Prunus dulcis
Common Name: almond
Type: Tree
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Syria to northern Africa
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: March
Bloom Description: Pink to white
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Fruit: Showy, Edible

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-9 where it is best grown in deep, fertile, well-drained loams in full sun. Best flowering and fruiting is in full sun. Grows well in sandy soils. Avoid heavy clays. This tree grows best in areas such as the State of California where it can be sited in hot, dry locations with low humidity such as the interior valleys and can enjoy a long growing season. Although trees in protected locations may survive St. Louis winters, they generally will not produce a nut crop because of a short growing season combined with risk of late spring frost or early fall frost.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Although primarily native to western Asia (Pakistan to the eastern Mediterranean), almond trees today are grown throughout the world. Almond trees are commercially grown for their edible nuts which not only may be eaten raw or toasted, but also are widely used in a variety of prepared foods, bakery products, candies, desserts and oils. Marzipan is made from almond paste. This is a dense, rounded, deciduous tree or large multi-stemmed shrub that typically grows 10-15’ (less frequently to 30') tall and as wide. Trees are much like the peach, however the almond is self-incompatible and two or more cultivars are needed for best cross pollination. Honey bees are adept pollinators. Fragrant, 5-petaled, light pink to white flowers appear singly or in pairs in an early spring bloom before the leaves emerge. Flowers are borne laterally on spurs or on short lateral branches. Flowers are followed by the fruit which is an oblong drupe. The drupe matures about 7-8 months after the flowers appear with the hull splitting open at that time to reveal the stone/nut inside. Lanceolate to oblong lanceolate, serrate, green leaves (to 5" long). Non-showy yellow green fall color. Almond is the name of both the tree and the edible nut. Around 40% of the world commercial almond crop currently comes from the U. S., with most of that coming from California. Dulcis means sweet.

Problems

Early spring flowers are susceptible to damage from frosts. Almond is susceptible to a large number of insect and disease problems. Potential diseases include leaf spot, die back, powdery mildew, cankers, black knot and verticillium wilt. Potential insects include aphids, scale, borers, caterpillars, tent caterpillars and Japanese beetles. Spider mites may also be troublesome.

Garden Uses

Commercially grown for almond nuts. Trees also make attractive ornamental flowering shrubs or small trees, particularly in areas with long growing seasons. Specimen or small group. Effective near patios.