How much water does it take to grow an almond tree


How much water does it really take to grow almonds? - PAESTA Podcast Series: Episode 43

Submitted by Laura Guertin on Sun, 08/06/2017 - 9:27pm

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Hello, on today’s episode of the PAESTA Podcast Series, we’ll be talking about whether almonds really take too much water to be worth growing, especially during a water shortage. This is a common misconception that we hopefully can clear up. The almond industry brings in an astounding 11 billion dollars annually since the popularity of almonds has gone up over the past couple years because of  almonds’  many health benefits. California supplies about 80% of the United States almonds, and dedicates 10%, or 80 million gallons, of its state’s water to grow the nut. To grow one almond  requires 1.1 gallons of water, and to grow a pound takes 1,900 gal/ lb[1]. The crazy thing about that is that walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, and cashews all use roughly the same amount of water to grow as well, but it is the almond which is in such high demand at this time. Currently, California is in the midst of a 5 year drought that has everyone looking at the nut industry to blame. Because people are buying more almonds and nuts in general, farmers are shifting towards growing more of them, which can lead to pointing the blame at them for the water crisis in California. And because of the drought, the price per pound of almonds has gone way up to $6 a pound, as opposed to $2 a pound back in 2010 [2]. This gives farmers even more incentive to grow them, even with the water crisis going on.

Recently, a group of farmers were invited to talk on NPR about California’s drought and they had an interesting take on the situation. One farmer said that almonds really aren't any more thirsty than any of his other crops and shook his head when hearing that one almonds takes a gallon to produce. This same farmer then goes on to say that they've reduced the amount of water almonds require by 33% [3]. Another farmer then adds that almond trees require 10% of California's water supply and thinks that it “is a lot to devote to just one crop” but that they are working on reducing that number.

The LA Times wrote an article about growing almonds and they also had a different take on them by saying  it isn’t as big of a problem as people are making it out to be. It states that although almonds trees use a lot of water to grow, these trees can be ground up and used as biomass fuel for cogeneration plants, essentially helping make electricity. It also says that almond farmers are working to reduce the amount of water that each plant consumes with techniques like drip irrigation. Farmers in this article also defend the almond by saying, “People need to understand that everything you eat takes water”. This same farmer goes on to say that "Now, we're feeling like a scapegoat for over 30 years of water mismanagement in this state” because of how much criticism her farm and other almond farmers are taking. This article concludes with a great point that “ the water it takes to grow any vegetable, fruit or nut is a mere fraction of what is required to raise animal protein” and goes on to say “It takes more than 106 gallons of water, experts say, to produce one ounce of beef”, so just imagine how much water a whole herd of cattle would use![4]

So to answer the question, “How much water does it really take to grow almonds?,” I can conclude that the answer is widely debated between farmers and the media. On one hand, farmers believe that they don't use substantially the amount of water that the media thinks they do. Farmers all over agree that although almonds use a more than an average amount of water, they want the public to remember that all crops use water to grow. They also completely disagree that one almond takes 1.1 gallons of water to grow and are appalled to think people would believe that. On the other hand, there are countless articles that stand behind the findings of almonds and other nuts using too much water. If I had to chose who to believe, I would stick with the farmers since they are dealing with the almonds first hand, and not the media, who may have never stepped foot on an almond farm or any farm for that matter. Thank you for joining me on today’s episode of the PAESTA Podcast Series.

 

(This audio file was recorded by Sam Kogon, undergraduate student, Penn State Brandywine, on November 10, 2016. References available in the attached transcript.)

 

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Dispelling Common Misconceptions About Almonds' Water Use

California is no stranger to drought. The entire history of agriculture in California can be told through cycles of extreme dry and extreme wet - there really is no such thing as “normal”. That being said, its propensity to experience extreme climatic conditions hasn’t stopped it from becoming the leading powerhouse of agriculture among all US states, especially when it comes to certain crops. Almonds are a great example - California is the only state where Almonds are grown commercially as its climate is uniquely suited for them, and yet the US accounts for 80% of global almond harvests.

Given the disruption droughts have caused for the state’s agriculture industry, as well as the prolonged nature of the last major statewide drought from 2011-2015, California’s almonds have attracted attention due to their demand for water. In reality, though, almonds’ water requirements actually compare favorably to alfalfa, many field crops, and rice, and require substantially less water than most livestock products. Thus, while media buzz might suggest that growing almonds in California is not a sustainable choice, it’s important to examine the full story.

We recognize that there are significant concerns in regards to water supply risk in California, and that is exactly why we take water risk so seriously. Sustainable water usage is central to our due diligence and underwriting processes, and a core component of how we select our properties. Our almond offerings are no exception.

As a result, we thought it would be beneficial to dive into some of the recent headlines surrounding almonds, and to address some of the common misconceptions of this crop and their associated water usage.

For many reasons, almonds are actually a very sensible fit for California farmers, and positioned to continue producing well even during a drought. In fact, with new technical advances in irrigation that have made almonds more water-efficient, they use much less water per kilo-Calorie of food than many other agricultural products.

Let’s dive into it.

Misconception 1: “It takes 1.1 gallons of water just to grow one single almond.”

This fact was one of the major headliners about almonds during California’s last drought. Much of the data behind this statistic was based on global estimates of water use for almonds, rather than specific to almond farming in California.

An updated analysis of almonds’ “water footprint” in California found that California’s average was actually about 30% less total water demand than the global averages that were widely reported during the last drought. Conducted in 2018, this analysis also highlighted that implementation of water-saving measures such as micro-drip irrigation technology by almond growers was well above the average rate for all of California’s farms. This has already led to an average of 33% water savings per acre over the last 20 years and will continue to improve as the technology evolves.

In the backdrop of Almonds’ improving water efficiency, California’s overall water allocation to agriculture has been decreasing for the last several decades, while gross farm production value has been rising. From 1980-2015, agriculture’s share of overall freshwater use statewide decreased by 14%, while the total combined value of all harvests jumped 38%. These trends will likely continue across all commodities but especially in Almonds - in fact, the Almond Board of California has made a direct pledge to make the crop another 20% more water-efficient by 2025.

What’s more, farmers themselves have disputed the way that this statistic was reported during the last drought on the grounds that it simply doesn’t tell the whole story. For starters, it ignores the fact that the almond itself represents one small component of the tree itself - much of the water used in the growth of the crop is consumed by the growing, leafing, blooming, fruiting tree. The “1.1 gallons per nut” statistic doesn’t express water use in proportion with the water demands of the whole plant, and therefore doesn’t account for the value provided by two key by-products of almond harvesting. Besides the kernels, which we eat, the hulls of the almond fruit are used for livestock feed and even for alternative energy, while the shells are often repurposed for secondary farming uses such as livestock bedding.

Misconception 2: “Almonds use more water than any other agricultural product.”

This claim was born out of the widespread reporting on almonds’ water demand from the last drought. When this statement was made, almonds actually made up approximately 13 percent of California's total irrigated farmland and used less than nine percent of the state's agricultural (not total) water.

When measuring water requirements in gallons-per-pound-harvested, almonds use a comparable amount of water to most other tree nuts as well as to some fruit crops and specialty products. For example, it takes about the same amount of water to produce one pound of almonds as it does one pound of walnuts, cashews, or olive oil. Beef, as an example, takes more than double the amount of water than almonds to produce one pound of beef versus one pound of almonds.

Still, making these comparisons purely in terms of the volume produced of each product misses the nuance of those products’ nutritional value. Global almond demand has experienced rapid acceleration over the last couple of decades, driven largely by their popularity in snack foods as well as their usefulness in a wide range of processed forms, such as almond milk, almond butter and even as an ingredient in meat substitutes. Almonds are particularly useful for these kinds of products because of their energy density and high protein and fat content, among other characteristics.

If you break down water use by the nutritional content of each agricultural commodity, almonds actually look like a much more favorable choice even in the context of a drought. For example, in terms of gallons per kilocalorie, rather than gallons per pound, almonds actually outperform sheep & goat meat and are roughly consistent with poultry products, while significantly outperforming beef. In terms of water used per gram of fat or protein, almonds even compare favorably with some legumes, root crops, and some cereal grains like rice.

Lastly, almonds water use looks even more justified when compared with other crops in terms of the “economic productivity of water” in their cultivation. This measure amounts to the total value of the crop harvested per acre-foot of water applied to the field over the course of the growing season. California’s almonds and other tree nuts are so profitable that they have been estimated to generate about three times as much value per unit of water used as rice, and nearly ten times that of corn.

Misconception 3: “Almonds aren’t a natural fit for California’s dry climate.”

California’s last major drought from 2011-2015, as well as the recent news that the state has re-entered drought conditions just this year, have led many people to label almonds as an improper fit for the region.

However, almonds as well as many tree and vine crops are actually predisposed to perform well  specifically in “Mediterranean” climates such as that of California. Fairly scarce around the world, this climate type can generally only be found along western coasts of continents between 30-40 degrees latitude in the northern and southern hemisphere. Best described by long, hot, dry summers and wet winters in which the air temperature gets cooler but doesn’t go dramatically below freezing, there are five major regions in the world that combine these characteristics: The Mediterranean basin, Chile, southwest Australia, South Africa, and California.

Crucially, these are exactly the conditions that almond trees need in order to go through their annual cycles of dormancy, leaf-out and budding, each of which are crucial for proper fruit-set and ultimately for economically productive yields. Among all of the major “Mediterranean Climate” regions, California has the most robust infrastructure and water resources to deal with exacerbated droughts.

California’s droughts will, obviously, continue to strain almond production just as they will any form of agriculture, but that doesn’t mean that almonds themselves are an underlying reason for the severity of droughts California is experiencing. A multitude of scientific publications have linked the elevated severity of droughts in California over the last couple of decades to climate change, which will force agriculture of all forms to adapt - whether that’s tree nuts, beef cattle, or row crops. Cycles between hot and dry versus wet and cool periods have always defined California’s climate, and the challenge for all water users in the state is in how to adapt to those cycles intensifying, rather than simply forcing farmers to choose which crops to eliminate.

Misconception 4: “If I invest in farmland planted in almonds, I will inevitably suffer a huge loss during a drought.

Though a drought certainly places any crop, as well as the farm’s income, under additional stress, it isn’t a foregone conclusion that the drought will mean the ruin of the farm. There are several ways that a farm can be favorably positioned to navigate a period of drought successfully, as well as a few important levers that the farmer can pull during a drought to ensure the health of the crop.

In the San Joaquin Valley, the farms that can weather a drought most easily tend to be those with access to multiple water sources, and especially those that have access to both surface water and groundwater. Most of the aquifers in this part of the state are critically over-drafted and typically have a lower surface water reliability due to environmental hurdles moving water through the Delta. Having redundancy in water supply means that in the event that surface water access is reduced, growers can still irrigate with groundwater.

In the Sacramento Valley, Oregon, and Washington, a single source of water is often more than adequate to ensure water security. 75% of the precipitation in California falls north of Sacramento which provides substantial recharge for this region’s aquifers. While there are no critically overdrafted aquifers north of Sacramento, sustainable groundwater pumping is a central focus of California. In 2015, California enacted the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), which mandates all basins to be sustainably managed by 2040. It gives local agencies authority to develop sustainability plans with sustainability being defined as the mitigation or avoidance of six undesirable impacts. Ensuring that irrigation strategies employed on each property avoid the unreasonable deterioration or adverse impact on those six sustainability indicators is a key consideration of FarmTogether’s approach to screening properties that we are considering making available for investment.

Meanwhile, installing micro-drip irrigation infrastructure on the farm and implementing a variety of other irrigation best practices can make an almond orchard dramatically more water-efficient. Tracking the moisture levels at different soil depths throughout a growing season, as well as the stages of maturation of the crop itself, and adjusting irrigations to optimally deliver the right amount of water to the crop at the right time can both provide huge savings.

Additionally, being conscientious with equipment maintenance and capturing runoff water during spring rain events will both reward farmers during times of drought. Good equipment and irrigation line maintenance can ensure that irrigation water is delivered evenly over an entire field, avoiding losses in places where hoses may be in disrepair. Furthermore, spring rain events, although less frequent during a drought, will often have precipitation rates that exceed the rate of infiltration of water into the soil, Using cover crops and soil amendments to improve aggregation and slow the rate of runoff from the farm can both be attractive options for farmers.

Almonds remain an attractive farmland investment, and deserve a place in California’s future

Rather than being a poor fit because of their water requirements, almonds are actually uniquely well suited to California’s climate. Most of California’s almond farmers are already employing best practices for irrigation, and given the strength of the state’s agriculture industry, they have a wealth of resources at their disposal to continue improving. Though droughts are common, they actually reinforce the incentives for almond farmers to be good even better stewards of their water resources, as well as make the case for almond production instead of other crops: Almonds’ economic value per unit of water used is substantially higher than that of alfalfa, field crops, irrigated pasture and rice.  It’s no surprise, therefore, that acreage planted in almonds effectively doubled between 2005 and 2015 despite the historic drought in the latter 5 of those 10 years. The popularity of almonds is driven both by accelerating global demand as well as by a pronounced shift among farmers toward higher-value crops.

If located favorably and managed properly, an almond farm is a great option for any new farmland investor even during times of drought. At FarmTogether, we pride ourselves on an approach that rigorously emphasizes good water stewardship and management, and have built our pipeline for sourcing new opportunities specifically around searching for characteristics that set a farm up for financial success through even the most adverse conditions. Our latest offering, Antelope Almond Orchard in Tehama County, CA is emblematic of these characteristics and is an exciting opportunity for anyone looking to diversify their portfolio with farmland.

Our mission is to bring creative and transformative capital to farming while opening up a vital asset class to all investors. By driving abundant and creative capital to farmers, we’re giving investors the opportunity to drive agriculture toward sustainability on a massive scale.

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Interested in investing in our current Antelope Almond Orchard offering? Check it out here. Or, learn more by visiting our FAQ.


Disclaimer: FarmTogether is not a registered broker-dealer, investment adviser or investment manager. FarmTogether does not provide tax, legal or investment advice. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. You should consult your own tax, legal and investment advisors before engaging in any transaction.

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

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

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  • Listen to Article
  • Landing and Care for Almond
  • Botanical Botanical Lesson Planting Lesson
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    Plant almond (Prunus dulcis) is a small tree or shrub of the subgenus Almond of the genus Plum 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.

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    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 in the trunk circle dries 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 tree trunk. 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 rot (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 do almonds bloom? 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 four to five years, full fruiting occurs in the tenth or twelfth year, and the tree bears fruit from 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 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.

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

    • Muraya at home: growing from seeds

    Fall 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.

    Watering

    Despite the fact that almonds are drought-resistant, they grow and bear fruit better under 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.

    • Planting a pomegranate in open ground - what is the difference from the subsidence of other fruit trees?

    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

    The cultivation of almonds 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.

    • Aronia chokeberry: growing in the garden, varieties

    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 of almonds are shortened, cutting them down 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 formation of the crown, 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, reproduction 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 selected. 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 propagation by layering, 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.

    Clusterosporiasis, 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 concentration of nitrogen 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

    Among 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 debris 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:

    • Jubilee - a late flowering drought-resistant variety with a medium-thick shell and a dense, sweet, dry core;
    • 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 hard shells 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;
    • Primorsky 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 their cyanide content causes poisoning. Spoiled or expired kernels should be treated with caution - they can be poisonous. Do not give almonds to young children because the nut kernel can be inhaled.

    Literature

    1. Read related topics on Wikipedia
    2. Peculiarities and other plants of the Rosaceae family
    3. List of all species on The Plant List
    4. More information on World Flora Online


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    How to grow almonds from the stone at home

    Thanks to breeders and geneticists, we can grow the most exotic plants in the middle latitudes. Here, global warming is also trying with might and main, so now even almonds can be grown in your garden in the middle lane. But first, let's try to grow an almond tree from a seed at home.

    Almond orchard in Germany

    Which almonds can be sprouted?

    Shelled raw almonds germinate well if the raw material is more or less fresh. There is no need to search for a whole nut with a shell, you can get almond sprouts from a loose or bagged raw nut.

    This is how freshly picked stone fruits of almonds look like

    If you have freshly picked nuts and want to start sprouting as soon as possible, reproduce the “winter” for the nuts in the refrigerator for at least 1.5 months (i.e. stratify).

    Does variety matter?

    For the subsequent relocation of the sprout to the garden, it is worth looking for special breeding varieties for our latitudes (I'm talking about my own, central Ukraine), with high winter hardiness and late flowering.

    Popular Italian, Greek, Central Asian almond trees bloom already at the end of February, which is detrimental to the ovaries during late spring frosts.

    Good options: Leninabad, Dessert, Nikitsky 62 (self-pollinated) and 2240, Coastal, Milas, Bosporus, Alexander. These varieties bloom later, mature faster and produce a good harvest. Not all self-pollinating, so it is worth growing at least two trees for pollination.

    It is important not to make a mistake with the variety, as there are decorative flowering almond trees that do not produce fruit, and bitter varieties that are not suitable for food.

    By the way, almond trees are in full bloom and give a sweet harvest in Germany and Denmark. I recognized the variety: self-pollinated Dürkheimer Krachmandel (Prunus amygdalus) , withstands frosts below 20. Cultivation experience is described in the Florapassions.com blog.

    Several more northern varieties have been bred in Germany: Palatina, Grose Prinzessmandel, Ferragnes.

    Will cuttings from an almond tree take root?

    Unfortunately, the almond tree sprig does not sprout. But the stalk is well grafted to plums, peaches and apricots - trees related to it. Almond, in fact, is not a nut, it is a stone fruit, the pulp of which is not edible for us.

    Almond sprouting process

    1. Place some of the strongest and healthiest looking almonds in a large bowl of water at room temperature. After 12 hours, rinse gently and change the water. The nuts should be puffy by now. Leave the seeds for another 8-10 hours in the water.
    2. If you have in-shell almonds, after the first soaking step, it is advisable to prick the shell from the sharp end, but do not remove it.
    3. Growing nuts should hatch after 24 hours. At this stage, the seeds are ready for planting.

    Planting and caring for almonds in a pot at home

    A large pot is not needed at first. But as it grows, the tree will need a container up to 75 liters - approximately in such containers almond trees grow and bear fruit in shopping centers and greenhouses around the world.

    Start with a small pot and potting soil. Not all seeds that have hatched will sprout, so play it safe and prepare a few pots of nuts. There is experience with almond germination using stratification, but you need to be prepared for mold, which affects chilled pots much more often. Recommendations to stratify almonds are common, but not a strict rule.

    In the video below, Deepak Bandari, an Indian, captured the entire process of growing almonds from the pit, right down to the tree. I highly recommend watching (the video is accompanied by easy-to-read subtitles).

    If you decide to start with stratification: keep the pot on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks, watch out for mold.

    A good result is the traditional germination of heat-loving almonds on a sunny windowsill, the soil should be moderately moistened and covered with an impromptu greenhouse (a plastic bottle is an option). Place the nut up to a depth of 3 cm with the sharp end up and additionally moisten the soil with a spray bottle.

    On a warm, sunny windowsill, the first shoots will appear no earlier than in 5-6 weeks, so do not be upset in advance, be patient.

    It is very common for mold to form on the surface of the soil during the early growing seasons. This is not a reason to get rid of the pot, just remove the top layer of the affected soil and add fresh.

    As soon as the seedling appears, it will begin to rapidly stretch. The basic rule of care at first is a sunny warm place and avoiding the accumulation of moisture at the roots. Watering should be plentiful, but standing water should not be allowed in the pan.

    Transplanting and placement of the grown plant

    The soil for the almond tree should be loose and nutritious. If you are planning to transplant the tree into the garden, it makes sense to use garden soil for a temporary container.

    Heavy, acidic clay soils with poor aeration are not suitable for almonds. Good: light sandy and rocky soils. Sand and organic fertilizers can be added to clay soil. Good drainage is very important for plant health.

    Place the container with the tree in the brightest place in the room. In a large volume of soil, the plant tolerates irregular watering well. There are recommendations for abundant watering once a week, until the water exits through the drainage holes. The earth should dry out a few centimeters before the next watering.

    Wintering

    Almond tree falls asleep in autumn. If the tub with the plant is on the street, then when the temperature drops to 7-8 degrees, it should be brought into the room. Watering should be reduced to moisten the upper layers of the soil, light irrigation and moistening of the trunk is possible. The first careful watering can begin in early February.

    When will the crop appear?

    At least 4 years will pass before the first nuts from the moment of planting. In order for flowering to bear fruit, either a couple of plants or special self-pollinating varieties are needed.


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