How to Raise Pistachios

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    Optimum Climate

    • 1). The correct climate is necessary for growing pistachio trees. These trees require a climate that has long, arid, hot summers and cool winters. The pistachio tree is a slow-growing tree that must be at least 7 years old to produce nuts. In the correct climate, these trees can grow as large as 30 feet tall.

    • 2). The trees must be planted in a location where they will receive full sun for most of the day.

    • 3). The trees have deep roots and will survive in poor soil. They require deep but infrequent watering. Running a hose or irrigation system at the base of the trees once per month for about four hours should be sufficient. They do not do well planted on a lawn, as the water grass requires makes the soil too wet for the pistachio tree.

    Choosing Seedlings

    • 1). You will need to purchase male and female grafted trees to produce nuts. You will require one male tree for every six or eight female trees. The male trees produce the pollen necessary for female trees to produce nuts.

    • 2). Choose seedlings that have nicely rounded trunks with no breaks on the skin or bark, and leaves that are healthy and grayish-green in color.

    • 3). Look for a healthy root system when choosing seedlings.

    Planting and Fertilizing

    • 1). Trees should be transplanted in the spring into holes dug slightly larger than the seedling container, and planted approximately 30 feet apart.

    • 2). Take care not to disturb the root balls too much when transplanting the trees. Soak the tree with water when first transplanted.

    • 3). Fertilize your trees one year after planting with 10-10-10 fertilizer, which contains a balanced blend of nitrogen, potash and phosphate.

    Harvesting

    • 1). Here's where patience comes in: Your trees will not be ready for harvesting for 7 to 10 years, with peak harvest performance at about 20 to 25 years.

    • 2). When ready for harvest, trees are shaken to release nuts, which are then gathered from the ground. In California, specialty machines are used to harvest the nuts.

    • 3). After removing the nuts from the tree, the nuts must be shelled and dried to keep a perfect appearance for marketing.

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