Almond Trees Planting, Spacing and Tree Population
Planting of young almond trees in the field can take place during winter (definitely before blossoming).
Before planting, we have to label the tree positions in the field. In general, almond trees are planted in rectangular or hexagonal patterns. The young almond trees should not be planted in less than 18 feet (5,5 meters) distance, especially when the soil is fertile enough. If they are planted in less than 18 feet distances, after a few years, the overcrowding and the mutual shadowing of trees will decrease the quantity and quality of production and will make harvesting and pruning more difficult. (However, there are innovative methods suggesting 4 X 4 feet distances, but with a very short life expectancy of the trees). Typical distances are 20 X 20 feet (6 X 6 meters), 23 X 23 feet (7x7 meters) and 18 X 18 feet (5,5 X 5,5 meters). 20 X 20 feet distances result in 109 trees per acre, or 272 trees per hectare, while 18 X 18 feet distances result in 134 trees per acre or 335 trees per hectare. Keep in mind that commercial almond growers plant one row of trees of the pollinating variety for every three rows of the main variety, so as to ensure cross pollination, which is necessary for the fruit set. This also facilitates the harvesting and sorting of each variety, as they collect and sort each variety of almonds by harvesting the corresponding row.
We then have to dig and open the holes. The holes have typically dimensions 1,5 X 1,5 feet (45 X 45 cm) and a depth of 2 feet (60 cm). Keep in mind that the young almond trees are often planted without the nursery’s soil ball. The seedlings must be planted at roughly the same depth, as they were planted in the nursery, and then we have to put plenty of surface soil to the base of the root system of seedlings. When adding the soil, we have to press it gently, until the complete filling of the pits, so as to avoid causing damage to the young and sensitive root system. Planting is followed by the watering of seedlings. Many almond farmers then add a small amount of manure around the seedling base. They do this in order to prevent the germination of weeds’ seeds and to maintain adequate soil moisture. In some countries, almond growers place a special weed-preventing mat around the base of the newly planted almond tree and they cover its trunk with a special white cover in order to avoid sunburn.
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8. Planting Almond Trees
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