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Pistachio Tree Planting

By Kathryn Hatter ; Updated September 21, 2017

Pistachio trees are one of the oldest known tree varieties and are native to Asia Minor. If you live in USDA zones between 6b and 11, adding both a male and female pistachio tree to your yard will produce pistachio nuts in approximately seven years.

Plant the pistachio tree in full sun. Add 2 to 3 inches of compost to the soil in the planting area to ensure it drains well before planting.

Dig a hole for the pistachio tree with the shovel. Make the hole the same depth as the tree container and slightly wider.

Remove the pistachio tree from its temporary container. Tap the bottom and the sides of the temporary container with the side of the shovel to loosen the soil inside the container. Grasp the base of the tree with your hand and gently dislodge it from the container to pull it out. Examine the roots and if you see roots that are root bound (growing on the edges of the soil in a circular formation) and curling around the edge of the soil, trim them away with the pruning shears. This will help these roots to branch off and form more sturdy roots.

Place the pistachio tree into the prepared hole. Fill the soil back in around the tree carefully with your hands until the soil is even with the surrounding soil. Pat the soil down gently with your hands.

Water the newly planted tree generously immediately after planting to completely saturate the soil. Stop watering when the soil begins to puddle around the tree. Water the pistachio tree during the summer if the weather is dry by providing approximately 1 inch of water per week. Stop watering the tree in the autumn to encourage dormancy.

Fertilize the pistachio tree for the first time the following spring. Fertilize the tree only once every year in the spring. Mix the fertilizer with water according to the package recommendations for the size of your tree. Pour the fertilizer around the base of the tree.

Prune the pistachio tree in the spring if you desire; however, pruning is not mandatory. Trim the pistachio tree to encourage it to grow a central leader trunk (one trunk) that branches off into four to five sturdy limbs. Do this by selecting one large stem to become the central leader and allow this trunk to grow unabated. Then remove the branches you do not want to grow with the pruning shears or the loppers where they connect with the central leader (central trunk), leaving the four or five limbs to grow out from the trunk.

Once you have established this shape, the only annual pruning you will need to do is remove any damaged or rubbing branches. Less pruning is better for pistachio trees because pruning will decrease the pistachio harvest.


Things You Will Need

  • Compost (optional)
  • Shovel
  • Water-soluble fertilizer (10-10-10)
  • Pruning shears
  • Lopper (for pruning)


  • Pistachio trees begin producing pistachios after approximately six or seven years of growth. Full-scale nut production may not occur until up to 20 years after planting.


  • You must grow both a male and female pistachio tree in order to produce pistachio nuts. Make sure you purchase and plant at least one of each gender (check tree labels to identify them at the time of purchase). One male pistachio tree can pollinate approximately eight female pistachio trees.


About the Author


Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.