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Nevada Almonds?

 
Derrick Gunther
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I just finished Russle J. Smith's "Tree crops: a permanent agriculture". Awesome book, one can see many of Mollison's ideas in embryonic form. Anyway, he talks about a strain of almonds that grow throughout Nevada, up into southern Oregon, in places that average 9 inches of rain a year. Does anyone know of them or have one? I'd love to get some cold-hardy, extremely drought-tolerant almonds going.
 
John Elliott
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When I was working on a house in Las Vegas, there was a vacant lot across the street that had an almond tree in it. It may have been stealing a little bit of water from the house on the neighboring lot, but it couldn't have been getting more than 5" of water equivalent a year. It seemed to have rather puny almonds though. Maybe if it got a whole 10" of rain a year, it would put out a healthy crop.

I think that you will find that well established nut trees (almonds, pecans, pistachios) are quite drought tolerant. But if you want to get a good crop of nuts, they are going to need more than the minimal amount of water that will keep them alive until the next season.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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I have this one in my "urban orchard swale" here in Phoenix, AZ. We get about 350-400 chill hours here in downtown. My tree was planted in 2008 and produced its first "significant" crop this year (although it's had small crops starting the 2nd year).

Things to check out:
--is the tree self-fruitful or does it need to be cross pollinated
--is the number of chill hours right for your climate
--is it heat/cold hardy for your climate
--how much (if any) supplemental water does it need after establishment phase

 
Ann Torrence
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Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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Hall's Hardy Almond (actually a peach/almond hybrid)

http://ediblelandscaping.com/products/nuts/Almonds/HallsHardyAlmond.php

A fine ornamental with large showy pink blossoms. Hall's is a cross of almond and peach. The nuts are not paper shell and are similar to a peach seed.The hard green flesh around the nut splits and the seed drops like almonds do. Hall's is very adaptable especially to East coast conditions. Generally almonds grow well in California and some parts of Texas, but are not usually adapted to the eastern states. The nuts are very tasty with a hint of bitter almond flavor. The trees look like a peach tree and can be pruned to an open vase pruning to keep the tree easy to pick. Space @ 12' circle; height @ 8' with annual pruning. Zone 5-8

Plant Characteristics
Pest Resistance Very Good
Disease Resistance Good
Drought Tolerance Good
Heat Tolerance Very Good
Humidity Tolerance Very Good
Sun Tolerance Very Good
Wet Soil Tolerance Poor
Shade Tolerance Fair
No Spray Good
Salt Tolerance Poor
Fresh for Kids Good
Deer Resistance Poor
Thorns No
Plant Type Tree
Soil Type Well Drained
Edible Type Nut
Self Fertile Yes


My neighbor said he grows an almond. I was surprised, but on a good year people get peaches up here. I'll bet it's something like this one. I'll have to go see it in spring.
 
mike mclellan
Posts: 93
Location: Helena, MT zone 4
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Derrick,
What I'm finding with some trees/shrubs/perennial herbs out west ( Nevada,Wyoming and now Montana) is that they may be able to tolerate the cold winters (USDA zone 4) but the alkaline soils are another issue. I'm not saying don't try,but it may well be that you may have to plant several to get one or two to survive. The natural variablility within a species may allow some to grow in tough conditions where other individuals cannot. Having lived in Nevada for a few years, I know the alkali in soils is always something a person must take into account when designing and planting permanent gardens/orchards/food forests. The alkaline soils here in MT are still a factor in deciding what to try. Would love to plant hardy pecan but I'm not real sure the soils will make that possible. Even heavy woody mulching with a well developed mycelial network may not do the trick for trees that prefer acid soils. Yeah, sulfur can work in a small area but consider the large volume of soil that would have to be changed to favor/allow certain plants to grow. THis is just a thought, not trying to be a naysayer. I'm trying a few things here that "don't grow here" and so far have been pleased. Good luck and happy growing.
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
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Good point about the alkaline soils. However, I will say this - here in Phoenix our soils usually range from pH 7.8 to 8.3. My property is about 7.8 and I have had moderate success with almonds.
 
Adam Klaus
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Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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Almonds dont mind moderate alkalinity. They are essentially a peach selected for the nuts. I live in a good peach growing region, and folks have decent (but not commercial) success with almonds. If you can grow apricots (early blooming) and nectarines (hot growing season), then almonds should be a possibility. If peaches are a struggle, I doubt that almonds would be a possibility.
 
Derrick Gunther
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Thanks for all the info, everyone!
It sounds like Hall's Hardy Almond has small somewhat bitter nuts, based on the info I can find online. Anyone here have any experience with them? I wouldn't think almond would have too much problem with moderate alkalinity, being a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern species, but it's a good point to consider. People in my region do have some success with Peaches, so perhaps a standard almond would work. I was just curious to know if anyone had heard of the strain that had escaped cultivation in Nevada 80 years ago.
 
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