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Are my almond trees dead?

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I planted 4 almond trees almost 2 months back. These were the navelets jobs, no leaves, just a bunch of twigs and a 4ft stem in a plastic bag.

Well, I planted them after about a week. Maybe I waited too long, but they were in their sealed root bags the whole time. Planted em in 50/50 compost/local soil, wet em down. Now, 2 months later, nothing. 2 of them have turned from mostly redish to greenish/redish bark, but still no leaves anywhere.

time to give up?

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  1. Take a sharp knife and cut an angled cut along a twig. See if there is any green just below the bark and if the wood is still fairly pliable. If either is true, there is hope.

    3 Replies
    1. re: EdwardAdams

      ok, I'll try that when I get home, thanks!

      1. re: EdwardAdams

        Yep. This is the answer. You can scrape past the bark. See green? You have hope. Stake them and do not over fertilize or futz with them too much. You are not going to see any almonds until it is like 3 or 4 years old (most likely).

        1. re: Sal Vanilla

          I had a nurseryman tell me that too much fertilizer makes them grow faster not better. I use something only twice a summer. I was also recently told to never stake more than 18" from the ground. Trees need to sway back and forth to build bigger and stronger trunks.

      2. Not familiar with "navelets jobs" but sounds like "bareroot." Did you only water them that one time? If so, they could very well be dead. I tend to obsess over the hole digging aspect. Once the hole is beg enough and good gardening book will tell you what you need to do for an individual type, I use my cultivator to loosen up the sides and bottom of the hole. I then fill the hole with water and let it drain completely out. Depending on the soil I'm dealing with, I may do that step several times. I then put in a pellet fertilizer that's roughly 15//15/15. Then I fill in the hole (again the gardening book will tell you how deep or shallow) using the original soil and whatever amendments I'm using. With the soil, I build a circular dam out from the tree - the size will depend on the tree but but certainly not any smaller than 12" in diameter. That creates a water basin. I will then fill the basin and let it drain completely, repeating that two or three times. Depending on your weather (temp and rainfall) will determine how often you water after that. But if it's been dry where you are and they haven't received supplementala water in two months, I'm betting they're dead. Hope this isn't the case. Good luck.

        2 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          No, I've been watering them, and I hope not too much. According to my western gardening book I think about 1-2 times a week is enough. I sure did not do all those other things you mentioned, wow! My problem with watering/draining is... clay. Oh so much clay, I suspect it would take a week to drain and I tried to compensate by putting them in on top of compost/clay as well as around em. I've read about dry-wells and may have to go that route, but since there are almond trees growing like mad everywhere around here I was hoping it was not necessary.

          1. re: Botch

            I have no experience with fruit trees but new trees need lots more water than established ones. The basin concept can also be achieved by putting a hose that's barely dripping at the base of the tree. With most plants you want the roots to go deep and they'll do that if you water infrequently but really well. It's also difficult with really hard soil because those roots have to be "tempted" out of the soft soil in he harder stuff but it sounds like you did a good job there. You could also take a cutting to your nursery. And there's also the factor thata perhaps you got bad trees to begin with. The nurseries I deal with will replace bareroot trees but they've asked me to wait a full year to see what they do the second year. The advice you got above is good.

        2. It's been a year so I hope you get this response...how are your trees doing? Did they make it? I'm having the same problem with an almond tree I purchased. It was supposed to start growing by now but there seems to be no life in it except for the fact that it is still green inside. I purchased this as a stick/bare root and am wondering if the timing requires me to wait a full year before leaf growth.

          1 Reply
          1. re: millinj

            No, your tree should leaf out the first year if it was not damaged during harvest, if it was stored carefully before shipping and if it was handeled correctly at the nursery, and by you at thome before planting. If it is still green but remains dormant, be careful about overwatering it if you have a poorly draining soil.

            Fruit and nut trees are considerable investments in time and money. Choose your bareroot trees, shrubs, and small vines (berries and grapes) from a competant nursery which either stores them heeled into soil or which pre-pots them into pulp containers. Don't buy something "bareroot" that's being sold in a plastic bag if there is any alternative.

            I can highly recommend Bay Laurel Nursery www.baylaurelnursery.com/

            which sells and ships a wide variety of bareroot product nationwide from it's Central California Coast location. They deal with the best growers and have years of experience. They can help with soil and climate questions (there are multiple root stock choices to deal with different soil types). Their 2011 on line and print catalogs will be coming out in early fall. Order early to reserve your favorties, don't wait till bareroot season; they may be sold out by then.