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Orchard Development

Selecting the best variety for your orchard.

Variety Selection & Management

Selecting almond varieties is a long-term decision that comes with many considerations. Once almond varieties are selected, additional decisions must be made to determine tree spacing and orientation and managing the orchard to optimize light interception.

Among the many attributes growers must consider in selecting varieties and rootstocks:

  • Soil type and condition

  • Water quality

  • Topography

  • Climate

  • Marketing potential

  • Bloom period

  • Insect and disease susceptibility

  • Field performance

  • Harvest timing


Additional Resources:
Understand Almond Varieties, Sizes & Grades (pg. 10-12)

University of California Extension Study on Variety Selection.

From 1996 to 2006, regional variety trials, sponsored by the Almond Board, were conducted by University of California Extension researchers to determine the attributes and performance of available varieties under different growing conditions. A new series of regional variety trials were planted in early 2014, with orchards in Chico, Salida, and Chowchilla representing some of the climate, soil, water and topographical variation seen within California’s almond-growing region. A number of varieties in these trials are self-compatible. The results of this ongoing research help growers determine the optimum varieties for their own individual needs and resources.

Regional Almond Variety Trials (2006)

Tree Spacing & Pruning

A decade of Almond Board–funded research continues to challenge once-held assumptions about almond pruning and tree spacing and their impacts on production efficiency and yield.

To optimize production, the almond orchard should be designed and managed to maximize light interception through pruning, training and spacing while still allowing light to reach the orchard floor.

Research trials throughout California have demonstrated that there are many reasons to prune an almond orchard, but yield does not appear to be one of them. Trials have also confirmed that traditional tree spacing of 22 feet by 22 feet or more is too far apart to intercept the light necessary to optimize per-acre production in the orchard.

Did you know?

The Research Database provides almond growers a one-stop shop on years’ worth of research in this area.