Stark Bro's Plant Manual for All-In-One Almond

Getting Started

Location

The best way to succeed is to plan before you plant. Let’s discuss location: Do you know where you want to plant your new nut trees? Avoid many future problems by considering all aspects of the planting spot, such as:

  • Sun and good soil
  • Check out the surroundings
  • Space wisely
  • Leave space for future planting

Sun and Good Soil

Your tree would love a sunny place with well-drained, fertile soil. But it will be quite satisfied with six to eight hours of sunlight. Good drainage is required to keep your trees “happy.” If your soil has high clay content, use our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium or add one-third peat to the soil at planting time.

Surroundings

If you’d like your tree to become a landscaping asset, choose the planting place with this in mind. Imagine it as a full-grown tree and check everything out: Wires overhead? Sidewalk underneath? Does it obstruct something you want to see? Can you keep an eye on it from the house? Will other trees be in the way, allowing for their additional growth in the meantime?
Even a year or two after planting, your tree will be very difficult to transplant. So take the time to plant it in just the right place.

Space Wisely

We are asked about recommended planting distances from patios, sewer lines, water pipes and so on. Ordinarily, patios will not be a problem because the soil beneath them will be dry and compacted. Therefore, the roots will not grow into this area as much. You might not expect sewer and water lines to be affected since they are buried so deeply. But, since sewer and water lines tend to be wet, roots will grow to them and around them if the tree is planted too close. By planting your trees far enough away from these items, you can avoid this problem.

Space for Future Plantings

Once you’ve found out firsthand about the goodness of growing nuts, you’ll want to expand your home orchard. It’s important to plan for tree spacing so that the future growth areas will be ready when you are.

Planting

Successfully establishing a young nut tree in your yard starts with your planting site and method. Once a tree is established, it needs little assistance to grow and produce; but you’ll want to make sure you give your tree the best foundation possible.

Nut trees require fertile soil for good growth, so before you plant, check your soil nutrients and pH. Contact your local County Extension Office for information about soil testing in your area, or purchase one of our digital meters for quick and accurate results. For almonds, your ideal soil pH should be 6.0-7.0. Steer clear of soils that are extremely heavy or poorly drained.

Planting

  • Space your almond trees 15’ to 20’ apart.
  • Dig a hole wide and deep enough to accommodate the root system.
  • Wet the roots thoroughly before planting.
  • Many nut trees have just one main root, almost like a giant skinny carrot. With most nut trees, this taproot should not be trimmed or bent when planted.
  • Spread the roots out in the hole to prevent matting. Do not bend or trim main taproot.
  • Plant at the same depth as they were grown at the nursery. Bare root trees will have a noticeable color difference between the roots and the trunk--plant at the depth of this color difference. Place a potted tree the same depth it was growing in the pot.
  • Refill hole with enhanced soil. Tamp soil firmly about roots as you add each shovel of dirt.
  • When hole is ¾ full, add two buckets of water, the last bucket should be treated with Stark® Tre-Pep® Fertilizer and let soak in. (If planting in the fall, wait to fertilize until spring for best results.)
  • Finish filling hole.

After Planting

  • Prune your new bare root tree by cutting off at least one-third to one-half of the top (but not below the bud/graft union). This is essential. This forces your tree to grow a strong sprout that will become the main trunk. Take our word for it: severe pruning at planting time gets your new tree off to the best possible start. Potted nut trees do not need pruning.
  • Paint trunk with a white latex paint and/or wrap trunk within 4” of top using Stark® Tree Guards to prevent rodent injury and sun scald.
  • Mulch about June 1. Keep all weeds away from trees the first few years with mulch or regular cultivation.

Additional Notes

  • All-In-One variety only grows to about half the size of a normal almond tree, only around 15 feet tall. This makes it ideal for back yards where space is an issue. It is considered the best crop for home orchards. It is a self-pollinating tree, which means it does not need another tree near it in order to bear fruit, so you can grow just one tree. This also makes it valuable because it can be used as a pollinator to pollinate almond trees that cannot self-pollinate. The fruit from this tree ripens in late September or early October and is considered a soft-shelled nut.
  • Hall’s Hardy variety is a hard shell small nut variety, which ripens in October. This variety also has a pink bloom and is often planted just for its beautiful flower. It is a full size almond tree that does better with a pollinator such as the Garden Prince or and the All-In-One. The Hall’s Hardy is very cold tolerant and in fact requires 600-800 chill hours to fruit.

Soil Preparation

Preparing your soil before you plant will greatly improve your tree’s performance and promote healthy, vigorous growth. It is a good idea to have your soil tested to determine if it is lacking in any essential minerals and nutrients. This can be done through your County Extension Office or with one of our digital meters.

The goal of soil preparation is to replenish vital minerals and nutrients, as well as break up and loosen any compacted soil.

When To Prepare Your Soil

Soil preparation can be done at any time that the ground is not too wet or frozen. Your trees may be planted even when temperatures are quite cool. If a hard frost is expected, it is advisable to delay planting for a while until temperatures become more moderate. Generally, as long as your soil is workable, it is fine to plant.

How To Prepare Your Soil

  • Roots grow faster when they’re spread out. Dig the hole deep and wide enough so the root system has plenty of room to easily expand. Keep the topsoil in a separate pile so you can put it in the bottom of the hole, where it’ll do the most good.
  • To loosen the soil, mix dehydrated cow manure, garden compost or peat moss (up to 1/3 concentration) into your pile of topsoil. Make sure the peat moss you get is either baled sphagnum or granular peat. You can also add our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium or 2 or more inches of organic material and work in evenly with the existing soil.

Your lawn can provide you with ideal organic materials such as grass clippings and shredded leaves. Not only will the grass and leaves break down to provide soil nutrients, but they will help loosen the soil as well. You can gather these in the fall with spring planting in mind.

Common soil amendments:

  • compost
  • sand
  • manure
  • lime
  • peat moss

Adding organic materials, such as our Coco-Fiber Potting Medium and compost will improve most every soil type. Organic materials bind sandy soil particles so they retain moisture and nutrients better. They also break apart clay and silt particles, so that water can infiltrate and roots can spread.

Soil Types

  • Clay and silt soils are made of very small particles. They feel slick and sticky when wet. Clay and silt hold moisture well, but resist water infiltration, especially when they are dry. Often puddles form on clay or silt soils, and they easily become compacted.
  • Loam soil is a mix of sand, silt or clay, and organic matter. Loam soils are loose and look rich. When squeezed in your fist, moist loam will form a ball, which crumbles when poked with a finger. Loam soils normally absorb water and store moisture well. Loam soils can be sandy or clay based, and will vary in moisture absorption and retention accordingly.
  • Sandy soils contain large particles that are visible to the unaided eye, and are usually light in color. Sand feels coarse when wet or dry, and will not form a ball when squeezed in your fist. Sandy soils stay loose and allow moisture to penetrate easily, but do not retain it for long-term use.

Care & Maintenance

Fertilizing

Fertilize your tree in the spring with a well-balanced fertilizer. Sprinkle the fertilizer at the drip line of the tree.

Insects and Diseases

Every tree has the future potential for disease and insect damage. Factors such as location and weather will play a part in which issues your tree encounters. If available, disease-resistant trees are the best option for easy care; and for all trees, proper maintenance (such as watering, fertilizing, pruning, spraying, weeding, and fall cleanup) can help keep most insects and diseases at bay.

Crown Gall

Trees appear stunted and slow growing; leaves may be reduced in size, little or no fruit. If tree is dead, inspect roots for hard, woody ‘tumors’. Note: many things can cause stunted trees.

Control

  • Consult County Extension Agent

Botrytis Shoot Blight

On 1-year-old shoots, reddish spots develop into sunken cankers. Spots on leaves, center often drops out, leaving small holes. Fruit skins usually are spotted; damage to nutmeat unknown. If NOT controlled, production will be reduced.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Scale

Usually on bark of young twigs and branches, encrusted with small (1/16”) hard, circular, scaly raised bumps with yellow centers, may also be on fruit. Sap feeding weakens the tree.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray
  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap

Powdery Mildew

Whitish-gray powdery mold or felt-like patches on buds, young leaves and green twigs. Leaves may crinkle and curl upward. New shoots are stunted. Over winters in fallen leaves.

Natural Control

  • Serenade® Garden Disease Control
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Chemical Control

  • Hi-Yield® Lime Sulfur Spray

Leafroller

Pale yellow or ‘dirty’ green worms. Leaves are rolled and webbed together where insects feed. Eventually becomes ‘skeletonized’.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew

Blossom Blight

Flowers turn brown prematurely. Nuts rot similar to brown rot in peaches. Start as small brown spots, which rapidly enlarge. Fall clean up is important.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Copper Fungicide Spray or Dust
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Leaf Spot

Appears as black or brown spots on underside of leaves. Center often falls out leaving a ‘shot hole’ appearance. Leaves may yellow and fall. Fruit will also get spots, sunken areas and cracks.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Copper Fungicide Spray or Dust
  • Serenade® Garden Disease Control

Scab

Young shoots have water-soaked spots which turn brown. Leaves turn black and drop early. Olive colored circular spots on fruit.

Natural Control

  • Serenade® Garden Disease Control
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Lesser Peach Tree Borer

Adults of this insect are clearwing moths, metallic blue to black in color with bright bands of orange or yellow. They are about 13 mm long with wings folded and their forewings have a black apical band. Larvae are about 18 mm long, white with brown heads.
Symptoms:

  • Build up of reddish brown frass and gummy exudates known as gummosis. Check branch crotches on larger branches or upper trunk.
  • Heavy infestation may cause branch dieback.
  • Young tree maybe girdled and killed older trees may be weakened.

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Total Pest Control

Caterpillar is ¾ inch long, reddish orange to yellow. Adult moths have irregular, silver gray and black forewings and legs, snout like at front of the head. Eggs are white at first and later orange before hatching. Larvae are reddish orange then vary from milky white to pink. Pupae are light to dark brown. Larvae bore into nutmeat and later consume most of the nut. Producing large amounts of webbing and a fine powdery residue. Over winter in mummy nuts in tree or on the ground.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew
  • Removal of unharvest nuts.

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Borer-Miner Killer
  • Bonide® Total Pest Control

Mites

Pinpoint size, many different colors. Found on undersides of leaves. Sap feeding causes bronzing of leaves. Severe infestations have some silken webbing.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Plant Bugs

Insects are ¾ to 1" in length, usually brown in color, have long legs, wings and antennas. They feed on plant tissues that results in tan or bleached spots and distortion. Females lay eggs on the leaves or stems. Can cause nuts to fall early and/or be poorly developed.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray

Tent Caterpillar

Hairy caterpillars that enclose large areas in webbing and feed on enclosed leaves. Remove web with rake and burn. Caterpillare are pulled out with webs.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Thuricide® Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT)

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Total Pest Control

Peach Twig Borer

Adult moths are gray in color and about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length. Larvae are small brown caterpillars that tunnel into young shoots, killing terminal growth and nuts as they ripen.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew

Chemical Control

  • Bonide® Borer-Miner Killer

Shothole

Small reddish-purple spots appear on young leaves then enlarge and eventually dropping out of the leaf blade leaving a “shot hole.” It appears on fruit, usually in clustered as light brown spots or lesions with dark purple margins.

Natural Control

  • Bonide® Copper Fungicide Spray or Dust

+Chemical Control +

  • Hi-Yield® Lime Sulfur Spray

Pruning

Pruning is a very important part of proper tree care, but many people find the task overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be! Keep these things in mind:

  • You can have confidence in knowing that not everyone will prune the exact same way (including the “experts”).
  • It is definitely best for your tree to do some pruning versus no pruning.
  • There are three main reasons you should prune your tree: its survival, stimulation and shaping.
  • If a tree is left unpruned, it will not grow well— and in some cases, may not grow at all.

Pruning Almond Trees

First Season

The primary scaffold selection is done after the first growing season:

  • Upright branches with wide angles should be selected because they are stronger than branches with narrow angles.
  • Three or four primary scaffolds are recommended.
  • Remove any dead, broken or branches that are growing toward the middle of the tree.
  • If any branches are crossing remove one of them.
  • Make sure you are trimming the tree in a shape so it grows upward.

Second Season

When the tree is dormant, prune low limbs that may interfere with sprays or irrigation. Remove limbs and vigorous shoots growing through the center to allow light and air to penetrate. Secondary limbs with narrow angles should be removed.

Third Season and Beyond

When the tree is dormant, maintenance pruning consists of removing broken, interfering, dead, or disease branches.

Spraying

A proper and consistent spray schedule is important to the survival of your trees. From diseases to pests, many potential issues can be prevented with spraying before they even begin! To reap its benefits, spraying should be done consistently and thoroughly following the guidelines below.

Before you begin, read and follow all instructions on labels.

Natural Control

  • Serenade® Garden Disease Control for powdery mildew, leaf spot, scab and more.

When To Spray

Red bud to popcorn and late bloom stages

  • Bonide® Copper Fungicide Spray or Dust for brown rot blossom blight, leaf spot and shot hole.

During hull split

  • Bonide® Borer-Miner Killer for navel orangeworms and peach twig borers.

Dormancy only

  • Hi-Yield® Lime Sulfur Spray for powdery mildew and shot hole.

At the First Sign of:

  • Bonide® Insecticidal Soap for mites, scale and plant bugs.
  • Bonide® Captain Jack’s™ Deadbug Brew for leafrollers, navel orangeworms and peach twig borer (not for use on large trees – taller than 6 feet).
  • Bonide® Total Pest Control for navel orangeworms, peach tree borer and tent caterpillars.
  • Bonide® Citrus, Fruit & Nut Orchard Spray for scale, powdery mildew, blight, scab, mites and plant bugs.
  • Bonide® Thuricide® Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) for caterpillars.

Watering

Young almond trees are sensitive to drought and need watering during the dry season for the first year or two. Older trees are more resistant and may not need supplementary watering. Until the first two years has passed, follow these guidelines to get your new almond trees off to a great start.

General Guidelines

  • If summer brings about an inch of rainfall every 10 days or so, you won’t need to use the hose.
  • If it gets really dry, you can give your new tree a good, thorough soaking. The best way to do this is to let your garden hose trickle slowly. This gives the water a chance to soak in instead of running off. You can also use a soaker hose to water several trees at once.
  • It’s important to note that even if you’re in the midst of a brown-lawn drought, you don’t want to water too much. Once every 10 days or two weeks is plenty. Worse than dry, thirsty roots is waterlogged, drowning roots.

Harvesting

Are you ready to enjoy delicious homegrown nuts? Harvest is the time to enjoy the results of your hard work. Keep a few things in consideration as you reap the the benefits of your labor: the best time to pick nuts from your tree, and how to store the nuts.

When to Harvest

Harvest almonds in late August through September. Depending on the variety and growing conditions you can start harvesting nuts in 2 to 4 years. Knock or shake the nuts from the tree when the hulls open completely. After nuts are shook to the ground let them sit for 2 to 3 days to dry a little in the sun. The drying process is complete when the nuts rattle in their shells and the kernel snaps instead of bending. After you have swept or raked the dried almonds from the ground, remove the shells from the hull, and then remove the nuts from the shell.

Storage

Almonds will store for 1 year in the refrigerator or a cool, dry place or freeze for later use. For best quality package carefully in airtight containers, almonds can absorb moisture and other odors. Almonds can be stored 6 to 8 months at room temperature if left in shell after drying.