How to Propagate an Almond Tree

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(Image: Maria Teijeiro/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Although many people think of almonds as nuts, they are actually most closely related to peach trees. According to University of Georgia horticulture professor Mark Rieger, almonds were originally cultivated in the Middle East, but can be grown in almost any hot dry climate around the world. They produce light pink or white flowers that are almost identical to those produced by the peach tree, Rieger notes on his Mark's Fruit Crops, website. Propagation of almond trees is most successfully accomplished by taking a cutting from an existing tree and grafting it onto another tree.

Things You'll Need

  • Almond tree
  • Pruning sheers
  • Plastic sandwich bag
  • Refrigerator
  • Gardener's tape
  • Pruning paint

Locate an existing almond tree that is at least 4- to 5-feet high. The tree must be dormant, meaning that it does not have almonds on it. Dormancy varies by region, but generally occurs in late December to early January.

Use pruning sheers to cut a 6-inch section off one of the branches. The branch should be the circumference of a pencil and have three to four buds.

Place the cutting into a plastic sandwich bag and pour 1 tbsp. of water in the bag. Insert the bag into a refrigerator until spring.

Select a branch on an existing tree onto which you will graft the almond cutting. Use sharp gardening shears to cut one of the limbs approximately 5 inches from where it grows out from the tree trunk.

Remove the cutting from the refrigerator and use pruning shears to cut off one end of the cutting.

Place a knife 1 inch above the cut end and shave the bark off until reaching the end of the cutting. Flip the cutting over and shave a 1-inch section of bark off of the other side of the cutting. The resulting shape looks like a flat-head screwdriver.

Use a knife or pruning shears to cut off the opposite end of the cutting. Make sure to leave at least three buds on the cutting.

Place the knife against the tree and insert it one inch into the bark at the location where the cutting will be inserted. Use a hammer to pound the knife several times if needed. Do not remove the knife.

Insert the carved end of the cutting into the hole created by the knife, leaning the knife to one side as you insert the cutting. Match the thin green line along the bark of the cutting with the green line along the bark of the tree. These layers must match in order for propagation to occur, according to the Home Orchard Society, as this green layer, called the cambium layer, is the only living part of the tree.

Pull the knife out of the tree.

Wrap the cut end of the tree limb with nursery tape until all exposed bark is covered. Apply additional tape to the section of the tree where the cutting is inserted.

Paint all taped areas with a pruning paint available at any gardening center.

Tips & Warnings

  • Almond cuttings do not have to be grown only on almond trees. The cuttings can also be grafted onto peach trees and other fruit trees.
  • Since not all cuttings thrive, it is advisable to graft two or three cuttings to increase the odds of propagation.

References

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