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California Almonds Lifecycle I Ideal Mediterranean Climate

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    Why Almonds

    Almond farming is a long-term commitment. Orchards generally produce for 25 years, yielding their first crop three years after planting.

    From orchard to table.

    Crunching into an almond, it’s hard to imagine the journey that little nut took to make its way to your mouth. Grown in California’s  ideal Mediterranean climate,  the annual almond lifecycle has many stages and an abundance of natural beauty. 

    November through January, almond trees go through a period of dormancy, losing their leaves and chilling out in California’s cool, wet winters. Orchard soils store up rainwater for the upcoming growing season, and the trees store nutrients and energy for next year’s crop. Toward the end of dormancy, buds begin swelling on each tree’s branches in preparation for bloom. 

    Between mid-February and mid-March, almond tree buds burst into beautiful white and light-pink blooms. During this time, beekeepers bring hives into the orchards to help pollinate the crop. As the trees blossom, honey bees forage for pollen and nectar, bringing it back to their hives as their first natural food source of the year. When the bees move from tree to tree, they pollinate almond blossoms along the way by moving pollen between the different tree varieites grown within each orchard.

    Every almond you eat exists because a honey bee pollinated an almond blossom. And bee hives that help pollinate almonds consistently leave stronger than they arrived,1 providing a healthy start to their year. After almonds, beekeepers bring their honey bees to different locations across the United States, pollinating more than 90 other crops and making honey.

    From March to June, almond kernels mature and grow to full size, with the shell hardening around it—both protected by a fuzzy outer hull. Once the spring rains stop and the weather heats up, farmers begin irrigating their orchards to support the growing crop, taking great care to ensure each drop of water is used responsibly and efficiently. Also at this time, green almonds can be harvested for various culinary uses. 

    In July, almond hulls split open, exposing the almond shell and allowing it and the kernel inside to dry. Shortly before harvest, the hulls turn a straw-yellow color and open completely.

    From August through October, mechanical tree "shakers" harvest the crop by vigorously shaking it to the ground. Protected by their outer hulls and shells, the almonds then dry naturally in the warm California sun for 7–10 days before being swept into rows by a “sweeper” machine. After that, a harvester or “pickup” machine drives over the rows, vacuuming the nuts up into a cart that brings them to the edge of the orchard for transport to the next stop on their journey. 

    Each almond variety is harvested separately, so this process typically happens two to three times per orchard. Also during this period, almond trees begin building the pieces that will become the next year’s crop, so farmers take care to give the trees what they need for this important stage. 

    After harvest, almonds go to a huller/sheller facility where the kernels pass through a roller to remove the hull, shell and any debris from the orchard, such as sticks and rocks. Almond farmers practice a zero-waste approach, ensuring everything an orchard grows is put to use. Almond shells are used as livestock bedding, and hulls are valuable dairy feed, with research underway exploring new potential uses in the areas of recycled plastics, fuel, and regenerative agriculture. 

    Next stop: the processor for sizing, where the almond kernels drop into separate bins according to size. 

    After sizing, almonds are kept in controlled storage conditions to maintain quality until they're either shipped or further processed into a variety of different almond forms for diverse culinary uses. Producing 80% of the world’s supply, California almonds make their way to almond lovers in over 90 countries worldwide. And the biggest almond lovers are right here in the U.S., where over 30% of almonds grown in California each year are consumed.

    Almonds are enjoyed in many ways, occasions, and locations! From whole almonds to blanched, sliced and diced ones—as well as almond flour, paste, butter, oil, milk, and more—almonds are incredibly versatile, satisfying, and packed with powerful plant-based nutrition, supporting healthy diets the world over.

    1. Ellen Topitzhofer, et al. Assessment of Pollen Diversity Available to Honey Bees in Major Cropping Systems During Pollination in the Western United States. Journal of Economic Entomology. 2019.

  • Almonds from Flowering to Harvesting to Processing – A Year in the Life

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    May 13, 2019

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    Almonds from Flowering to Harvesting to Processing – A Year in the Life

    Almond Growing and Almond Harvesting

    Almonds are a truly amazing gift of nature. Whether you choose to consume your almonds in their “natural state,” as almond butter, roasted & seasoned, almond and rice crackers, almond milk, almond flour, or any one of the many other ways almonds appear in your local grocery store, you may never have given any thought to how almonds are propagated, grown, harvested, or processed.

    In this article, we will take you along on a magical journey – the journey of the almond – from the flower to the fruit nut, from harvesting to processing, and finally to market as one of your favorite almond products. Along the way, we’ll learn something about orchard keeping, almond harvesting, and how almonds eventually become the products you love. By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll be able to answer the question, “How do almonds grow?” and many others.

    The Flower and Everything It Requires

    An almond tree can take as long as five to twelve years to start producing almonds, but a mature almond tree can typically produce fruit for as many as twenty-five years. Almond trees require specific conditions, similar to the Mediterranean, to produce fruit, and that limits the areas in which they can be grown worldwide. Thankfully, we have the single most prolific almond-growing region in the world right here in the U.S ., in the state of California, home of Blue Diamond® Almonds.

    In the Spring, typically somewhere between February and March, the almond trees of California begin to produce flowers. The flower buds actually start to form as early as the previous summer.

    In the Spring, typically somewhere between February and March, the almond trees of California begin to produce flowers. The flower buds appear sometime before this, as far back as November of the preceding year, in some cases.

    For the tree to produce flowers, the buds have to go through a period of cold weather, though a heavy frost can damage the flowers. Once the flowers have bloomed, the trees need to be pollinated, an act that is typically accomplished by bringing bees into the orchards to do the work.

    Almond orchards are the first trees the bees typically “see” each year coming out of the winter. The almond pollen is quite nutritious, and the bees are able to rebuild their strength during the almond bloom.. Almond pollen and nectar stored in the hive during the bloom is an important source of nourishment that the bees use during the Spring and Summer months.

    Almond Harvesting and Everything It Entails

    Almond trees technically produce drupes, a type of fruit with a fuzzy layer called a hull and hard shell that contains the nut we have come to love so much. These drupes grow from the time of pollination in the Spring, into the beginning of the Summer months, and split open in July and August, allowing the almond to dry.

    Harvesting of almonds happens from August through October in California, depending on the type of almond tree and the climate in the specific location where the trees are being grown. Almond farmers use mechanical tree shakers to get the almonds to fall to the ground. They are then left to further dry in the summer sun for as many as eight to ten days. Eventually, they are swept into rows and picked up for processing.

    How Almonds Become Your Favorite Products

    Every part of the harvested almond is used for some purpose Hulls are nutrient rich and used to feed livestock, shells are crushed and used for animal bedding and even to create biomass that can be burned for heat creation. Almonds are mechanically hulled in most cases, and then ground to make almond butter, almond flour, and almond crackers; to become almond milk; or roasted, salted, and seasoned to be enjoyed straight from the can or bag.

    How Do Almonds Grow—The Crash Course

    If you’d ever wondered how the almonds are grown, how they get harvested, and how they’re eventually processed, you now have the answers. In the end, satisfying your cravings for almonds and all the wonderful products we make from them depends on months of hard work by the almond grower, the production facility, the almond tree, and millions of bees.

    Source: http://www.almonds.com/growers/in-the-orchard/harvest

    Tagged:

    • honey bees
    • almond growing
    • almond farming
    • almond harvesting
    • almond pollination
    • gluten free diet
    • almond flour

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    90,000 planting, growing, care. Personal experience of growing When there is still snow on the banks of the Neva and the Moskva River, almonds bloom in the Crimea. And inhaling its aroma, once again it seems that we live almost in paradise. Almonds are good not only for their delicious spring aroma, but also for tasty, healthy nut fruits with medicinal properties. However, if you want to plant this beautiful plant in your home, keep in mind that almonds are quite thermophilic. If there are varieties for your climate, great!

    We planted our “almonds” when we planned our first pregnancy, stocking up our “drugs” ahead of time for pregnancy and lactation. Almonds increase the level of lactation (in other words, the amount of breast milk) in a nursing mother.

    Almonds are dried and eaten, added as a spice to various dishes. In addition to fruits, almonds are valued for their aesthetic appearance and very pleasant aroma during the flowering period.

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    Planting almonds

    There are two main methods of planting: either a stone or a seedling is planted in the ground. I will say right away that the second method is much simpler - I had a chance to watch the neighbors who really wanted to grow almonds from seeds.

    If you still want to grow an almond tree from seed, plant them in the spring. Because if you lay the bones in the ground in the fall, as, by the way, our neighbors did, they run the risk of not surviving until spring - field rodents will thank you very much and eat them with pleasure.

    As for planting seedlings, it also has a number of its own characteristics. If you want almonds to bear fruit, you need to plant at least two, and preferably three plants. Pollination features are shown.


    A girl planting an almond tree

    We had no particular problems with planting - the seedlings were sold with a clod of earth near the roots (it seems that almost all of them are sold this way). We were advised to plant in the sunniest place, protected from the wind. Somewhere we did just that, dug small holes (25-30 cm deep) at a distance of about 3 m from each other, where the seedlings were lowered along with a clod of earth.

    Tied to a cane pole (we sell such long sticks in supermarkets to support plants) and watered every time the soil dried up.

    Now, having talked with many almond lovers, I know that traditionally the bottom of the planting hole is covered with crushed stone and sand, and lime is added to the soil. But when we planted almonds (and it was almost 9 years ago), I didn’t know about it, respectively, and planted without any special tricks directly into the ground, since it’s already excessively sandy with us.


    Caring for almonds

    Almonds are an unpredictable plant, in some (probably it depends more on the soil) it grows beautifully and, which is typical, bears fruit without fertilizers and a special watering regime. Others fertilize and water, but do not get a bountiful harvest.

    • Watering almonds

    With the watering regime, everything is relatively simple: when the soil under the plant is dry, you need to pour a bucket of water under it. And it is important not to overdo it - it can harm the root system of the plant. If the almonds are not watered enough, the flowering period will be reduced, and as a result, the volume of the crop obtained will be reduced.


    Abundant fruiting directly depends on watering

    • Almond fertilizer

    In spring, almonds are fertilized with rotted manure, and in autumn with superphosphates and potassium sulfide.

    • Pruning almonds

    Almonds should be pruned regularly, removing dry and diseased branches. Decorative pruning also does not harm the plant. It is usually carried out after flowering, cutting off annual shoots in order to form a tree crown.

    • Diseases of almonds

    One of the most common diseases of almonds is gray rot. There are no specialized means of protection against it. (If suddenly someone knows, I will be grateful if you share in the comments.) Pruning infected branches helps a lot. But it is important to cut it on time, before the appearance of spore-bearing pads. We saved one plant in this way, but two more did not have time.

    There are other diseases that are dangerous for almonds, such as moniliosis. To save the plant from it, it is necessary to spray with a Bordeaux mixture.

    • Pests of almonds

    Neighbor goats became the main pests for our plant :) Luckily, they did not eat all the leaves.

    But in general, almonds are most often affected by aphids, leafworms and codling moths. Luckily, we didn't have to deal with the last two. And the aphids, it was the case, got there - they washed the leaves with laundry soap (solution, of course), we did the same with rose leaves, and the voracious insects retreated.


    Almond picking

    Almond blossoms in April, filling the area with the maddening smell of their flowers.

    These marvelous flowers then form fruits which, depending on the almond variety, ripen in June-July.

    They are usually harvested when the outer shell of the fruit cracks. Then the nuts are separated from the inedible outer shell (we are not talking about the nut shell, but about the outer green skin) and dried for several days.

    Choice of almond variety

    The choice of one or another variety of almonds largely depends on the climatic zone (and, accordingly, the way it is planted). For the southern regions, where almonds are planted directly into the soil, large-sized varieties are well suited.

    Inhabitants of the northern regions, who grow almonds in tubs, prefer dwarf varieties. It is understandable - growing a three-meter plant in a tub is a dubious pleasure. For container growing, a species such as 9 is a good fit.0019 steppe almond . This is a low shrub with very beautiful flowers, but you should not count on fruits: steppe almonds are poisonous!

    Almonds

    Such varieties of almonds as Foros , Yalta and others are grown in the soil. Most of the varieties are zoned for the appropriate type of climate. So, before choosing one or another variety, based on the size and taste of the fruit, the height and density of the crown, and other important factors, ask how it will live in your latitudes. Even in our relatively warm regions (Simferopol), only specially zoned varieties take root well, the seedlings of which are sold in nurseries.

    You can paint for a long time the indescribable aroma of almond flowers and the pleasant taste of almond nuts, but all this will not give the necessary idea of ​​\u200b\u200bthe true beauty and usefulness of the plant. Many who once inhaled the fabulous spring aroma remember it all their lives. If the climate allows you to plant this wonderful plant - plant without hesitation, you will not regret it.

    planting and care, photo, cultivation, pruning, grafting, types and varieties

    Author: Elena N. https://floristics.info/ru/index.php?option=com_contact&view=contact&id=19Category: Fruit and berry plants reprinted: Last amendments:

    Content

    • Listen to Article
    • Planting and Caring for Almond

    • Autumn planting
    • How to plant in spring
  • Growing almonds in the garden
    • Caring for almonds
    • Watering
    • Fertilizing
    • Pests of almonds and fighting them
    • varieties of almonds
      • varieties for the Moscow Region
    • Properties of almonds - harm and benefit
      • Useful properties
      • Plant
      • Comments
      • Comments
      dulcis) is a small tree or shrub of the Almond subgenus of the Plum genus of the Rosaceae family. The subgenus unites about 40 species of almonds, but ordinary almonds are more often grown in culture. Even though almonds are considered nuts, they are actually stone fruits. The almond tree comes from the Mediterranean and Central Asia - it appeared in these areas long before our era. Today, almonds, in addition to Central Asia and the Mediterranean, grow in California, China, the Western Tien Shan, the Crimea, the Caucasus, in the vineyards of Slovakia, the Czech Republic and South Moravia.

      The almond tree prefers gravelly and rocky slopes with calcium rich soil at an altitude of 800 to 1600 m above sea level, although in Israel it grows much lower. Almonds are located in nature in small groups of 3-4 trees or bushes at a distance of 5 to 7 meters from each other.

      Listen to article

      Planting and caring for almonds

      • Planting: at the beginning of March or the last days of September.
      • Flowering: in March or April, before the leaves appear.
      • Lighting: bright sunlight.
      • Soil: well-drained and breathable chernozems, loams, sandy soils with a high lime content and a pH of 7.7. Groundwater at the site should be deep.
      • Watering: regular: one bucket of water when the soil dries in the near-stem circle to a depth of 1-1.5 cm. Saplings are watered more often than mature trees. In case of difficulties with the delivery of water in a season with a normal amount of precipitation, two plentiful irrigations per season are sufficient: spring and autumn water recharge.
      • Top dressing: at the end of April or at the beginning of May, a solution of 20 g of ammonium nitrate in 10 liters of water is added to the near-stem circle. In autumn, for digging, 1 kg of manure and 20 g of double superphosphate and potassium sulfide are added to the trunk circle.
      • Pruning: in spring, before the start of sap flow, and in autumn, after leaf fall, sanitary pruning is carried out. Formative pruning is done after flowering.
      • Propagation: by budding, shoots, layers, sometimes seeds (stones).
      • Pests: spider mites, almond seed-eaters, plum codling moths, aphids, plum sapwood beetles and leafworms.
      • Diseases: cercosporosis, rust, moniliosis, gray mold (botrytis), scab, clasterosporiasis (perforated spotting).

      Read more about growing almonds below. suffered from drought. The shoots of this branchy plant are of two types: shortened generative and elongated vegetative. Almond leaves are lanceolate, with a pointed tip, petiolate.

      How does an almond blossom? Light pink or white almond flowers up to 2.5 cm in diameter consist of five petals. Almond blossom begins in March or April - before its leaves bloom. The fruit of the almond is a dry, velvety to the touch oval drupe with a leathery green pericarp, which, after drying, is easily separated from a stone 2. 5 to 3.5 cm long, having the same shape as the fruit, but often dotted with grooves.

      Almond begins to bear fruit from the age of four or five, full fruiting occurs in the tenth or twelfth year, and the tree bears fruit for 30 to 50 years. With good care, an almond tree can grow 50 to 80 years in your garden, and some specimens can live up to 130 years.

      The common almond has two varieties - bitter almond grown in nature and sweet almond grown in cultivation. The almond is a plant that requires cross-pollination, and in order for it to begin to bear fruit, at least three more almond pollinating varieties must grow in close proximity to it, the flowering period of which must be the same. In addition to remarkably tasty fruits, the value of almonds is represented by its decorative qualities. Almonds are a wonderful honey plant, exuding a magical aroma during flowering. Since almonds are pollinated mainly by bees, they bear fruit best if there are 3-4 hives on the site or somewhere close to it.

      Almond is a relative of such fruit trees as apple, pear, plum, apricot, cherry plum, peach, chokeberry, mountain ash, wild rose, hawthorn, quince and other representatives of the rose family known in culture. From our article you will learn how almonds grow in the middle lane, how almonds are planted and cared for, what types of almonds exist, what varieties of almonds are more adapted to our climatic conditions, what are the benefits of almonds, and also for whom and what can lie harm almonds.

      Planting almonds

      When to plant

      Almonds can be grown from the seed, and we will tell you about this in the section on plant propagation, but it is best to grow almonds from a one-year-old seedling. Seedlings are planted in the ground in early spring - early March - or in autumn, in the last days of November. Choose a sunny area for almond trees, although they grow well in partial shade, but the seedlings must be protected from drafts and strong winds.

      Almond primer - water and breathable chernozems, sandy or loamy soils with a high lime content - optimal pH 7. 7. Acidic, chloride or saline soils are unsuitable for growing almonds, as well as areas with high standing groundwater.

      • TOP 5 raspberry pests

      Autumn planting

      Almond seedlings planted in autumn take root much better than those planted in spring. Two weeks before planting, pits are dug in the area allotted for almonds with a diameter of 50-70 cm and a depth of up to 60 cm at a distance of 3-4 m from each other in a row and 5.5-6.5 m between rows. A layer of crushed stone or broken brick with sand is laid in each pit for drainage and mixed with fertile soil consisting of sand, humus and leafy soil in a ratio of 1: 2: 3, 5-6 kg of rotted manure and a pound of superphosphate are added. If the soil is acidic, dolomite flour or lime should be added to it in an amount of 200-300 g. Two weeks later, when the soil in the pit settles, you can start planting almonds.

      How to plant almonds? Planting an almond tree is not much different from planting a plum or apricot tree. Dig a support into the center of the pit - a pole of such a height that it rises half a meter above the level of the site. Place a mound of earth in the center of the hole. Dip the roots of the seedling into a clay mash with the density of store-bought sour cream and place the tree on a mound so that the root collar is slightly above the surface level. Fill the hole with fertile soil, compact it and water the tree with 10-15 liters of water. When the water is absorbed, tie the seedling to a support and mulch the near-stem circle with a layer of peat or dry earth 3-5 cm thick so that the mulch does not come into contact with the root neck of the tree.

      How to plant in spring

      If for some reason you had to postpone planting almonds in the spring, you still need to dig holes for them in the fall. Lay a drainage layer of sand and gravel in them, pour a layer of fertile soil mixed with fertilizers and leave the pits until spring. At the beginning of March, before the juice begins to ferment in the trees, almonds are planted in the same order as they are done in autumn.

      Growing almonds in the garden

      Caring for almonds

      Almonds are planted and cared for in accordance with the agricultural practices of the crop. You will have to perform procedures such as watering, loosening and weeding the trunk circle, pruning and feeding the plant, as well as prevention against diseases and pests. And if you do everything right, then you have to harvest a good harvest.

      How to care for almonds? At the end of March, you need to make the first loosening of the trunk circle to a depth of 10-12 cm, and then during the growing season, carry out 3-4 more loosening to a depth of 8-10 cm. Keep the trunk circle clean, remove weeds in a timely manner.

      Harvest the almonds when the outer green shell darkens and begins to easily separate from the kernel. The collected fruits are peeled and laid out in one layer to dry, after which they are stored in cloth bags.

      Irrigation

      Despite the fact that almonds are drought-resistant, they grow and bear fruit better in conditions of timely and sufficient irrigation. Almonds growing in sandy soil need more frequent and abundant watering than those grown in clay and loamy soils. When you find that the soil under the almonds has dried out to a depth of 1-1.5 cm, pour a bucket of water into the near-stem circle. Waterlogging can lead to rotting of the root neck of the plant.

      • Spirea pruning

      Seedlings need more frequent watering than mature trees: maintenance watering should be done once every 10-14 days.

      How to grow almonds without water? If you do not have the opportunity to irrigate almonds during the entire growing season, spend at least autumn and spring watering watering the plant.

      Top dressing

      Almonds in the garden are in need of nitrogen, so in late April or early May, 20 g of ammonium nitrate, diluted in a bucket of water, is added to the near-stem circle of each adult tree. Under the autumn digging of the site, 1 kg of manure, and 20 g of potassium sulfide and double superphosphate are added to the trunk circle of each tree. In the aisles of young plants for the first 5-7 years of life, it is desirable to grow green manure.

      Treatment

      Almond cultivation requires preventive treatments of trees against pests and diseases. In order to destroy pathogens and harmful insects that have overwintered in the soil of the near-trunk circle and cracks in the bark of a tree, in early spring, before the buds open, treat almond trees with a one percent solution of Bordeaux mixture. And at the end of the growing season, after the end of leaf fall, spend the autumn spraying of almonds with Bordeaux liquid or its analogues in order to destroy pests and pathogens that have settled down for the winter.

      Almonds in Siberia

      Despite the fact that almonds do not hibernate without shelter in the middle zone, there are frost-resistant plant species and varieties that are successfully cultivated not only in Vologda and St. Petersburg, but also in the forest-steppe and steppe parts of Siberia . Frost-resistant species include steppe almonds, or low, or Russian, or bean, or almond. This is a shrub up to 1.5 m high with brown or reddish-gray bark, lanceolate, leathery, shiny, serrated along the edges of dark green leaves up to 8 cm long and up to 3 cm wide. undemanding to the composition of the soil and easily propagated.

      There are two garden forms of steppe almond: white-flowered and Gessler - with bright pink flowers. In spring, flowering branches of steppe almonds amaze with their beauty. On the basis of the bean, breeders have bred such highly decorative varieties as Anyuta, Pink Flamingo, Mechta, White Sail, Pink Fog.

      The kernels of the fruits of the steppe almond are edible and tasty. Another advantage of this species is that it quickly recovers even in those cases when it freezes in a harsh snowless winter.

      • Feeding strawberries before flowering - without this element, the harvest will not be rich!

      Almonds in Moscow and Moscow region

      In conditions of Moscow and Moscow region, besides the bean tree, the three-lobed almond grows well, which winters normally without shelter and quickly recovers in case of slight freezing. The most persistent in the conditions of winters near Moscow were the forms of the plant grafted onto the rootstock of the blackthorn. Nevertheless, it is desirable to protect even trees of cold-resistant varieties from frost - to cover their stems with lutrasil. And in order to prevent freezing of the shoots, it is necessary to remove the apical buds at the end of July or the beginning of August - this procedure stimulates the rapid lignification of the shoots, after which the almonds will not be afraid of frost.

      Pruning almonds

      When to prune

      Almonds need shaping and sanitary pruning, while mature trees require a rejuvenating treatment. Sanitary pruning is carried out in early spring, before the start of sap flow, and in the fall, when the almonds enter a dormant period, and formative pruning is done after the flowering of almonds.

      How to cut

      Form the crown of almonds like plum, apricot, peach or nectarine - three tiers of skeletal branches are brought out. Immediately after planting the seedling, it is cut at a height of 120 cm, while the stem near the tree is formed with a height of 50-70 cm.

      Thinning pruning of fruit-bearing trees removes crown thickening and irregularly growing branches. When freezing flower buds, annual shoots are shortened.

      Spring pruning

      After winter, even before bud break, frozen annual growths are shortened in almonds, cut to healthy tissue, broken, diseased or deformed branches and shoots are removed. After the end of flowering proceed to the formative pruning of the tree. On a seedling planted in autumn or spring, there are usually at least three branches located at a distance of 15-20 cm from each other - they are shortened to 15-20 cm, and on the central conductor for the next 2-3 years new tiers of skeletal branches are laid, which should be one from the other at a distance of 20-30 cm.

      Unnecessary shoots for the formation of the crown are pinched several times during the summer, and those that are needed are shortened no later than July, as soon as they reach 50-60 cm in length. In the second and third years of almond growth, unnecessary shoots are cut out, the rest are shortened. Upon completion of the crown formation, the central conductor is cut so that the last skeletal branch of the almond is 55-60 cm lower than the conductor. 3-4 eyes. Annual shoots that do not interfere with the proper development of branches do not need to be cut.

      Pruning in autumn

      In autumn, after leaf fall, sanitary pruning of trees and shrubs is carried out: dry, broken, diseased shoots and branches thickening the crown are cut. If you have to cut or cut down a thick branch, do not forget to treat the cut with garden pitch, and if for some reason you did not have time to cut the almonds before the start of winter, transfer the sanitary pruning to spring.

      Propagation of almonds

      Propagation methods

      Under natural conditions, almonds are propagated by seed, but in cultivation, propagation by budding is preferred, since it takes too much time to grow a tree from a seed. Nevertheless, you should know how you can grow almonds from the stone, if only because in this way you can grow a stock for a varietal cutting. You will need bitter almond seeds to grow rootstocks, but if you can't get them, you can use sweet almond seeds. In addition to these two methods, if your almond grows not as a tree, but as a bush, they resort to propagating the plant by shoots and layering.

      Growing almonds from seeds

      Sow seeds in spring or before winter. If you decide to sow almonds in the spring, you need to stratify the seed material - place them in the vegetable box of the refrigerator for 3-4 months. Almond seeds are sown in furrows 8-10 cm deep at a distance of 10 cm from each other, keeping a distance of 45-60 cm between the furrows. The seeds will germinate next year, in April, and you will need to water them, weed and loosen the plot. In July, when the seedlings reach a height of 50-60 cm, the side branches on the trunks below 10-12 cm from the surface level should be cut with pruners into a ring. During these periods, the thickness of the seedling stem in the region of the root collar approaches 1 cm, which means that the tree can already be used as a stock, but first it must be transplanted to a permanent place and allowed to take root.

      Grafting of almonds

      Almonds are also propagated by budding. As a stock, not only almond seedlings are used, but also plums, cherry plums and blackthorns. It is better to carry out the procedure in the midst of sap flow - in mid-April or at the end of August, in the cool time of the day - at 16 o'clock in the afternoon or early in the morning. Two days before the procedure, the stock is watered abundantly so that during budding the bark is well separated from the wood. For the scion, developed straight shoots with formed vegetative buds are chosen. So that the scion does not lose moisture, all leaves are removed from it, leaving only petioles no more than 1 cm long.

      The bole at the grafting site is wiped from dust, then a T-shaped incision is made in the region of the root neck with a sharp knife and the bark is carefully folded back at the point of convergence of perpendicular lines. From the scion, a shield with a kidney is cut so long that it fits into the incision on the rootstock. When you cut the shield, grab a thin layer of wood besides the bark with a budding knife and, trying not to touch it with your hands, insert the shield into the T-shaped incision on the rootstock, firmly press the bark against it and fix the grafting site by wrapping it with plaster or tape, but so as not to close the kidney itself with them.

      If after 2-3 weeks the rest of the petiole falls off, and the eye is green, then the budding was successful and the patch can be loosened. If you carried out budding at the end of summer, then the fixing bandage should not be removed until next spring, and it is better to spud the root collar with the graft with earth. In the spring, when you make sure that the bud has taken root, free the root neck from the ground, and the grafting site from the plaster or tape, then cut the stock just above the grafting site, and if it is windy in your spring, then the cut should be made 10-12 cm above the grafted kidneys. When shoots begin to appear from dormant buds below the budding site, they should be removed immediately, not allowing them to become woody.

      Propagation by shoots and cuttings

      Almonds growing in a bush after pruning, as a rule, form a shoot. In the second year, when the roots of the shoots become strong, the offspring are dug up and transplanted to a permanent place.

      If you decide to try propagating by cuttings, choose flexible shoots for this, lay them on the ground, fix them in several places with wire pins and cover with a layer of earth about 20 cm thick. loosen the soil around it and remove weeds. After about a year or a little more, when a strong root system has formed at the layer, it is separated from the mother plant, dug out and planted.

      Diseases of almonds and their treatment

      Diseases of almonds affect the plant in cases where the agrotechnics of the crop is disturbed or it is weakened by improper or untimely care. Most often, almonds suffer from scab, cercosporosis, rust, moniliosis, gray rot and clasterosporia.

      Cercosporosis - This fungal disease most often affects the leaves of almonds, but if the disease progresses, the petioles and shoots of the plant may also be affected. The first signs of the disease can be detected in June - rounded red-brown spots with a diameter of 2 to 4 mm appear on the leaves, and in conditions of high humidity a grayish coating forms on them. Over time, in the center of the spots, the leaf tissue dries up and falls out, the plant has to grow new leaves, which takes a lot of effort, and this negatively affects the development of the fruit. As a fight against the disease, as soon as its first symptoms are detected, almonds are treated with fungicides.

      Scab - this disease affects not only leaves, but also flowers and shoots of almonds. As preventive measures against scab, one can consider the cultivation of disease-resistant plant varieties, digging the site after leaf fall, preventive spring and autumn treatments of almonds with Bordeaux liquid, timely pruning and burning of diseased shoots and branches. They cope well with scab, as well as with other fungal diseases, drugs from the category of fungicides.

      Rust - this disease appears as small red spots on the upper side of the leaf blade, and brownish pads form on the underside of the leaves. The spots grow, merge, from which the leaves dry and fall prematurely. As a rust control, the treatment of almonds with an aqueous colloidal suspension of sulfur is used. As a preventive measure, it is necessary to remove plant debris from the site in the fall and dig up the soil.

      Moniliosis - the causative agent of this disease penetrates through the pistil of the flower and affects young shoots, leaves and flowers of almonds. You can get rid of moniliosis by timely treatment of almonds with fungicides - for example, Horus.

      Clusterosporium, or perforated spot, affects all stone fruits. The almond is no exception. Warm rainy weather contributes to the emergence and rapid development of the disease. The disease affects leaves, flowers, shoots and fruits, however, typical signs of clasterosporiasis appear primarily on almond leaves - small spots of red-brown, raspberry or red-violet hue. They gradually increase in size, merge, and the tissue in their center dies, brightens and falls out. A distinctive feature of the disease is a pronounced dark border around the spots, which makes it possible not to confuse clasterosporiosis with other diseases. With a strong defeat, gum begins to flow from the bark of damaged shoots.

      To combat the disease, almonds are treated with Horus, Kuproksat, Skor, Topaz or Vectra, spraying the plant the first time at the beginning of flowering, the second time after flowering, then two weeks after the second treatment.

      Gray rot, or botrytis, is manifested by the formation of brown, rapidly increasing in size spots on leaves and shoots. In conditions of high humidity, the plant is covered with a gray fluffy coating, consisting of spores of the fungus. This plaque is carried by the wind, and neighboring plants become infected with gray rot. To combat this fungal disease, fungicides such as Topaz, Champion, Kuproksat, Oksikhom are used.

      To avoid gray rot infestation, try not to plant too densely and avoid putting fertilizers with a high nitrogen concentration on the leaves. When symptoms of the disease appear, it is necessary to cut out the affected areas, and then treat the almonds with one of these drugs. You can use the coating of the affected areas by diluting 30-40 g of Rovral fungicide and 300-400 g of CMC glue in a bucket of water.

      Pests and control of almonds

      Of the insect pests, almonds are most affected by spider mites, almond seed-eaters, aphids and leafworms.

      Almond seed beetle spends the winter in damaged almonds, which is why it is important to remove plant residues from the tree and from the trunk circle in autumn. Carrying out preventive work (spring and autumn spraying of trees with 1% Bordeaux liquid) can also reduce the risk of damage to almond nuts by the seed beetle. For guaranteed plant protection, carry out another treatment of almonds immediately after flowering.

      Leaf roller, or rather, its caterpillar, feeds on leaves, while folding them. As a preventive measure, it is necessary to cut and destroy the masonry of leaf-rolling butterflies and leaves rolled up by caterpillars, and in early spring, when the temperature in the garden rises above 4 ºC, treat the trees with Bordeaux liquid or Prophylactin, dissolving half a liter of the drug in 10 liters of water. If the caterpillars have bred, you will have to resort to treating almonds with insecticides such as Actellik, Calypso, Fufanon, Ditox, Tagore, Zolon and other similar preparations.

      Aphid is a ubiquitous and very dangerous pest that feeds on the cell sap of leaves and young shoots of almonds and carries incurable viral diseases. The fight against it must be merciless, especially since it can give nine generations in one season. As a preventive measure, you can plant umbrella plants near almonds - dill, fennel - which will attract hoverfly aphid eaters to your garden. It is better to destroy aphids with folk remedies - an infusion of wormwood, tansy, tobacco dust, hot pepper, garlic, onion, dandelions, tomato and potato tops. To defeat the pest, 3-4 treatments are required. Of the insecticides, Biotlin and Antitlin do well with aphids.

      Spider mite colonizes almonds during drought. It multiplies rapidly, its population lives in the thinnest web woven by ticks. This pest feeds, like aphids, on the cell sap of leaves and young shoots. As a result of the activity of spider mites, the plant weakens, and any diseases can affect it, including those carried by spider mites. It is useless to use insecticides against ticks, since they are arachnids, so the fight should be carried out with acaricides (Apollo, Omite, Flumite) or insectoacaricides (Agravertin, Akarin, Kleschevit, Fitoverm).

      Varieties of almonds

      Sweet varieties of common almonds are divided into hard-shelled, from which the shell is removed with tongs, and soft-shelled, from which the skin is removed by hand. We offer you several well-established varieties, among which you can choose almonds for your garden:

      • Anniversary - a late flowering drought-resistant variety with a medium-thick shell and a dense, sweet, dry kernel;
      • Ayudagsky is a late-ripening, early-growing productive variety that begins fruiting in the third or fourth year after planting. The variety is soft-shelled, the core is flat-oval, dense and sweet, light brown in color;
      • Sevastopolsky - heat-resistant and drought-resistant late-ripening variety of very high productivity with soft shells and dense, sweet white kernels;
      • Mangup - drought-resistant late-ripening variety, rarely damaged by pests and diseases, with soft shells and hard, dense, sweet oily kernels;
      • Fragrant - late flowering variety with a hard shell and fragrant, dense and oily kernels of excellent taste;
      • Dessert is a frost-resistant, self-fertile variety with a rough, soft shell and oval sweet kernels with a buttery taste. Primorsky and Spicy varieties are suitable as pollinators;
      • Primorskiy is a productive, self-fertile variety with a fan-shaped crown, with a stable dormant period, with elongated oily fruits. Dessertny and Alenik varieties are suitable as pollinators.

      In addition to those described, varieties Yalta, Nikitsky 62, Paper-shell, Rims, Nikitsky late-flowering, Nessebar, Dabkov, as well as Californian varieties Nonparel, Neck plus ultra, Carmel, Padre, Mission, Monterey and Sonora are in demand in the culture.

      Varieties for the Moscow region

      As we have already mentioned, it is problematic to grow any of the common almond varieties in the conditions of the Moscow region - cold winters are to blame, after which the plant may not recover. Therefore, it is better to grow steppe almonds, or the so-called beaver, in the Moscow region, the decorative effect of which is beyond praise, and the nuts are almost as good as the fruits of sweet almonds in taste.

      Properties of almonds - harm and benefits

      Useful properties

      Why are almonds useful? Almond kernels contain up to 67% fatty oil. Almonds are one of the world's best plant sources of protein, containing up to 30% of the same amount of protein as lean meats, and are high quality, almost completely absorbable protein. In addition, almonds contain calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese, sugars, enzymes, a powerful antioxidant vitamin E and B vitamins. , increases the production of sperm in men. It is recommended for patients with asthma and pleurisy, it is indicated for ulcers and abrasions in the intestines and bladder. Italian scientists have experimentally proven that regular consumption of almonds increases the body's resistance to viral infections.

      The peel of almond kernels contains ten times more antioxidants than the kernels themselves. And, by the way, it is used for tinting wines and making brandy.

      In folk medicine, almonds with sugar are used to treat anemia, anemia, insomnia and cough. Almond kernels have analgesic, anticonvulsant, enveloping and softening effects.

      Despite their calorie content, almonds, when used correctly, contribute to weight loss, since part of the fatty acids contained in it are excreted from the body without having time to assimilate. If you eat no more than 30 g of raw (not fried or salted) nuts per day, this will help you reduce lipids, normalize cholesterol levels and lose weight.

      Almond oil is a valuable product. It is used for inflammation of the lungs, asthma, otitis, stomatitis, heart and kidney diseases. It has a beneficial effect on the skin, eliminating irritation, moisturizing it and giving it elasticity. Almond oil is one of the best remedies for strengthening hair, stimulating its growth and giving it shine and elasticity. It is quickly absorbed and activates the process of regeneration of body cells, so it is used as the basis for various ointments and creams.

      Contraindications

      For some people, almonds can be a strong allergen. Patients suffering from obesity should limit the use of almonds due to their high calorie content.

      Unripe kernels can be dangerous because the cyanide they contain causes poisoning. Spoiled or expired kernels should be treated with caution - they can be poisonous.


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