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Has anyone grown macadamia nut trees? Did you start them from seed?  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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I'm looking to plant some trees on the west side of my house for afternoon shade.  I'd like to plant some sort of nut tree that gets quite tall, thus giving me both shade and food..  I was thinking pecan, but the folks at the nursery are telling me that they don't do that well in this area.   So after some time on-line tonight doing research, I'm curious if macadamia nut trees might work here.

I'm in Zone 10b, in Los Angeles county (about 10 minutes north of Disneyland).  The spot would be in the full-sun with a block wall nearby that would radiate a lot of heat, as it gets baked all afternoon in the sun.  The varieties I'm considering are Beaumont, James or Cate. 

Has anyone grown macadamias from a nut?  What was your experience?  What was the germination rate?  Any insight you could offer someone attempting to grow from seed?

Will they do OK in a hot, dry environment?  I know they are native to Australia, so I assume that they'd do OK here once established.
 
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Hi Marco,

I read an old Los Angeles Times article on Macadamias but can't find it.   I have no direct experience, maybe this article will be helpful.

Purdue
 
Marco Banks
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Thanks Scott.

m
 
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I'm growing macadamia trees on my homestead in Hawaii. Yes, they will grow from seed quite easily, but like citrus and avocado, you won't know what you've got until the tree matures. As a result most people plant grafted trees so that know that they are putting their effort into growing a tree that will produce the type of nuts they are looking for. I've seen plenty of macnut trees grown from seed that mature out to be good producers, but I've seen an equal number or more that either produce very small nuts or not very many. My own trees are a known grafted variety that I got free as rejects from a local orchard. They were funny shaped and the orchard man wasn't interested in fussing with them. I've trained them into nice trees.

They grow moderately slowly. It will take years before they offer any significant shade or get tall. I planted mine about 10 years ago and they are perhaps 10 foot high now.

Once established they handle dry conditions ok. But in order to produce a decent crop, they need moisture during flowering time. The orchards here that are in dry locations will run drip irrigation during the flowering season. I have a friend living in a dry location and has a dozen trees. She directs her grey water to the trees during flowering time, thus getting an abundant crop each year.

Hope this info helps.
 
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I'm in the southern North Island of NZ, and we're regarded as marginal for macadamias (frost) but there are lots of healthy trees around here. I planted two grafted varieties (Beaumont and something else) about eight years ago and they're now about 4m tall. They have flowered twice and I have a few nuts forming. Ours are next to a hedge which shelters them from the southerlies and I've seen the tips of branches die back after a couple of -3C nights, but they're like our avocados and put out so much new growth in the spring that it doesn't really matter. The local council planted a couple at our domain around the same time I put mine in. They're totally exposed, with only a few other little fruit trees around them, and are doing great. No supplemental water in either case, and although our climate is far wetter than LA (about 1200 mm/yr), we do get summer droughts and the soil here is free draining silt loam that just about turns to rock when it's dry. I regard them as pretty hardy trees and hope to start seeing more of a harvest in coming years.
 
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We have friends in La Jolla, CA, near San Diego, who have a macadamia nut tree in their backyard.  I don't know if it was from seed, but it makes an abundant crop of nuts each year.  The dogs love chewing on them.
 
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Hi

Just thought I'd add two cents - I grew up in the Macadamia's original habitat in Australia (though I know there are a lot more varieties now adapting to more conditions). It's hot but not really dry: our Winter is quite dry but Spring and Summer are very humid and can get relatively wet (when it's not in drought), with big storms every few days and occasional coastal lows that bring in rain, and then Autumn is flood season that usually sees at least one weakened tropical cyclone (hurricane) come down. So I'd also suggest having a method of keeping up quite a bit of moisture to the tree in those seasons.

And yeah, it will take quite a number of years for a seed-grown tree to become mature and productive, I think a decade or more.

Cheers
L
 
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Good info already, I would add that they need to be protected from winds as the nuts can fall before being ripe. That is what everybody says here... as we are a windy island, though no hurricanes.

They yes, if you want shade sooner, start with a tree already tall from nursery. After 7 years I still have no nuts and little shade. Also, they grew more high than large. I do not see them as giving thick shade.

I can also give another idea for shade > eucalyptus citriodora, also from Australia. After only 5 years, one I did from a tiny seed is HUGE! It is beautiful and gives medicine. And such a smell for a shade tree...

Then I also have a lili pili and it grows super quick, is thicker, can be trained as hedge or to any form by cutting it, and gives an edible berry. It has the consistance of apples, so is not too messy on the ground. Not very sweat and good in salads, decorative as it has pink berries, and nice burgundy sprouts.
 
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:...I also have a lili pili and it grows super quick, is thicker, can be trained as hedge or to any form by cutting it, and gives an edible berry...



Hi Xisca, any advice on where to get lilli pilli trees in the canary islands? do they need a lot of water in our dry climate? Are they ok when it hits 40C+ ?

 
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To get the best of both worlds you ould plant something quick growing, like poplar, willow or eucalypt, to be removed once the macadamias are tall enough to provide shade.
 
Marco Banks
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:

I can also give another idea for shade > eucalyptus citriodora, also from Australia. After only 5 years, one I did from a tiny seed is HUGE! It is beautiful and gives medicine. And such a smell for a shade tree.



Is it allelopathic?  I'd hate to grow something that ultimately would sterilize the entire area from growing all the other wonderful stuff that grows there now.

 
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We're in a mediterranean climate, no frost but no winter rain either. We have one macadamia grown from seed-- it is about seven years old and about 6 feet tall, but it is very bushy, which is nice. I think each year it will take off more. We haven't gotten any nuts yet, but there have been several years of drought in which it received no water all summer, yet survived. I think it's a good choice if you're not in a hurry. Some mulberries grow pretty tall pretty fast, right-- would they be an option? Acacias (the African, thorny kind-- mostly now re-classified as Senegalensia after Australia took over Acacia) with a fruit understory might be another option-- they're nitrogen fixing, very hardy once established, and pretty wind tolerant in my experience, beautiful, medicinal, with dappled shade.
 
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:I can also give another idea for shade > eucalyptus citriodora, also from Australia. After only 5 years, one I did from a tiny seed is HUGE! It is beautiful and gives medicine. And such a smell for a shade tree...



I live in a eucalyptus area and eucalyptus grow so high that you'll never be able to get rid of them because it would cost a fortune to pay a professional to go so high up to trim them. Once planted they're a permanent fixture to your yard. I consider them quite ugly too as they don't have many leaves either, so they don't provide very much shade. On the other hand people from many streets away will know exactly where your house is because they'll see the tree. haha

Just a warning.

My favourite Australian tree is the Port Jackson Fig, but it'll ruin your plumbing and foundations, and Illawarra Flame Tree whose red leaves look like fire.
 
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Marco Banks wrote:I'm looking to plant some trees on the west side of my house for afternoon shade.  I'd like to plant some sort of nut tree that gets quite tall, thus giving me both shade and food..  I was thinking pecan, but the folks at the nursery are telling me that they don't do that well in this area.   So after some time on-line tonight doing research, I'm curious if macadamia nut trees might work here.

I'm in Zone 10b, in Los Angeles county (about 10 minutes north of Disneyland).  The spot would be in the full-sun with a block wall nearby that would radiate a lot of heat, as it gets baked all afternoon in the sun.  The varieties I'm considering are Beaumont, James or Cate. 

Has anyone grown macadamias from a nut?  What was your experience?  What was the germination rate?  Any insight you could offer someone attempting to grow from seed?

Will they do OK in a hot, dry environment?  I know they are native to Australia, so I assume that they'd do OK here once established.



I live in a 9B zone., my mother lives in a 10A zone in Santa Barbara County , we both have macadamia nut trees started from seeds. Both trees are in full sun. My mother has a big beautiful tree, does not require much care. My tree is still very small, I started growing a year ago. My tree took 3 weeks to finally germinate. I first cracked the shell slightly with a hammer prior to planting in soil. After several months of caring for my tree indoors, it was ready to be planted out doors.  I purchased a water monitor to make sure it had adequate water.  It took several weeks to finally get my tree comfortable being outdoors.  I adjusted the PH level of the soil by adding sulfur.  I also used miracle grow for citrus avocado and mango.  I also noticed my plant did a lot better after watering with magnesium water.
I am in a hot, dry windy environment. I use a tomato wire covered with a trash bag to protect my small tree from the wind.
I am hoping you have already had the opportunity to grow one. 
 
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