Sample Article Review on Growing Almond Trees

Agricultural Studies: Growing Almond Trees

Introduction

Almond trees are deciduous medium sized and upright. They grow in various conditions requiring different types of soil, nutrients, and air to enhance growth and yields. Almond trees are not self-fertile. The type of soil however does not matter although deep, properly drained, and sandy soil that is not too salty is most preferred. The optimal PH levels range between 7.0 and 8.5.  Such type of soil should be complimented with application of nutrients and fertilizers such as boron and foliar. Coupled with sunny conditions, the growth and production of almond trees is enhanced. For example, those growing in Mediterranean climates rely on the warm, mild, dry summers, and wet winters, as they require optimal temperatures (600F and 850F) to grow (Nyomora, Brown, Pinney & Polito, 2000).

This study will therefore address the following issues relating to almond trees. First, the research study will discuss the nutrients required to grow almond trees. A table of nutrients applied at different quantities will affirm that almond trees require balanced nutrients in order to be healthy. Thus, the research study will also discuss how high and low boron nutrient levels affect the health conditions of almond trees. It is believed that almond trees require pollen. The study will therefore assert that bees are vital as they determine the health of almond trees. However, it is crucial to ascertain the type of bees required to pollinate and cultivate almond trees. Lastly, the research paper will determine how pollination contributes to almond trees’ nutrients and health conditions. This research paper therefore aims to provide readers with essential information they require to know before venturing into almond tree cultivation (Alonso, Anson, Espiau & Socias, 2005).

 

The Nutrient Balance of almond trees

Reproductive almond trees require the following nutrients: zinc, nitrogen, potassium, and boron. They are fertilizer nutrients capable of delivering highly improved and healthy almond trees. The nutrients however ought to be applied in different quantities based on the following facts (David, 1996).

First, effective, and efficient delivery of nutrients when cultivating almond trees should involve determining the plants’ demands and uptake levels. The soils’ nutrients and moistness should therefore be determined in order to avoid providing the almond trees with either excessive or minimal nutrients. A farmer should also determine the best time to apply the nutrients to ensure the nut growth is rapid. Almond tree leaves should be analyzed to determine the exact nutrient to apply. For example, sampling the leaves in July across California is vital as a farmer can monitor and manage the fertilizer amounts in attempts to increase yields. Consequently, the amount of flowers in an almond tree should be relied on to determine the amount of potassium to apply. This is because reduced flowers indicate deficiency in potassium. In order to provide the almond trees with zinc, foliar applications should be undertaken especially during fall and spring. Consequently, boron should be applied, as it is a crucial nutrient. However, the amount of boron should be regulated, as high levels are toxic to almond trees. The leaves should be sprayed with boron when they develop a pink color in order to increase yields (Alonso, Anson, Espiau & Socias, 2005).

Nutrient Suggested Ranges Critical Value
Potassium 1.4 to 2.0 % 1.0%
Nitrogen 2.2 to 2.5 % 2.0%
Zinc 15 to 20 ppm 15 ppm
Phosphorous 0.1 to 0.3 % 0.14%
Calcium 2.0 to 4.0% 1.9%
Magnesium 0.6 to 1.2 % 0.25%
Boron 80- to 150 ppm 80 ppm

The table above summarizes the amount of nutrients to be applied to enhance yields from almond trees (Franz, 2009).

Balanced nutrients therefore play a major part in ensuring almond trees are healthy. The health conditions of an almond tree can be determined by the color of the leaves, amount of flowers and the total nuts yield per harvest. The almond nuts and fruits bloom based on the temperatures, nutrients provided to the trees, and stages of dormancy. Dormancy periods are characterized with a complete flower organogenesis during which endodormancy and growth of buds is perceptible as well as constant. As nutrients are added, ecodormancy occurs allowing the buds to grow into flowers (Ossama & Rafel, 2008).

More so, they cannot be attacked by pests ensuring the trees remain healthy with the ability to combat vermin and diseases Application of nutrients should be complimented with pruning in order to open up and thin out tree canopies while controlling almond heights. This will reduce competition among almond trees as they consume the nutrients. The best bee activity to achieve pollination occurs during marginal weather conditions, which are often experienced in February and March. These months record blooming stages of almond trees as the air allows respiration, and drought induced vegetative mortality, as it can be windy. The canopy evapotranspiration (ET) in almond trees should facilitate soil-water balance. Thus, soil should not be dry. A mature almond tree should therefore record an eighty to eighty eight percent of ET to allow availability of energy and aerodynamic conditions (Alonso, Anson, Espiau & Socias, 2005).

 

Effects of Boron on Almond Trees

Boron is applied to almond trees in order to increase almond yields. It is however vital to ensure the right amounts of boron are applied in order to avoid excessiveness or deficiency of the nutrients. It is believed that, high yields are associated with low concentrations of boron as they lead to subsequent fertilization. Conversely, low yields can be attributed to high concentrations of boron that often lead to high toxicity levels. Normal application rates of boron across various ranges of crops are quantified at 3000+lb. Concerning almond trees, boron levels exceeding 200 ppm can lead to toxicity (Doll, 2012).

This is characterized with increased stick tights and gummy kernels as well as twigs and hulls (Patrick, Hening, Agnes & Mark, 1996). In order to reduce and address these adverse effects, the normal range of boron between 120 and 160 ppm applied to the soil should also be reduced. This guarantees amounts of boron in the soil and tree tissues will drop eventually. Consequently, boron amounts ranging between 100 and 120 ppm should be applied coupled with foliar nutrients especially when the buds are swelling and pink flowers are budding (Nyomora, Brown, Pinney & Polito, 2000).

Thus, deficiency of boron attributes to negative effects on the almond trees especially if the quality of soil is sandy coupled with low water irrigation. Thus, low amounts of boron lead to reduced production of flowers and nuts. It can also lead to excessive droppings of flowers, which further leads to low production of almond nuts. Some incidences characterized with low amounts of boron lead to malformed nuts. Lastly, a deficiency in boron amounts can lead to undesirable vegetative growth. Conversely, high amounts of boron translate to higher demands of water. It also leads to leaching (Agnes, Patrick & Freeman, 1997).

 

 Importance of Pollination

Almond trees rely on the different types of pollination, as it is a fruit forming process. The beautiful flowers produced by almond trees attract bees. More so, they contain significant amounts of bee food namely nectar and pollen. Pollen is rich in proteins and nutrients hence, being the primary food for pollinating bees. The honeybees are the most appropriate to pollinate almond trees. This is because they rely on the nectar, which is a form of fuel propelling them to move from one tree to another hence, engaging in pollination. Wild bees on the other hand collect very little amounts of nectar from the flowers. They only ensure the amount-collected fuels their flights as they move from flower to flower-collecting pollens (Joseph & Oroville, 1998).

The process of pollination involves the bees carrying honey in the nectar that is utilized to insulate domiciles. It is also used as a food reserve ensuring the bees have sufficient food when flowers are produced in low amounts. Thus, when a bee collects nectar, the flower produces more. This process however depends on the temperatures and sunlight rated between 800F and 700F. As pollination continues, the trees ensure flowers continue secreting more nectar. Consequently, the trees bleed carbohydrates from the several flowers especially during sunny days until the flowers fall off. Young almond embryos then develop enhancing retention of almond nuts. Thus, honeybees are excellent at pollinating almond trees. They therefore play a vital role in ensuring flowers contained in almond trees are fertilized in order to commence the process of producing nuts (Kester, Gradziel & Micke, 1994).

It is however vital to ensure almond trees are applied with boron. This improves growth and maturity of pollen tubes enhancing pollination. Pollen tubes however also rely on foliar application as it guarantees they progress towards the ovary. Thus, boron and foliar application are vital for vitro germination as they enhance growth of pollen tubes while preventing them from bursting and increasing pollen germination (Agnes, Patrick & Freeman, 1997).

Conclusion

It is evident that almond trees can grow in any type of soil as long as a wide range of fertilizer nutrients are applied in order to produce healthy and quantitative yields. These nutrients including potassium, zinc, nitrogen, and phosphorous among others coupled with sunshine however cannot assist the plants to engage in self-pollination. The nutrients should however be applied moderately to avoid poisoning the trees as well as degrading the environment. Consequently, honeybees have to play the role of pollinating the almond trees. This ensures the pollination process provides almond trees with the right nutrients in order to enhance health conditions and increase yields. It is however crucial to engage in pruning in order to open up and thin out tree canopies while controlling almond heights as they germinate and reproduce. These conditions are however, applicable if almond trees are grown during the best seasons, as they require full sun to produce high yields. It is also crucial to practice dormant pruning after the first and second growing seasons about 36 inches from the budding point or rootstock. This encourages production of high quality fruits.

 

References

Agnes, S. N., Patrick, H. B., & Freeman, M. (1997). Fall Foliar-applied Boron Increase Tissue Boron Concentration and Nut Set of Almond. Journal of American Social Horticultural Science, 122(3), 405-410.

Alonso, J. M., Anson, J. M., Espiau, M. T., & Socias, R. (2005). Determination of Endodormancy Break in Almond Flower Buds by a Correlation Model Using the Average Temperature of Different Day Intervals and its Application to the Estimation of Chill and Heat Requirements and Blooming Date. Journal of American Social Horticultural Science, 130(3), 308-318.

David, D. (1996). Almond Nutrients and Fertilization: Growing Almonds in California. Merced County, UCCE Farm Almond Production Manual.

Doll, D. (2012). High Boron Hull and Lead Values. University of California Cooperative Extension.

Franz, N. (2009). UC Research Report, Nutrient Balance Important for Almond Tree Health. Sutter-Yuba Counties, University of California Cooperative Extension Farm.

Joseph, H. C., & Oroville, S. (1998). Pollination of Nut Crops, Almonds: Practices and Problems. Charlotte 95th ASHS Conference, Temperature Nut Working Group Workshop.

Kester, E., Gradziel, M., & Micke, C. (1994). Identifying Pollen Incompatibility Groups in California Almond Cultivars. Journal of American Social Horticultural Science, 119(1), 106-109.

Nyomora, S., Brown, H., Pinney, K., & Polito, S. (2000). Foliar Application of Boron to Almond Trees Affects Pollen Quality. Journal of American Social Horticultural Science, 125(2), 265-270.

Ossama, K., & Rafel, S. (2008). Fruit Quality in Almond as Related to the Type of Pollination in Self-Compatible Genotypes. Journal of American Social Horticultural Science, 133(3), 320-326.

Patrick, B., Hening, H., Agnes, N., & Mark, F. (1996). Foliar Boron Application Enhances Almond Yields. Better Crops Review, 80(1), 20-23.