How to Grow Almond Trees in Florida
The almond tree, which grows well in warm areas, is suited to the Florida climate in general. The main issue with starting new almond trees in Florida is the cool temperatures that are best for planting. It helps if the trees are dormant during planting so they don't try to start producing fruit as soon as they are placed in the ground. North Florida does get a bit cooler, but all areas within the state will work as long as you plant at the proper time. Once the trees are established, maintaining them to a healthy maturity takes a few basic things.
Plant new trees during the cool weather of January or February. This will keep the tree from flowering right away and allow it to concentrate on getting established first. Aim to plant when the temperature is just above freezing, at 32 degrees F, to 50 degrees F.
Locate an area that gets full sun and has rich soil to a depth of 2 to 3 feet. Deep rich soil is best for almond trees.
Scoop up some soil, to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, in the area where you want to plant the tree. Place the soil in a zip-top bag or sealable container and send it to your local extension service for testing. Ask them to test the sample for nematodes. If nematodes are found, you will need to find another location for the tree or rid the soil of them.
Dig a wide hole that is larger than the root system. Dig it deep enough that the top of the root system will be a fraction below the surface.
Fill the hole partially with water and wait an hour to see if the level goes down. If so, then the soil is draining well enough to support the healthy growth of the tree.
Place the baby almond tree in the hole and fill in around it with soil. Tamp the soil lightly with your foot to rid the soil of air pockets. Put 2 inches more soil on the surface. It will settle down as the hole settles.
Water the area liberally with water but do not make it soggy. Keep soil damp for the first month of growing.
Treat the area around the tree with a nematicide chemical such as oxamyl or dazomet to remove nematodes if the lab results confirmed their presence. They will attack the root system of almond trees if they aren't removed. Spray or spread the application around the base of the tree and out several yards. The chemicals come in liquid or granular form.
Fertilize with a nitrogen fertilizer when at least 4 inches of new growth has developed. Keep the fertilizer away from the tree base, starting about 1 1/2 feet out from the trunk. Fertilize two or three times during the growing season.
Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.