Guide to Growing Almond Trees
PlantNet's Guide to Fruit Trees
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Almond trees are a fantastic addition to backyards, and they thrive in the hot, dry climate that inhabits a large part of Australia. With attractive thin green leaves and bold white or pink flower displays followed by one of Australia’s most popular nuts, what’s not to like about almond trees? PlantNet® brings to you the Dwarf Self Pollinating Almond, a space saving almond on a genuinely dwarfing rootstock that gives many home gardeners the rare chance to own an almond tree, no matter the size of the yard.
To help you make the most out of your almond tree, we’ve compiled 5 important steps in this short article so that you can make the most out of your new almond tree.
5 Minute Read
Where to plant your almond tree
Plant your almond tree in full sun in light, free draining soil or potting mix. Almonds can flower early (late winter, early spring) so should be in a protected area where late frosts won’t damage flowers. The perfect climate for almonds is a warm dry area with mild wet winters (although they are hardy to negative overnight temperatures), dry springs, and hot dry summers.
Areas that don’t have this kind of climate should look for spots in their backyard that might mimic this or consider planting in a pot to allow for seasonal movement.
Follow the complete planting and potting instructions on our Ultimate Guide to Growing Fruit Trees.
How to fertilise an almond tree
Feed almonds similarly to peaches and nectarines. A balanced fertiliser will work well in most soils. Organic fertilisers can be used but at a much higher rate than inorganic fertilisers. The main fertilising period for almond trees in autumn and spring.
To give you a general guide, PlantNet® has created a great guide for fertilising deciduous fruit trees in pots from trial work completed by PlantNet® over a 3 year period. Please note that these recommendations are specific to apples, pears, and peaches but will apply to almond trees also.
Watering and pruning almond trees
Almond trees do not tolerate overwatering and will drown if waterlogged. In fact, they will survive with very little watering in the ground. However, this won’t facilitate a good crop of almonds.
Largely ignore the tree in winter, only watering if there is no rain for several weeks when the top 5cms of soil is dry. In spring, increase watering frequency to once or twice a week. In summer, water every three days or so. This is, of course, depending on the soil being free draining. In heavier soils where water is retained for longer, reduce your watering from this guide, and only water when the soil is dry.
Select four main branches around the tree and train as an open vase shape. Pruning after initial shaping should consist mostly of thinning dead, diseased, and tangled wood to open the centre of the tree. Pruning should take place in winter and always when the weather is dry. You shouldn’t need to prune any more than 1/3 of the tree each year.
Common almond tree pests and diseases
Almond trees are susceptible to shot hole fungus, root rot, bacterial canker/gummosis, and rust. Most of these diseases can be controlled in the home garden with an organic Bordeaux spray at leaf fall, bud swell, and 2 weeks later for good measure! The risk of infection can also be minimised by following the above instructions and ensuring you don’t overwater your tree, and don’t have it in a humid environment. Rust can be treated with a product such as mancozeb plus.
Ensure you always disinfect your pruning tools between each cut and each tree; this is one of the best ways to minimise the spread of disease in almond trees.
Netting is the best way to keep birds and insect pests away from your almost ripe nuts and new growth. Net early in the season, ensuring you use a frame that keeps the net clear of the growing foliage.
For more pest and disease control advice, head to our page on Common Fruit Tree Pests and Diseases.
Almond harvest guide
Our Dwarf Self Pollinating Almond is ready to harvest from January to February, depending on your climate.
Look for splitting paper kernels to commence harvesting. This almond can be stored in the shell for months. Once shelled, store them in an airtight container. Almonds are great when eaten directly off the tree too though!
Glowinski, L. (1991) The Complete Book of Fruit Growing in Australia. Melbourne, VIC: Lothian.
Persley, D. (1994) Diseases of fruit crops Vol 1. Brisbane, QLD: Department of Primary Industries.