Information on the Dwarf Flowering Almond

Overview

The dwarf flowering almond or Prunus glandulosa is used in shrub borders and as a specimen planting. It is susceptible to several diseases and pest infestations. This susceptibility reduces its life span to less than 10 years. The most serious pest infestation of the dwarf flowering almond is borers, and the most serious disease is verticillium wilt.

Plant Characteristics

This multistemmed deciduous shrub requires a site with full sun or partial shade. It tolerates most soil conditions as long as the soil is well-drained (drought tolerant). A mature dwarf flowering almond will reach a height of 4 to 5 feet and a spread of 3 to 4 feet. Its growth rate is medium, and its shape is oval. The Alba cultivar has single white springtime blossoms, while the Rosea Plena has double pink flowers. This shrub is hardy in USDA zones four to seven.

Shrub Maintenance

The dwarf flowering almond is a low maintenance shrub. It requires minimal pruning, though reasons for pruning include removing dead, diseased or damaged branches, any sucker growth and to promote new growth. Annual pruning is done in the springtime after the dwarf flowering almond has blossomed as this promotes new growth. This new growth will produce additional stems, and you will have more flowering the next year.

Pests and Disease

Pests that can infest the dwarf flowering almond are: cankers, borers, Japanese beetles, aphids, scale, leafhoppers, spider mites, caterpillars and tent caterpillars. It is also susceptible to many diseases: verticillium wilt, fireblight, leaf spot, die back, leaf curl, powdery mildew, root rot and honey fungus. Verticillium wilt is a serious fungal disease that can kill the dwarf flowering almond.

Borers

Borers attack a tree that is unhealthy or under stress. Symptoms of the presence of borers are sawdust-like waste material or excrement near a borer's exit hole in the tree or on the soil, as well as sap at the wound on the tree. Borer holes are round, oval, or shaped like the letter "D." Borers can kill an entire tree or a single branch. Dwarf almond trees should be kept stress free and healthy to avoid an infestation of borers. Be sure to follow a program of fertilization and regular watering; you may also have a professional apply a preventive insecticide.

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium wilt is caused by the fungus Verticillium dahliae. This fungus is able to survive in the soil and in the roots of the infected tree. Verticillium wilt is spread in several ways: water irrigation or rain, tilling of the infected soil and by using infected pruning tools. A symptom of this fungal disease is yellowing, wilting and sticking of the leaves to the branch or branches during the growing season. The disease spreads to other branches and can kill an entire tree. There is no known method of control for this disease. The best defense is to maintain a stress-free, healthy tree.

Keywords: dwarf flowering almond, shrub low maintenance, short life disease

About this Author

Paula M. Ezop’s inspirational column "Following the Spiritual Soul" appeared in "Oconee Today," a Scripps Howard publication. She has published her first book, "SPIRITUALITY for Mommies," and her children's chapter book, "The Adventures of Penelope Star," will be published by Wiggles Press. Ezop has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University and has been writing for 10 years.