical to the parent plant.
To utilize the nut of your almond for propagation, simply immerse a fresh one in water for around two days. Then, set it on a paper towel and use a plastic bag to cover the seed.
Store the bag in a fridge for about 30 days or until you notice some sprouts forming from the nuts.
After that, you can plant the nuts in well-drained, damp soil in a container. Keep in mind to place your seeds on a bright and warm windowsill. Then, wait for more growth before transferring them into a bigger pot.
You can wait until they reach 15 to 20 cm in height for repotting. Once your almond tree has established a strong root system, consider planting it outdoors.
5. How to Deal with Potential Almond Diseases and Pests
Now that you are interested in growing an almond tree in your garden keep in mind that this plant is not different from others. It can also be prone to potential problems, including diseases and pests.
Some issues that happen to almonds are connected with improper cultural care, such as irrigation. To keep your tree productive and healthy, provide it with regular water, but never overwatering.
Overwatering can result in a windborne fungal disease like hull rot. To prevent this issue, you need to provide the tree with less water around the time of its splitting.
Unluckily, possible diseases and pests to the almond trees are numerous. Then, most of them can be deadly, making it important to understand the way to deal with the issues.
Your almond tree can get strike by lots of species of pests. That includes spider mites. Scale, ants, leaf-rooted bugs, leafrollers, borers, forest tent caterpillars, and stink bugs are other insects that may bother the tree.
The best way to manage problems due to mites or insects in almond is by asking your garden center or local university extension. They tend to suggest the appropriate ways or products to dealing with the issues.
Loads of different issues can lead to diseases in your almond tree. Both fungal and bacterial diseases are highly possible to affect this species.
A circumstance including the almond’s planting weather and location may play a role in determining which kind of issue that the tree faces.
For this reason, it is more recommended to buy disease-resistant almond plants for the lowest maintenance possible.
Besides, proper cultural care can also lower the chance of almond pests and diseases. Then, don’t forget to provide enough fertilizer as well as irrigation to reduce future problems.
6. Varieties of Almond to Grow in the Garden
Previously, you have known that there are bitter and sweet varieties of almonds. While the sour ones are primarily grown as an ornamental tree, the sugary ranges are what people typically consume right now.
If you want to avoid planting more than one tree to encourage pollination, all-in-one almond variety is an ideal choice since it can do self-fertile.
This compact variety makes a great option for smaller spaces like a backyard or narrow garden. It typically grows to roughly half the size of a common almond tree.
Different from its counterparts, all-in-one almond does not require another plant to pollinate properly. Thus, you can grow this tree by itself in the garden.
Other than all-in-one almonds, there are more than 30 different varieties of these nut-bearing trees grown both commercially and non-commercially. The following are some of the most popular cultivars to take into account.
Hall’s Hardy Flowering Almond Tree
This almond variety can offer you a bunch of gorgeous pink flowers when blooming. It is also especially hardy, making it perfect for almost everyone.
If you are looking for a little, nut-bearing tree that can increase the visual of your garden at the same time, Hall’s hardy is indeed the best answer.
Hall’s hardy can ready around 4.5 to 6 meters in height and is not typically utilized for commercial production. The fruits of this almond tree are very delicate to eat and cook with.
Meanwhile, the growth rate of Hall’s hardy is pretty fast, considering that its height can improve more than 60 centimeters each year.
The good news is that Hall’s hardy can grow perfectly in a selection of well-drained soils. Simply plant it under the full sun for the tree to thrive ideally.
When growing this almond plant, you can expect to enjoy the nuts after three to five years. The harvesting period typically starts from the beginning of September to October, depending on your location.
Although this almond variety is self-fertile type, you still need to plant it in two or three to guarantee appropriate pollination.
Mission almond is one of the most popular commercial varieties that are pretty easy to grow at home. It bears lovely, fragrant flowers in spring as well as good quality fruits in autumn.
Similar to other almond varieties, this one also comes with frost-tender flowers. It has a habit of blooming late enough to escape the harmful frosts.
This characteristic also makes Texas Mission more ideal for diverse climates compared to other varieties.
Besides, this variety is also popular for generating tasty, nutritious fruits. Aside from culinary purposes, its seeds are often used for medicinal applications too.
Thanks to its beautiful blooms, this almond tree makes a great ornamental addition to any temperate garden as well.
This variety is a California type that requires 500 hours of a chilling period at a temperature of below 7 degrees Celsius.
Livingston almond typically reaches a medium to large sizes when mature. It has upright to slightly spreading trunks with vigorous foliage.
When growing this almond variety, you will need to plant other cultivars as well, such as the Texas Mission or Padre.
With consistent heavy crops, this variety can make a great but-bearing tree in any garden. Besides, it is pretty easy to knock, as well.
In its natural habitat, you can harvest this almond tree between early and late September. Expect for medium-sized kernels with soft, paper-thin shells.
Padre Almond Tree
Different from the previous Livingston almond, this variety is included in a butte-padre category. The approximate harvest date is between late September and early October.
Padre almond produces small to medium kernels that are a bit smaller than Mission. Meanwhile, the taste is slightly bitter than other varieties.
The shell of this almond is hard and well-sealed. Similar to Livingston variety, this tree requires another tree for pollination too.
Like Mission almond, this variety also has big, upright characteristics and is very vigorous. However, you have to perform heavy pruning to spread and shape Padre.
Furthermore, this almond tree is an excellent producer with the potential for great yields. Compared to Mission, Padre is more tolerant of salty soil.
Nonpareil Almond Tree
This is another well-known type of almond out there that makes a great variety to grow at home. However, nonpareil is considered more difficult to grow compared to other cultivars.
Technically, it is almost impossible to plant this almond variety outside of the United States’ Pacific Coast.
Nevertheless, if you are living in USDA hardiness zones 7 to 9, planting this almond tree will be a possible challenge.
Unlike Livingston and Padre, nonpareil almond requires a chilling temperature of below 7 degrees Celsius for about 400 hours only.
The estimated harvest season of this variety is between late August and early September when being cultivated in California areas.
You can expect mid-sized kernels with flat, light-colored appearances. The nuts are sweet and very popular for their industry quality standard.
These kinds of almond trees can be ordinary to one massive carrier. Nonpareil almond knocks well and is very easy to harvest due to its high crack out.
Folsom, Carmel, Monterey, and Aldrich varieties will be needed to help the pollination process of a nonpareil almond tree.
Compared to other nuts, nonpareil almond has the most purposes and uses. You can take advantage of it in process, raw, blanched, or anything.
Carmel Almond Tree
Carmel is known as a pollinator for nonpareil and typically used for processing or manufacturing functions like baking ingredients.
The blooming time of this almond tree is one or two days after Nonpareil. Meanwhile, the harvest period is typically 17 days following its corresponding variety.
You can expect to harvest your Carmel almond within early to late September. It will produce mid-sized kernels with light color and sweet flavor.
This variety is more upright than Nonpareil and can thrive into a low-vigorous tree with medium size. It is a heavy producer that knocks effortlessly.
However, Carmel’s almond tree is very prone to bud failure. If you want to grow nonpareil, it will make an excellent pollenizer for it.
Monterey Almond Tree
Similar to Carmel, Monterey almond also blooms after Nonpareil. This medium-sized tree is very spreading and moderately vigorous.
Monterey almond is a heavy and precocious bearer and also knocks well. Its harvesting time is around three weeks after Nonpareil.
You can expect to harvest this almond tree throughout October. It produces big, elongated nuts that taste slightly bitter.
Since this variety is not self-fertile type, you will need a pollenizer such as Nonpareil to grow with it. Then, don’t forget that Monterey requires 450 hours below 7 degrees Celsius as its approximate chilling requirement.
Compared to the previous Monterey almond, this variety requires a less chilling period of 350 hours only. It is also an early type to bloom despite its harvest time that is around seven days after Nonpareil.
The estimated harvest time of this variety is in early to late September. Sonora almond produces paper shells that are poorly sealed.
If you take a look at its nuts, they have medium to large sizes and come with elongated, light-colored appearances. Meanwhile, the Sonora offers sweet-flavored kernels.
Like most of the above varieties, this almond tree requires other cultivars for pollination. You can grow it along with Nonpareil.
This mid-sized tree is fairly spreading and vigorous. It is often considered less sensitive to frost compared to other early blooming varieties.
You can expect Sonora almond to knock well and generate high shelling percentages. Nevertheless, it may acquire a trend to alternate bear and set nuts on laterals.
Wood Colony Almond
When it comes to a variety that is appropriate for close plantings, the Wood Colony almond is the best answer. Due to its somewhat compact size, the same will not be difficult.
The Wood Colony almond typically blooms along with Carmel. It ripens for yielding approximately 11 days after Nonpareil.
This almond tree is a consistent, heavy bearer that has medium-sized kernels with elongated, semi-soft shells.
It tends to grow smaller than Carmel but owns an identical spreading growth habit with the said variety.
If you want to grow a new variety that is worth a try, the Winters Almond from the University of California is the best bet. This tree blooms at the same time with Carmel and Nonpareil, but harvest two weeks after them.
Similar to Nonpareil and Carmel, this almond tree generates good kernel qualities as well. The nuts are medium-sized and have a yielding shell.
Thanks to their thin, moderately sealed shell, it is pretty easy to crack nuts. However, this characteristic makes Winters Almond more prone to worm and ant damage compared to other varieties.
Meanwhile, you can expect your Winters tree to thrive vigorous and upright. This kind of almond tree has also proved constant high crops in study areas.
This variety blooms almost at the same time as the Nonpareil. However, the Price almond matures for harvest around a week after the corresponding cultivar.
The Price almond generates a medium-sized, plump nut that has a paper-thin shell. Meanwhile, the tree is supposed to be hardy and upright.
Similar to the Sonora, Price almond conduces to makeshift. In a few years, this variety will probably yield a moderately high percentage of double nuts.
Furthermore, this California type of almond requires 400 hours below 7 degrees Celsius to enter dormancy.
Around eight days after Nonpareil blooms, the Ruby almond will start flowering with varieties like Padre and Mission.
However, this almond tree offers a late harvest that begins around a month after Nonpareil. You can expect to enjoy the nuts through late September to the middle of October.
Nuts of the Ruby are medium-small, sweet-flavored, and plump. Meantime, the shells are well-sealed and semi-hard.
The estimated chilling requirement for Ruby almond is 550 hours below 7 degrees Celsius, longer than most other varieties.
This almond tree typically grows somewhat vigorous with upright to moderately spreading habit. Besides, it is a regular producer that knocks well.
If you wish to grow in-shell almond variety, the Peerless is the most excellent choice right now. It offers hard, well-sealed coverings with light colors that look appealing.
Peerless almonds will bloom two days before Nonpareil and can be harvested 16 days after. This somehow vigorous tree cultivates semi-upright to mid-size.
You can expect to harvest the Peerless throughout September. Even though it tends to flower early, the variety can be vulnerable to frost damage.
However, this almond tree will require an estimated chilling requirement of 375 hours below 7 degrees Celsius.
This is another almond variety that blooms along with Nonpareil as it is an excellent pollenizer for others.
Aldrich almond will mature for harvesting around two weeks after Nonpareil. It typically generates a plump kernel of a medium-sized and moderately hard shell.
The shell of Aldrich almond is well sealed, but it is 62 percent crack out. Meanwhile, this tree has a growth habit that is identical to Mission. You can see the variety to become upright with a big and vigorous appearance.
When it comes to the highest yielding variety, Butte almond is the answer. The tree is somehow vigorous and consistently generates a heavy crop that is very effortless to shake.
Butte almond is known for its late blooming and harvesting time. This variety is suitable for planting with other belatedly cultivars like Padre.
Similar to Mission, the Butte acquires medium to small-sized nuts that have distinguishably plump. Whilst, the shell of this variety is well-sealed and semi-hard.
7. Good Reasons to Grow Almond Tree in Your Garden
It is no secret that almonds are often connecting with ethnic, social, and religious significance in many cultures.
For example, Americans consider this tree as a token of happiness, good health, and love. That’s why they tend to provide guests with sweetened almonds at weddings.
In Rome, the newlywed couple gets a shower by almond since they are believed as a fertility charm. Meanwhile, in Sweden, these nuts are often associated with a Christmas tradition.
While an almond tree can give a required visual interest in your garden, the nuts produced to offer a variety of health benefits. Below are some of the top advantages to expect.
Advantages of Planting Almond Tree
First, almond nuts offer a good amount of vitamin E that results in an antioxidant property. This effect can reduce your chance of developing any heart-related diseases.
Second, these nuts also contain a high amount of magnesium that is very important to help in soothing arteries and veins. This element can increase blood flow in your body as well.
Next, complete monosaturated fats in almonds can help to reduce bad cholesterol too. As a result, consuming these nuts may lower your risk of suffering any heart disorders.
Then, your almond tree will generate nuts that contain potassium as well. This compound can help manage the blood pressure while facilitating the smooth operation of a strong heart.
Also, almonds may assist you in keeping diabetes under check by reducing after-meal surges in your blood sugar.
These nuts offer significant antioxidants that can help with the cleanup of the free radicals in your body. As a result, almonds make a healthy snack to choose after a meal.
All in all, growing an almond tree requires further understanding because it is not very easy to cultivate. You can use the above information and start planting this nut-bearing plant in your backyard or garden.