Almonds are deciduous trees native to the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and North Africa and are members of the rose family, Roseacea. They are in the same genus (Prunus)as plums, cherries, apricots, nectarines, and peaches but are most closely related to peaches. The upright trees have wide spreading branches and rough gray bark. The bright green leaves are simple and tree to five inches long by 1 1/8-1 ¾ inches wide. The white to pale pink flowers are one to two inches across and have five petals. They appear singly or in pairs in spring before the leaves emerge and give way to oblong, brown fruits, 1 ½ inches long. Although commonly called a nut, botanically the fruit is a drupe, similar to the pit of a peach. Almonds are commercially grown for their fruits but are also very attractive garden plants when they bloom. They need hot summer temperatures, dry air, and wet winters to set good fruit and are widely grown in the Central Valley of California that accounts for over 75% of the world’s production. Trees begin bearing fruit at three years of age.
Type: Deciduous flowering tree
Outstanding Feature: Flowers, fruit
Form: Oval canopy
Growth Rate: Moderate
Bloom: White to pale pink, five petaled flowers 1 ½ inches across in spring
Size: 25-40’ H x 20-25’ W
Light: Full sun
Soil: Fertile, deep, well-drained; does not tolerate alkali or salt.
Hardiness: Zones 6-9
Care: Prune when you to establish framework with three main branches.
Pests and Diseases: Mites, peach twig borer, brown rot, shot-hot fungus, oak-root fungus
Propagation: Seed with cold stratification, cuttings, layering