[NAFEX] plumcot - hardy almond
Lon J. Rombough
lonrom at hevanet.com
Mon Jul 12 14:30:40 EDT 2004
The old "Hall's Hardy" was really a peach-almond hybrid and you haven't
missed anything by not getting nuts from it. The nuts look like a slightly
smoother version of a peach pit and they are as hard to crack. Also, the
kernals are bitter. The main reason they never set (at least for me) was
that they bloom way too early. The few times I got nuts was when we had
unusual warm dry spells during bloom time. Almonds themselves bloom so
early that commercial production is only possible in places like California.
HOWEVER, there is a very wide range of almond germplasm out there, and
good, cold hardy, disease resistant almonds could easily be bred. Tom
Plocher in Minnesota has a bush species (species name escapes me) that has
set nuts after -40 winters. And not just a few - over 300 to a bush.
Dr. Maxine Thompson did plant exploring in central Asia where there are
many types of almonds and described a lot of them that could be good
breeding material to produce late blooming, self-fertile, dwarf almonds.
Ironically, the people of the area didn't grow almonds. The soil was so
poor they grew apricots with sweet kernals so they got two crops from the
trees to make use of the limited soil they had.
> Good thing the tree has a good shape and is
>healthy or I would have yanked it out years ago.
>-Mark Lee, Seattle z8
Mark's reply to my question about plum/apricot hybrids in a maritime
climate reminded me of my 35 year old almond which has bright pink
flowers which look as though they are starting to grow almonds, but
have never done so. Well, not quite true - I think I remember there
were three almonds once about 25 years ago.
It is a nice looking tree, with shiny narrow green leaves (9 cm long,
and 3 cm at the widest part - 3.5 inches by 1.2 inches). Very big,
even though I have removed large branches occasionally. I just walked
out on an upstairs balcony to pick one of the leaves to measure. It
is above the roof of my two storey house, and equally wide as high.
Back in the 80s, there was an article in Pomona about Hall's Hardy
Almond, with the suggestion that people should grow its nuts to
develop some better varieties. I wonder if anyone did that. I also
wonder if my tree is a Hall's.
The article said it was self-fertile.
Any ideas as to why my tree doesn't produce nuts?
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