Almonds Solidify as Temperatures Rise
The month of May will bring growers out in the orchard to take care of weed control, fertilization and pest management. Irrigation is also a big activity in May due to the normal increase of temperatures.
Growers along the west side of the Sacramento Valley served by the Tehama-Colusa Canal have had their water allocations increased to 100 percent of contracted amounts. However, those south of the Delta served by the federal Central Valley Project will receive only 40 percent of their contracted amounts. While growers on the east side of the San Joaquin who receive their water from local irrigation districts are also operating under restrictions, irrigation supplies in these areas are generally more plentiful.
Throughout the Valley, some growers are commenting that they are experiencing what they believe to be an excess amount of nuts shedding from their trees. Speculation is that cold temperatures experienced during Easter week may have caused some degree of frost damage.
Some degree of shedding is natural, though. After bloom, the almonds experience a rapid growth period in which the potential size of the fruit is established. Fruit size is dependent on a variety of environmental and agronomic factors as well as the number of fruit on each spur — the more fruit on a spur, the smaller the average size of the nut. Some fruit may fall from the tree through a natural thinning process, in which the trees drops nuts that they are unable to support to harvest.