Adapted from “Guidelines for planting almonds” by Bill Krueger, UC Farm Advisor, Glenn County in the January 2012 Sacramento Valley Almond News.
Plant only into soil that is at field capacity or drier. Planting into wet soil can cause compaction, rutting, and glazed tree holes.
- Make the planting hole just deep and big enough to accommodate the root system using an auger or shovel and plant the tree slightly higher than it was in the nursery, to allow for settling. Trees can be planted on a mound or a berm to insure good water drainage away from the crown. This can be particularly useful on heavier or poorly drained soils.
- Never allow trees to dry out from the time they are picked up until they are planted. Store them in the shade and cover with a moist blanket.
- Prune broken roots or roots that won’t fit in the hole without bending.
- To protect the trees from Crown Gall, treat the roots with a preventative spray of K-84 bacteria prior to planting.
- Spread roots and work the soil around roots, orient the strongest roots in the direction of prevailing winds, and to the extent possible, avoid orienting the bud crook (the flat side opposite where the scion bud emerged) toward the southwest.
- Keep fertilizer and organic material out of the planting hole.
- If the soil is moist and friable, it should not be necessary to water at planting. If the soil is dry, water with one to two gallons of water to establish good root to soil contact and eliminate air pockets. Potted trees will require watering at planting to establish good soil to root contact.
- Top the trees at 30 to 42 inches to insure vigorous growth while allowing adequate trunk length for easy shaker attachment. Remove all side branches.
- Protect trees from sunburn, Pacific Flathead Borer and herbicides by using a tree protector and/or painting with white interior latex paint. Tree wraps, protectors, or milk cartons protect the tree trunks continually, are easy to apply and settle with the soil. If trunk protecting boxes are used without painting trees, the boxes should be flattened (look like ◊ this from the top, not this □) to avoid “box burn”. If the trees are painted, use white interior latex paint, one part paint to one part water, and paint trees before they are planted or after the soil has settled. Painting + boxes gives the best possible protection.
- After settling, the trees should be no deeper than they were in the nursery.