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Growing Pistachios in the Rocky Mountains at 4500' elevation Without Irrigation

 
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From Logan Utah Pistachios are grown at 4500' elevation without irrigation or any other inputs. These trees were planted by Iranian students in the mid-1970's and have thrived ever since.
 
steward
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Morgan Bowen wrote:http://youtu.be/VQg0Bt3jn7M

From Logan Utah Pistachios are grown at 4500' elevation without irrigation or any other inputs. These trees were planted by Iranian students in the mid-1970's and have thrived ever since.



The pistachios in this photo are from that tree. The story goes that the Iranian students that planted the trees put them on a south facing hill because it most closely matched the conditions where they were growing back home. The actual elevation of this tree is 4800 feet. It's growing on a hill 300 feet higher than the center of town, which I suspect helps it to avoid the frost pockets that settle into the bottom of the valley.



A year ago I harvested seeds from the children of that tree. An orchard I work at has grandchildren of this tree growing already. They are still young and not producing a third generations of nuts yet. We are growing them with irrigation. These trees are also growing on a hillside, at 4600 feet elevation, about 400 feet higher than the valley floor.

The following image, courtesy of GoogleEarth, shows the 2nd generation pistachio orchard. The third generation orchard is nearby.



 
steward
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Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Nice! What do you think the limits of their range is? I have property at 7800 feet in Wyoming. Sagebrush and grass to aspen and fur forest. Do you thing they would grow there? Where would I get some starts?
 
pollinator
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Location: Richmond, Utah
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Are we getting a permies posse together here in Cache valley? AWESOME!!!

Miles Flansburg wrote:Nice! What do you think the limits of their range is? I have property at 7800 feet in Wyoming. Sagebrush and grass to aspen and fur forest. Do you thing they would grow there? Where would I get some starts?



Miles, I have included some of these pistachio seeds in your pile of stuff that I have yet to send. They grow here in our cold little valley because of the micro-climate that they were planted into. My best friend's wife runs the biology greenhouse on campus, so I thought I was one of the few in the know about these fabulous trees, but I am obviously mistaken. My wife has some photos, but she's out of town on research.
 
Morgan Bowen
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Great information on the 2nd and 3rd generation of these trees. Is there anyone doing nursury stock from these trees? If you know the property owner of this 2nd gen orchard could you set up an apointment so I could film an up date to the video? And yes, there is a CV posse. Several groups. I have had several meetings at our place, Rocky Mountain Permaculture, located at Living The Good Life Naturally just west of the library in logan at 253 N 100 W. We have done some movie nights and have some high profile and high traffic hugel beds as you drive out of the city complex parking lot. Excited to get to know you.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Pistachio seedlings were for sale at the farmer's market in Logan this spring. Like Bill said, I expect they are doing well because of the micro-climate that they got planted into.

More details about this orchard are at:

http://forestry.usu.edu/files/uploads/UFN/Summer12.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kz-eZXmbMKI
 
steward
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Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
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Oh Bill, pick me, pick me! please can I haz some pistachio seeds?
 
Bill Bradbury
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Ann Torrence wrote:Oh Bill, pick me, pick me! please can I haz some pistachio seeds?


but of course!
Morgan, you must be the one that gave my apprentice and his girlfriend hot chocolate! I'd love to stop by and chat sometime.
Joseph, it's great to have a resource like you; keep up the good work!
 
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Good Lord. That is AMAZING. I want some I want some I want some I want some!!! I can add it to my almond, hazelnut, walnut, hickory, etc nut forest.
 
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Do you know what the students original source of seed was? I've been able to buy fresh pistachio fruit locally (so I assume it's Kermin), and found they are much easier to sprout than dried nuts. I now have about 10 5 year old seedlings in my own orchard/food forest. I'm at less than 5000 feet in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and although they are surviving, I am not exactly impressed with their hardiness. I've lost about 1/3 of the total to winter kill.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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The story goes that Iranian students brought seeds from their homeland to plant the trees growing south of the USU campus.

Seeds to plant the Thatcher orchard included nuts collected in Uzbekistan.

 
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Great post - thank you for the info~

im at ~5300 ft altitude. 12ish inches of rainfall + irrigation and zone 5b. i would love to give a handful of these a try in my area.

Is there someone from Permies that has/can get/sells the seed?

 
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This thread really caught my attention. Home grown pistachios? So tantalizing! To see that they survive winters in Utah gave this Kansan hope, and some further digging revealed a passage in J. Russell Smith's Tree Crops noting that they have been successfully grown just west of Wichita, in the same state where I am.

I would love to someday get ahold of some of the Utah plants/seeds, but in the meantime I am going to try some seeds intended for planting that I purchased on eBay from Turkey. Does anybody have germination tips? I didn't find all that much info online. Some info suggested a damp chill of a few weeks prior to planting. I've currently got a few seeds in warm moist soil, in pots under indoor heat. Also got a few in the fridge. I've got seed from two different sources -- one is bare kernels without the shell, and the other is in kernels. I'm assuming that these might not germinate exactly the same.
 
elle sagenev
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Brian Rumsey wrote:This thread really caught my attention. Home grown pistachios? So tantalizing! To see that they survive winters in Utah gave this Kansan hope, and some further digging revealed a passage in J. Russell Smith's Tree Crops noting that they have been successfully grown just west of Wichita, in the same state where I am.

I would love to someday get ahold of some of the Utah plants/seeds, but in the meantime I am going to try some seeds intended for planting that I purchased on eBay from Turkey. Does anybody have germination tips? I didn't find all that much info online. Some info suggested a damp chill of a few weeks prior to planting. I've currently got a few seeds in warm moist soil, in pots under indoor heat. Also got a few in the fridge. I've got seed from two different sources -- one is bare kernels without the shell, and the other is in kernels. I'm assuming that these might not germinate exactly the same.



Ha ha I did this exact thing. I got some germinated. Just follow my blog tips http://peacockorchard.com/2015/03/25/pistachio-experiment-germination/

I probably bought seeds from the same person you did. I did have a seed germinate. I may have had more germinate. Unfortunately one of the seed types they sent had worms in them. Little white worms that came out when the shell of the seed softened. So I cooked the whole thing to kill the worms.
 
Brian Rumsey
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Thanks for the feedback, elle -- I've bookmarked your page. I'm excited to hear about your progress since we're in the same boat.
 
elle sagenev
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Brian Rumsey wrote:Thanks for the feedback, elle -- I've bookmarked your page. I'm excited to hear about your progress since we're in the same boat.



Just make sure the whole thing is isolated. I bought my seeds off Ebay from someone from Turkey and worms....they had worms. But I also got this:
Pistachio-Sprout-2.jpg
[Thumbnail for Pistachio-Sprout-2.jpg]
 
Morgan Bowen
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This is my YouTube video on propagating the stash your trees from seed.
 
steward
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IMHO, Iranian pistachios are the best in the world.

The California ones are bigger, and look beautiful, but they certainly lack the flavor.
No comparison.

 
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Is there anybody who might have access to these trees? I believe that they should be ripening soon and I would desperately like to get some fresh seed to start and try in British Columbia. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
 
pollinator
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Hi Yasha,
I know that One Green World in Portland, Oregon is selling a variety of hardy pistachio seedlings
https://onegreenworld.com/product/uzbek-pistachio-seedling-2/
 
Yasha Nichvolodoff
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Thanks. Yes I saw the pistachios at OGW. Sadly it may be more than difficult to get live plants across the border. Maybe if I let out a plaintive cry they might be willing to share some of their seed with me.
 
James Landreth
pollinator
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Lol, I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe try Etsy? I know of people who have gotten seeds internationally that way. Not sure if it's technically legal though. I just did a quick search and found some, but I'm not sure if they're good for the pacific northwest :/ I'll try to ask the people at one green world if they'll sell seed. I should be seeing them tomorrow at the Northwest Permaculture Convergence
 
Yasha Nichvolodoff
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Thanks for the tip about etsy. Ive never bought anything through there, and hadn't thought about the possibilty of seeds being available.

That would be incredibly helpful if you could possibly make that contact. My fingers are crossed.

I hope that the convergence is awesome. Dr Ingham is speaking and she is pretty rad in my books.

 
James Landreth
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Dr. Ingham's speech was really insightful. She's not only a really excellent scientist, she also did a great job of teaching and explaining the subject.

I asked One Green World about pistachios for you. They said that that particular source of seeds in hold for a few years, but they may find others. BUT, when they do, they said they can ship to Canada with only a few extra steps.

From what it sounded like, the pistachio trees will survive where you are but may not get enough heat to ripen. But, with a good microclimate setup, they might work. I also think they'd be worth planting anyway, because they might ripen down the line due to climate change, and I imagine they're very drought tolerant to boot.
 
Yasha Nichvolodoff
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Glad to hear that you enjoyed yourself. I've had family members go to see Dr. Ingham, and have had similar reviews. I'm even more glad that you got that feedback from OGW. I agree that the heat units are hard to come by, but I am hoping that with a southern exposure in the southern latitudes there may be a chance. I am pretty confident because I have heard anecdotes of people growing them in the warmer regions (Kelowna). I'll contact OGW and get on their waiting list now that I know that they would entertain sending them northwards, thanks!
 
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Morgan Bowen wrote:



From Logan Utah Pistachios are grown at 4500' elevation without irrigation or any other inputs. These trees were planted by Iranian students in the mid-1970's and have thrived ever since.



So I live just over the mountain in Malad. I would love to grow pistachios. I wonder if they would grow there we are slightly colder than you. Do you need to wrap the trees in the winter or anything? Is it more important to have a hot summer and the tree does fine through the winter?
 
pollinator
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Do they require a dry climate? I wonder if they grow in Missouri?
 
You save more money with a clothesline than dozens of light bulb purchases. Tiny ad:
Wild Homesteading - Work with nature to grow food and start/build your homestead
https://permies.com/t/96779/Wild-Homesteading-Work-nature-grow
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