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Frequently Asked Questions – Trees

We normally sell pistachio trees in February-March of each year. If you will give us your name and address, we will contact you when we have trees to sell. This does not guarantee you the purchase of a tree. Trees will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Trees can be paid for in advance if you would like us to hold the trees for you.
Fill out the request form, and we’ll add you to our list.
No, trees must be picked up at our retail store in Alamogordo, New Mexico.
You need a minimum of 2 trees—1 male (the pollinator) and 1 female (the bearing tree). One male will have enough pollen to cover up to 10 females. California’s growers are now going to 1 pollinator (male tree) per 15 bearing trees (females). If you have the space, we still recommend a 1 to 10 ratio to insure better pollen coverage.
The male tree produces pollen and the female tree produces the pistachios.
The pistachio tree is a native desert plant that needs an arid climate. It must have long, hot, dry summers and chilling in winter (1,000 hours under 45° F) but the ground should not freeze. The Phoenix desert is too warm in the winter for pistachio production, and northern New Mexico is too cold in the winter. Pistachio trees will not tolerate high humidity in the summer, and they are sensitive to spring frosts. The root system will not tolerate prolonged wet conditions. Producing areas in the United States are the San Joaquin Valley in California (Stockton, Fresno, Madera, Visalia, and Bakersfield), a small area around Tucson, Arizona and the southeast corner of Arizona (Douglas and Wilcox), south central New Mexico (Lordsburg, Deming, Las Cruces, Alamogordo, and Carlsbad), and parts of West Texas (El Paso to Pecos).

It is also recommended that pistachio trees not be planted in fields where cotton was previously planted. In these areas, tree mortality is high due to Verticillium wilt disease caused by a soil-borne fungus. However, California has developed a wilt resistant variety called the UCB-1.

No. We only send postcards to customers who request them for that year.
We guarantee that the tree is alive and well at the time of purchase. We have no control on the care of the tree once it leaves our facility.
Rootstock is sold to farmers who plan on budding the trees in the field. For casual use, we recommend you purchase budded trees. Please call 1-800-432-0999 for contract information on ordering rootstock.
It varies year to year, but trees are usually 3 to 4 feet tall.
The pistachio tree is a small tree and will grow to about 30 feet high and up to 25 to 30 feet wide at full maturity, depending on how the tree is pruned.
Budded trees are usually 2 years old. Rootstock trees are 1 year old.
Trees normally come in a 2.5 gallon soft plastic container filled with dirt and peat moss.
Trees normally come in a 2.5 gallon soft plastic container filled with dirt and peat moss.
Trees start producing in the fourth or fifth year (yield is about ½ pound of pistachios). Good production takes eight to ten years. Full maturity is reached around the sixteenth year (yield is up to 20 pounds of pistachios).
The oldest tree we have read about still producing is found in Iran; it is over 700 years old.
It varies year to year, but usually the male trees are Peters on UCB rootstock and the female trees are kerman on UCB rootstock.
Contact the Mexican Department of Agriculture.
Trees should be planted a minimum of 19 feet apart.
Use any type of tree fertilizer and fertilize in the spring through mid-July.
Keep the tree in good moisture content April through mid-September. Water once a week for 12 hours with a slow drip system. Water one more time after harvest. Do not water October or November to aid the tree in going dormant. After the tree is dormant, a monthly watering during the winter months will help the tree be more cold resistant. Resume weekly watering in the spring when the trees begin to bud.
For the first 4 to 5 years, trees should generally be pruned in the summer and during the dormant season. After the basic framework of the tree is established, only light pruning is necessary. The University of California at Davis has excellent videos of pruning pistachio trees. Go to http://fruitsandnuts.ucdavis.edu/pistachiopages/pistachio_pruning_videos/
Budwood is a stick approximately 6-8 inches long with about 5 to 6 useable buds on it. Budwood is usually found on 2-4 year old trees. The trees at Eagle Ranch are too old to provide any quantity of buds. If we have any, the cost is 35 cents per bud.
Buds are collected in February for April use or in July for immediate (for optimum grafting). Male buds are taken from male trees and female buds are taken from female trees. Buds are wrapped in a wet cloth and kept in the refrigerator until use. The fresher the buds, the better chance you have of successfully grafting your tree. The only time to graft buds is when the bark is slipping (you can peel the bark away) and leaves are coming out on the tree. T-budding is the technique used on pistachios.

To graft a bud, make a vertical cut about 1 inch long in the rootstock. Make a horizontal cut through the bark about 1/3 the distance around the rootstock. Give the knife a slight twist to open the two flaps of bark. To cut the bud, starting about ½ inch below the bud, slice under the bud until about 1 inch beyond the bud. About ¾ inch above the bud, a horizontal cut is made through the bark and into the wood, permitting the removal of the bud piece. Insert the bud into the cut on the rootstock and secure the bud to the tree using bud rubbers. Eventually the bud rubbers will dissolve on the tree making it unnecessary to remove the rubber. Bud rubbers can be purchased at a nursery.

If the bud takes, you will get a branch growing on your tree. If it doesn’t take, it will dry up. If the bud doesn’t take, graft the tree again. There are professionals available who will graft trees for you; ask at your local nursery for anyone who is familiar with T-budding.

Should I spray trees with insecticide?

Spray trees with insecticide as needed.

Fill out the request form, and we’ll send you information.

 

The Pistachio Tree
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