Growing Almonds – Crop Nutrition 101

What you need to know about almond fertilization, best practices, and more

Crop Nutrition Information for Growing Almond (Prunus dulcis):

  • Almonds are grown in soils with pH levels from 6.7 to 8.4.

  • To optimize nut yield we need to maximize healthy populations of productive spurs each year.

  • Adequate nutrition, moderate temperatures, limited wind and precipitation during bloom influence pollinators and nut set. Flowering/early fruit set and mid-summer bud formation are critical periods for tree productivity.

  • Abiotic stresses like deficit or excess precipitation, high or low temperatures influence yield.

  • Excess boron, chloride or sodium negatively affect the health of the almond trees over time. - Well or surface irrigation water with over 0.5 ppm boron is considered toxic.

  • Utilize the fruit/hulls for analysis rather than leaves as a good indicator of boron (UC Davis).

Key Nutrients: 

  • Nitrogen and potassium adequate levels are critical for high-yielding almonds 
  • Zinc and boron are needed the most at bloom. (Univ. of CA Franz Niederholzer et al. May 2022).

Nutrient Requirements:  

Nutrient balance is key to quality yields.  

This is the Estimated Almond Nut Nutrient Removal plus 20% for root, shoot, tree growth, losses etc. for 2500 lbs./acre kernel yield:  

N lbs./acre = 210-275 P2O5 lbs./acre = 50-70  

K2O lbs./acre = 225-300  

S lbs./acre = 8-11  

Mg lbs./acre = 10-15 Ca lbs./acre = 10-22  

Almonds export around 80 lbs. K per 1000 lbs. of harvested product. With yields from 2500-4500 lbs. acre per year, K offtake in harvested product can range from 200-360 lbs. K/acre/year (Dr. Patrick Brown, UC Davis).  

Apply N from March to June with some early, peak uptake in April/May and slowing down by June.  

Nutrient removal of 90-100 lbs. K2O and 23 lbs. P2O5 per 1000 lbs. of kernel crop.  

Post-harvest foliar applications of zinc and boron for loading buds prior to dormancy.  

Post-harvest K and other nutrients (based on tissue and soil analysis) to set the trees up for yield the following year. 

Role of Nutrients:

Key quality and yield parameters can be affected by different nutrients. See how they can influence your harvest. 

+ = improving 

– = decreasing 

+/- = different results, depending on the rate of nutrient applied 

Yield and Quality positively influenced at the right rates: N++, P+, K+++, Mg+, Ca++, S+ 

Almonds Harvest


  • Calcium is important in developing roots and shoots, nut fill and will also help reduce storage losses. 

  • Granular Polysulphate in the spring or Standard Polysulphate in the fall Agrolution pHlow 15-6-27+3.3Ca fertigation applications

  • A multi-faceted crop nutrition program can help improve quality and yield. Split applications can improve nutrient use efficiency (NUE); incorporating both dry fertilizer and through drip irrigation as fertigation as part of a complete fertility program. Controlled release fertilizer to match crop demand to nutrient release create a well-rounded strategy.

  • Balanced nutrients are integral to every crop, but nitrogen and potassium are critical for high-yielding almonds. For almonds, this is especially critical early in the season when demand is high

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