Almond Growing Guide

Almond Growing Guide

View/Download PDF

Native to Asia and North Africa, the almond is nearly as hardy as the peach, but is often more susceptible to climate fluctuations. Trees bear fruit best where the summers are long, hot and dry. They do not produce well in humid or cool summer weather. Their glossy, spade shaped leaves add to their attractive appearance
spring through fall. Almonds need adequate winter chill to set fruit, but also need proper protection from cold. Because almonds flower so early, their tender buds and blossoms are especially susceptible to frost damage in areas where late frosts are common. In Cache Valley, look for late blooming varieties like Mission, Hall’s
Hardy, and All-in-One. Some almonds are self-fruitful, but, for best production, most trees require a second tree for pollinating (must be a different variety).

Mature almond trees can reach up to 20-25 feet tall and nearly as broad. Flowers can be pale pink or white; once set the fruit looks like a flattened, undersized, green peach. In late summer or early fall, the hull will split to reveal the shell inside. The kernel inside the shell is the edible part of the almond.


Open site in full sun, with good air circulation. Since they produce very early blossoms, they perform best if given some protection from cold later winter and early spring winds, such as on a south facing slope.


Deep garden, loamy soil works best - well drained, not soggy. Avoid heavy clay or overly sandy soils.


Space trees at 15-20 foot intervals. See bare root and container planting guide.


To ensure steady fruit development from bloom to harvest, make sure to provide regular water throughout the growing season- usually a deep watering every 5-10 days depending on heat and sun exposure. Be sure to continue the regular deep waterings as the fruit begins to ripen and approach harvest.


Use a balanced fertilizer in early spring with micronutrients to maintain consistent growth and fruit production. We recommend Anderson’s Best: That’s
All It Takes, Fertilome Fruit, Nut and Pecan food, or Natural Guard Organic Fruit and Citrus Fertilizer. A good rule of thumb is to use 1/2 to 1 pound of fertilizer
per inch of trunk diameter (2 cups generally equals 1 pound). Spread fertilizer evenly around the drip line of the tree.


Once the trees have matured and have been trained into an open vase shape, they require minimal pruning each season. Each year remove any damaged or diseased branches. This can be done any time after bloom or during dormant season. Each spring, take out about 20% of old wood to encourage new wood development. When pruning keep in mind that almonds bear fruit on short spurs that form on the previous year’s growth and remain fruitful for up to 4 years. Too much pruning can significantly decrease the tree’s productivity. Also, see our pruning guide for more specific pruning instructions.

Harvest & Yield

harvest nuts after the hulls have cracked open and are starting to dry, then shake the tree to get the nuts to fall out. Peel off the hulls and spread the nuts out without stacking them on top of each other, letting them dry for 2-3 days in a partially sunny, partially shady location. To test for adequate dryness, shake a few of the nuts to find out if the kernels rattle inside the shells. Freeze the nuts for 48 hours to kill any unwanted insects that may hide inside the shells, then seal the nuts in an airtight container - they can keep in-shell for up to 6 months in a cool, dry place. Each tree will usually produce 20-30 pounds of nuts depending on location, fertilizer, variety and rootstock.


Aphids are the most common insect to attack almond trees each summer. To best control the aphids, use a dormant spray/fungicide combo during the late dormant season or even just as the buds start to swell in early spring. During the growing season (even right up until harvest), apply a general-purpose insecticide as needed. Fertilome Fruit Tree Spray (organic), Sevin, or Malathion are all excellent insecticides for the job. Lady bugs will also do a great job at controlling aphid outbreaks.

Blossom blight, shot-hole fungus, and brown rot are some of the most common diseases that affect almonds. Prevent disease by starting the season with a dormant spray/fungicide combination. Next, apply a general-purpose fungicide right after blossom drop. To prevent shot-hole fungus and blossom blight, continue to apply fungicide every 2 weeks during the cool, wet season of spring. It is essential to spray again in the fall, at about 25% leaf drop to stop these harmful diseases from permanently damaging your trees. For a good general-purpose fungicide, we recommend Copper Soap, F-Stop by Fertilome, or Complete Disease Control from Monterey.


Almond, Hall's Hardy

Begins production often in the third year and will produce 12-15 pounds of nuts at maturity. This self-pollinating tree has a rounded form and the fruit and leaves resemble a peach until the fruit fully develops. Large, 1 inch nuts have a hard shell and ripen from late September to October. Hall's Hardy Almond Tree is the best almond variety for cold climates.

  • Mature Height: 15'-30'
  • Mature Spread: 15'-20'
  • Sun Exposure: Full - Partial
  • Flavor: Sweet
  • Cooking/Storage: Good for both
  • Pollinator Required: Mostly self-fertile, but produces more with other pollinators
  • Harvest Period: September - October
  • Zones: 5-9


Almond, Ne Plus

Ne Plus (nay-PLEW) Almonds are large, with a long and narrow shape that is soft shelled with a sweet kernel. They are high in protein and heart healthy. They're good for you lungs, heart, and also your teeth. The NE Plus Almond tree grows well in all soils, thrives in full sun or partial shade, and withstands heat and drought well. They make a stunning addition to any "natural" area, or arrange them in rows along a fence line or driveway.

  • Mature Height: 20'-30'
  • Mature Spread: 8'-10'
  • Sun Exposure: Full - Partial
  • Flavor: Sweet (as far as almonds go)
  • Cooking/Storage: Good for both
  • Bloom Period: Very Early
  • Pollinator Required: Yes. Other almonds, apricots, nectarines, and peaches will work
  • Harvest Period: September
  • Zones: 5-8


Almond, Texas Mission

The small-to-medium sized tree with a spreading, open canopy usually grows 10-15 ft. It has a showy white bloom which produces a wonderfully sweet, small, fat nut. Almond trees flourish best in climates with mild winters, and long, dry, hot summers with low humidity. The Texas Mission almond tree is perfect for areas with late frost. Deep, well-drained soils are best. Drought tolerant.

  • Mature Height: 15'-30'
  • Mature Spread: 8'-10'
  • Sun Exposure: Full - Partial
  • Flavor: Very sweet
  • Cooking/Storage: Good for both
  • Bloom Period: Mid to late-spring (late spring frosts)
  • Pollinator Required: Semi self-fertile, but pollinators are recommended (see Ne Plus)
  • Harvest Period: October
  • Zones: 5b-9 (not as hardy as Ne Plus or Hall's)
  • Cooking/Storage: Good for both
Back to blog

Leave a comment