Pistachio (Pistacia vera L., Anacardiaceae or sometimes Pistaciaceae) is a small tree native to some regions of Syria, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Greece, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Pakistan and western Afghanistan that produces an important culinary nut. Pistacia vera often is confused with other species in the genus Pistacia that are also known as pistachio. These species can be distinguished from P. vera by their geographic distributions (in the wild) and their nuts. Their nuts are much smaller, have a strong flavor of turpentine, and have a shell that is not hard.
Pistachio Tree Care
Although pistachio trees are long living, with a large tap root, and can grow to 20-30 feet, seedlings can be grown in containers for the first three to five years and then transplanted into the garden. In the garden or orchard, trees should be planted 20 feet apart.Pollination is through wind dispersal of pollen, which usually takes place in early to mid April. Stormy springs may affect crop set by interfering with pollination. Pruning Pistachio Trees Since these trees are classified as fruit trees, pruning pistachio trees is integral to producing higher quality fruit while controlling growth. For young trees, select the three to five branches you wish to use as scaffold branches or the primary structure of your pistachio in April of the first growth season. Choose those that are equally spaced around the trunk but not across from each other with the lowest branch 24-32 inches above the soil and cut all other branches below this. Remove any upper branches that will shade the tree trunk and pinch those that are not scaffolds to 4-6 inches from the trunk. Then in June, prune the scaffold branches to 2-3 feet in length to promote side branching while leaving the lateral shoots to aid in shading the trunk as it grows. Maintain the open center structure as the tree grows taller by choosing secondary scaffold branches. You may prune two to three times a year with summer pruning occurring in the spring and summer and dormant pruning in the fall.
Weather condition is most important factor in growing pistachio crop. These trees preferred a temperature 36 degree centigrade and winter months cold enough to complete their dormant period 7 degree centigrade. These trees don’t grow well in high elevations due to the cool temperature.
Pistachio trees can be grown in wide range of soil ,however well drained deep sandy loamy soils. These trees are quite drought tolerant but don’t do well in areas very high humidity is possible. Soil test would be helpful, if you are planning special production on large scale. Pistachio trees produce high quality Nuts with high yield where soil pH is kept at range of 7 to 7.8. These trees are Hardy ones which can tolerate higher alkalinity to certain extent.
When it comes to preparing the land in this pistachio cultivation, the process should be similar to other nuts crops. Soil should be chiseled and disked to obtain the soil fine tilt stage. If any hardpan is found in the top 6 to 7 feet of soil, it should be broken as pistachio trees are deep rooted in nature and these trees are affected by water stagnation.
Pistachio trees are usually propagated by budding on to a suitable pistachio root stock. These rootstock can be raised in nurseries. Usually, budding is carried out in fall with and the trees are being planted the same year or the following year depending on the size of the rootstock.