A guide to choosing Almond trees

Here are the most important things that you need to take into consideration when choosing almond trees:

Rootstock. Almond trees are grafted on rootstocks and the choice of rootstock is important because it determines the ultimate size to which your tree will grow. It is important to choose a rootstock suitable for the space you have and the way you wish to grow the tree. St Julien A rootstock is the traditionally used rootstock offered by most nurseries. While we also use St Julien A, we are now concentrating more on modern rootstocks notably Krymsk 86, VVA-1 and Adaptabil. Here are some guidelines for various common situations:
  • Small tree for a small garden or allotment. Dwarfing VVA-1 rootstock.
  • Medium to large size tree in a lawn or other grassed area. Semi-dwarfing Adaptabil or semi- semi-vigorous Krymsk 86 or St Julien A rootstock.
  • Pots and planters. Dwarfing VVA-1 rootstock. Restriction of the roots by the pot will keep the tree small. It is also best to start with one year maiden trees.
Tree Forms. Almond trees need to be pruned and trained to become attractive and productive trees. However pruning should be kept to a minimum just to develop and maintain the shape. All pruning should be carried out during the main growing season from early May to August and avoided in the dormant season. We usually only supply untrained one year old trees known as maidens which can be trained into any suitable form. Here are some guidelines about the various tree forms:
  • Bush trained trees. Open centre goblet shaped trees with relatively short clear trunks of 3ft/1m normally on dwarfing or semi-dwarfing rootstocks suitable for small or medium sized gardens.
  • Half standard trees. Open centre goblet shaped trees with medium length clear trunks of 4ft/1.3m in height normally on semi-dwarfing or semi-vigorous rootstocks suitable for medium sized, large gardens or paddocks.
Blossom . Almond trees are the earliest trees to come into blossom in the spring. Their attractive pink blossom adds colour to the garden in March.

Pollination. All almond trees are self-fertile and will crop successfully grown on their own. However because they blossom very early there may be very few or no pollinating insects to carry the pollen to the female parts of the flower. This can result in irregular cropping. One remedy is to hand pollinate.