How to Select the Right Rootstock & Almond Varieties for Your Orchard

-What You Should Consider When Starting an Almond Orchard-

Interview with Conrad de la Torre from The Nursery Co.

We interviewed Conrad de la Torre from The Nursery Co., in Chowchilla, California to see what he had to say about picking rootstock and varieties and how these important steps can determine the long-term outcome of your almond orchard.

When you’re acquiring a piece of land to plant almond trees, what do you look for?

First and foremost, you need to understand the soil type. Figure out if it’s heavy or sandy, if it has a high PH, high alkaline, high water table, etc. You need to understand the basics of soils so you can better determine if you’re making the right decisions. You also need to educate yourself on the water source and water quality. If it’s salty high sodium, or not. Also, try to do some research on the history of the land and figure out what was planted beforehand. Once you have a better understanding of the history, you’ll be able to better determine the best overall Rootstock and Almond variety selection for your next orchard.

How does someone go about selecting a rootstock?

If your ground is high in alkaline and salt, then you want to use a peach almond hybrid, these include: Hansen 536, Titan Viking or Atlas. The reason you would want to use these rootstocks is because they are more resistant to those types of soil conditions. Remember there is an advantage and disadvantage to all rootstocks. For example, some hybrids, like peach hybrids, don’t tolerate extremely wet conditions and the same goes for other hybrids who might not tolerate extremely sandy soils due to the high susceptibility to certain types of nematodes.

Does rootstock selection vary based on your location? For example, what is the different between Northern California growers and Southern?

It varies a lot from North of Sacramento. Farmers get a lot more rain up North than the growers from the Southern part of The Central Valley, so you have to select rootstocks that are more tolerant to wet conditions. If you farm anywhere from Stockton south the conditions tend to vary from sandy to heavy soils. Depending on location of land and selecting the right rootstock is very important.

Why do you believe the hybrid is the future rootstock?

Hybrid is probably the most ideal for a couple of reasons:

1. They are better anchored