Almonds are stone fruits, related to peaches, plums, and cherries. They were brought to California by the Franciscans in the mid-1700s. Today, California is the world’s leading producer of almonds.
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Almond trees start producing fruit when they’re 3 or 4 years old, but don’t reach maximum production until they’re 6 or 7 years old. An almond tree can bear fruit for more than 50 years.
Almonds aren’t self-fertile and need other almond tree varieties nearby in order to produce fruit. Honeybees transfer pollen between the trees, and beehives are placed in orchards to help with pollination.
Almond trees do best in well-drained soil that isn’t salty. Fertilization isn’t necessary, as long as they grow 8 to 15 inches per year. In order to produce good fruit, they need hot summers and cool winters where the temperature doesn’t fall below zero.