Almond trees are deciduous trees belonging to the same genus as cherry, plum, apricot, peach and nectarine. The cultivation of sweet Almond trees began around 4000 years BC. These trees originated as wild almonds in the deserts and low mountain forests of the Central and South west Asia, particularly in the areas from Northern Syria and Turkey to Iran and Iraq. Commercial cultivation of Almonds as a nut crop began thousands of years later in mid 1800. Later in between the years 1965 and 1985, almond yield grew many times in nut suppliers such as Australia, United States, Spain, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Turkey and Portugal. Promotion of various health benefits associated with Almonds has led to increased attraction for its production. Today United States is amongst the biggest Almond nut suppliers in the world.
Trees of Almond nut
Nut suppliers cultivate two types of almonds, Sweet almonds and Bitter almonds. Sweet almonds are cultivated for the edible nuts, whereas Bitter almonds are cultivated for the oil of bitter almonds. These deciduous trees of almonds have strong branches and the trees of sweet almonds can bear hard or soft shelled varieties of almonds. The trees rarely grow above five meters, however in favorable conditions they can grow several meters taller.
Flowers and Fruits of Almond nuts
Almonds flowers are pollinated by bees and other insects. Because Almonds belong to the Rosaceae family, they have rose like flowers with five white petals that are pinkish at the base. During the growing season they have a leafy canopy with narrow leaves. The leaves have glossy upper surface with slight indentations on the margin.
During late winters and early spring the flowers buds and leaf shoots emerge. After fertilization the ovary located at the base of flower, starts expanding to form a fruit. The hull of this fruit is soft green in color and has a velvety appearance.
As the fruits mature, the seeds, shell and tissues of hull also start to differentiate. On achieving full maturity the hull splits and fruits fall on ground which can then be sold by almond nut suppliers.
Soil requirements for growing Almonds
As almond nut suppliers we should understand the perfect soil requirements for cultivating Almond nuts and implications of using the incorrect one. One should always analyze the soil before planting almonds. Well drained sandy loams are best suited for cultivating almond trees. Deep ripping is advised if the soil has a hard layer under the top layer. In areas with very sandy soils large amounts of organic matter and regular mowing is required. pH value around 7 is most preferred for good cultivation of almond nuts. Almonds are also sensitive to saline conditions, therefore proper precautions should be taken in areas with more saline soil or irrigation water.
Climatic conditions for growing Almond nuts
Winter: For better flowering and growth during spring time Almond trees require a period of winter chilling. Commercial almond nuts require a chilling below 10 degree Celsius for around 300 to 500 hours. This duration can vary depending on the variety of almond.
Frost: Frost during flowering and early fruit development in late winter and early spring season is very bad for almond crops. Mature almond flowers are more sensitive to frost. Therefore don’t plant almonds in areas prone to air drainage or frost during late winter and early spring.
Humidity: Dry growing season is best suited for Almond nut cultivation. One of the main reasons for this is because almond trees are prone to diseases during humidity. Especially for commercial almond production, low humidity and dry weather from spring to autumn is the highly recommended. Dry sunny weather also enhances bee activity and fruit set.
Water Requirements: Almond nuts require heavy amounts of water irrigation of around 14 Ml ha-1 per annum.
Shelter: Almond nuts require shelter from strong winds especially before planting young trees as they are more susceptible to damage.