Best How to Grow and Care for Almond Trees – The Spruce 2023

Best How to Grow and Care for Almond Trees – The Spruce 2023

The almond tree (Prunus dulcis or Amygdalus communis) is a fruit tree with deciduous leaves and is typical of temperate or warm areas due to its low tolerance to cold.

The ideal soil to plant an almond tree is loose, sandy soil that has good drainage and does not oppress its roots. It belongs to the Rosaceae family, one of the most evolved and numerous species.

It is mainly cultivated for almonds, although care must be taken to differentiate the sweet almond from the bitter one, which is toxic for pharmacological use.

The early flowering of the almond tree and the fact that the fruit is not harvested until nine months after the beginning of this flowering is very curious. It is, therefore, a long maturation process characteristic of this tree.

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Best How to Grow and Care for Almond Trees – The Spruce 2023

Growing growers use varieties of late-blooming almond trees for areas prone to late frosts. In addition, it is essential to cultivate on slopes or sunny land that facilitates the escape from ice and allows the activity of bees to increase for pollination.

On the other hand, and speaking precisely of the bees in charge of pollinating the almond tree, the rains during the flowering season complicate the process quite a bit.

CONTENT 

  • 1 History of the almond tree
  • 2Description _
    • 2.1 Vegetative organs
    • 2.2 Reproductive organs
  • 3 Almonds
    • 3.1 Uses of the almond
    • 3.2 Possible allergies, toxicity, or other adverse effects of almonds
    • 3.3 ecology
    • 3.4 Cultivation
    • 3.5 Pests and diseases
    • 3.6 Varieties

history of the almond tree

The almond tree began cultivating in Persia, Syria, and Palestine. In the legends of the Bible, the patriarch Abraham used almond sticks to build corrals where he closed his numerous herds, and the famous staff of Aaron was a branch of the tree above. 

In the Bible, the almond tree symbolizes vigilance and good fruit, which is why it appears among those selected by Aaron and is present in Paradise on Earth. For this reason, it often surrounds paintings of the child Jesus (the fruit of the Virgin) or his mother by him.

The Greeks were the diffusers of this plant species throughout the Mediterranean. At the end of the 18th century, some Franciscan missionaries, led by Friar Junípero Serra (a native of Petra), planted almond trees from our lands in the Californian region of San Diego.

Description

The almond tree is a deciduous tree of the Rosaceae family that can reach up to 10 meters in height. Its trunk is smooth and greenish in its early stage but becomes cracked and grayish in its adult stage. It blooms between January and April and bears fruit between August and October.

The leaves of the almond tree are long and narrow and have jagged edges. Some of Spain’s most cultivated almond varieties are the Marcona, Largueta, Planeta, Mallorca, and Mollares.

vegetative organs

Root: The almond tree has a monomorphic origin with the central axis more developed than the lateral ones, in a radial system, little branched, well attached to the ground, and grayish-yellow in color when young.

Trunk: The stem is woody and has sympotic branching. Different divergent branches come out of the main compartment; it is smooth, green, and brown when young, scaly, and gray in the adult tree.

Leaf: Its leaves are simple, lanceolate, with an attenuated base, an acuminate apex, and therefore markedly pointed, and its margins are slightly serrated; they have a leathery texture, a pinnate rib, and are deep green.

reproductive organs

The almond flower can appear alone or in groups of 2 to 4. It has five petals whose color varies between pink and whitish tones. The fruits, the almonds, are up to 6 cm long and have a drupe shape.

As you will see, the almond tree is a tree that is significantly sensitive to specific climatic conditions but very resistant to others. You have to choose the most suitable variety of almond trees for the climatic characteristics of your area.

Flower type and reproduction:

Almond flowers are hermaphrodite and monoecious since they have androecium and gynoecium in the same flower, and both sexes coincide in the same individual. Its inflorescence is racemose and grape-shaped; the pedicelled flowers are arranged along an axis. 

They are flowers that present homologous pieces, at the same level of the floral axis, with two planes of symmetry and well-differentiated calyx and corolla; therefore, they are actinomorphic and heterochromia cyclical flowers.

They have a well-developed perianth consisting of the calyx and corolla. The syncopal calyx is formed by five reddish sepals welded together; the corolla, dialysépalous, has five free petals equal to each other, arranged symmetrically in a very traditional way, white or pale pink and welded only at the base. The entire flower is found around an open, concave receptacle called a hypanthium.

The androecium is formed by the set of male organs of the flower called stamens. These are created by a filament and another that is made up of two thecae. In each theca, we find two pollen sacs where the pollen grains are.

In the flowers of the almond tree, the number of stamens is high, between 15 and 30, arranged in several groups and without being welded between them: they are polyadelphous and free stamens. 

These are located irregularly in front of the petals and sepals and do not protrude from the corolla; they are even stamens. The opening process of the anthers is done by a slit along each theca, a process called longitudinal dehiscence.

The gynoecium is the female sexual apparatus of the flower and is formed, in this case, by a single free carpel located within the hypanthium and covered with white hairs. Inside this, we find a closed cavity, the ovary, situated above the rest of the floral pieces.

 Therefore, we will say that the almond flower is monocarpellary. In addition, it is also perigynous because it has sepals, petals, and stamens distributed around the gynoecium. Its placentation is marginal. That is, the seminal primordia are inserted at the margins.

Once fertilization occurs, the fruit is formed in the ovary that contains the seeds and contributes by dispersing when they are ripe. They are simple fruits since they come from a monocarpellary gynoecium. 

Best How to Grow and Care for Almond Trees – The Spruce 2023

Let’s compare the fruit of the almond tree, an ovate and tomentose drupe (covered with hairs), with that of other fruit trees classified in the same genus Prunus (such as plum, cherry, apricot, and peach trees). We can see the similarity between the almond and the stones of the plum, the cherry, the apricot, and the peach.

The difference is that the mesocarp, which in these fruits constitutes the fleshy part, which is what is eaten, in the almond tree is a kind of skin that dries out during maturation and opens, releasing the bone with the seed inside, the almond, which will be the edible part in this case. 

Best How to Grow and Care for Almond Trees – The Spruce 2023

The almond has a stony endocarp that is reddish brown when the source is well ripe, and the opening of the fruit is not of a particular shape; it is indehiscent.

The almond stones are also much smaller, proportionally, but this is mainly due to artificial selection to increase the volume of the usable part, which has sought to increase the size of the almonds and reduce the size of the bones of the others. 

Fruity. Of these fruits, the apricot resembles the almond tree, which does not open by itself but can be opened very quickly by a highly visible suture and the pit separated.

almonds

The fruit of the almond tree is the almond, the seed. It contains 2.3% carbohydrates, 5.7% water, 15.2% cellulose, 18.7% protein and 58.1% fat. It is also rich in vitamins B and D and minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.

 Both varieties of almonds, both bitter and sweet, contain the glycoside amygdalin, which has a terrible taste. Both contain ferments called an emulsion, which can break down amygdalin and synthesize hydrocyanic acid.

Keep in mind that sweet almonds contain sugars. Therefore diabetics and those who take drugs or medications modify the amount of sugar should monitor the number of almonds they take. Due to the same fact, it must be taken into account that they have a high energy value and can cause weight gain (every 100g of almonds contains about 2160J).

almond uses

Gastronomy:

Chopped almond sauces are made, and it is used as an ingredient in bites in many dishes and stews. Raw almonds can also be added whole to some casserole meat dishes.

They are used for the musician’s dessert. Sweet raw almonds kneaded with sugar from marzipan and nougat, a typical Christmas dessert. 

If the almonds are chopped with sugar, forming a homogeneous mass to which water is added, and then the liquid is strained, the almond horchata is created. They are essential in cakes, bitters, buns, and other sweets.

Liquors can be made, for example, amaretto, synthesized from bitter almonds or hazelnut horchata. Almond milk can be used as a substitute for cow’s milk, as it is also very rich in calcium.

Health:

Different parts of the plant have always been used as an antitussive, hypotensive and hepatoprotective, among others. Its main properties are dermatological emollient, laxative, anti-inflammatory, healing, and antispasmodic (bitter variant oil). Almond milk and oil have also been used, as an external application, for skin care.

In current medicine, almond oil treats dermatitis, dry skin, psoriasis, constipation, and superficial burns. The oil of the bitter variant is antispasmodic in small doses but always under medical prescription due to the plant’s toxicity. In addition, almond milk has a dietary application due to its high nutrient content.

Possible allergies, toxicity, or other adverse effects of almonds

There is a variant of this species called bitter; almonds are bitter and toxic due to their high content of cyanogenic heterosides, that is, hydrocyanic acid (one milligram per almond). The fruit of the almond species is predominantly sweet, but a few bitter almonds can be found on each tree.

The bitter almond is slightly broader and shorter than the sweet almond and contains half of the fixed oil of sweet almonds. It also includes the enzyme emulsion, which, in the presence of water, acts as a soluble glycoside called amygdalin that gives glucose, cyanide, and essential oil of bitter almonds, which is practically pure benzaldehyde. Bitter almonds provide 4-9 mg of hydrogen cyanide per almond.

Bitter almond extract has been used medicinally, but even in low doses, the effects are severe, and it can be fatal in large quantities. Intoxication is caused by ingesting 25-30 bitter almonds and produces nausea, vomiting, hypothermia, suffocation, etc.

 It can lead to death in severe cases, especially in children. Other bitter almonds, however, are not toxic and are often used in gastronomy, especially for desserts and liqueurs.

Almond allergies are common and cause lip and face swelling and can even close the throat.

ecology

The almond tree is native to West Asia and Northeast Africa, where it is grown wild. Although today it is found throughout the Mediterranean area, extending to Iran, North America, and the Far East.

It is a tree that adapts well to light, dry and rocky soils, preferring calcareous soils, and lives in temperate climate zones, with hot, dry summers and mild winters with few touches of frost. On the contrary, surviving in humid, impermeable lands and cold environments is challenging. Frost, gummosis, shriveling, root rot in damp areas, and the almond caterpillar hinders its growth and causes death.

Crop

It is a plant multiplied by grafting on a bitter almond rootstock since it is more resistant. The most cultivated varieties are Atocha, considered a Spanish variety with high-quality almonds; Fainting Largueta: Fainting red, another Spanish late flowering type; Marcone; guara; .. There’s a lot.

pests and diseases

Insect pests include:

  • The caterpillar of the almond tree feeds on the youngest leaves.
  • monosteira unicostata
  • Malacosoma Neustria feeds on young leaves, as well as shoots and buds.
  • Almond weevils (Scolytus amygdala Guérin) make holes and galleries in the bark.
  • Anthonomus amygdala Hust is a beetle that attacks the centers of flowers.
  • As well as the «cochineals.»

The most critical fungi are Armillaria, Wilsonomyces coprophilia, canker and moniliasis.

varieties

There are more than fifty.

  • Of early flowering, the best known are Desmayo llargueta, Marcona Garrigues, Vivot, and Pozo de Felanitx.
  • Late-flowering among others: Cristo morto, Texas, Ferragnes, Ferraduel, Pozo, Masbovera, Glorieta, and Francolí, and late-flowering and self-compatible pollen: Guara.

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