Pistachio Cultivation Information Guide

By | September 24, 2018

Pistachio Cultivation

This all the information regarding the Pistachio Cultivation. If you are interested in Pistachio Cultivation please read this full article. So let’s start with Pistachio cultivation…


Introduction of Pistachio Cultivation

  • The trunk and branches of pistachio trees have a gray color, and it becomes darker over the years.
  • The root system is strong and can reach a depth of 3 meters and a width of 8 meters.
  • The leaves begin to fall in late autumn.
  • The female trees that produce fruits lose their leaves first.
  • Then, the female trees that did not bear fruits start to lose their leaves.
  • Finally, the male pistachio trees normally lose their leaves after the female trees.
  • The bloom usually takes place during spring in April.
  • In many cases, a great percentage of male flowers bloom far earlier than the female flowers.
  • As a result, a great percentage of pollen can be lost, resulting in a decrease of fruit set and production.
  • Thus, some pistachio farmers collect the pollen from male flowers, they store it suitable conditions and they disperse it in the female trees once they have bloomed. This is called artificial pollination.
  • Contrary to other nuts, pistachios grow in clusters, like grapes.
  • The pistachio tree bears fruit in shoots create the year before by ordinary buds.
  • The tree has a tendency towards Alternate Bearing producing a lot of fruits in one year and not many fruits in the following year.
  • The pistachio tree can normally produce good yields from the 7th year of its age. Its productive life can reach 100 years or more.


Pistachio Cultivation Areas In India

  • In India, High production of pistachio is grown in Jammu and Kashmir.

Nutritive and Medical Value of Pistachio

  • Pistachios are heart friendly nuts.
  • Pistachios are a good source of vitamins and minerals.
  • Low-calorie nuts, hence aid in weight management.
  • Help in reducing the risk of age-related macular disease.
  • It is helpful in decreasing the bad cholesterol level in blood.
  • Also protects from getting diabetes.

Varieties of Pistachio in India

  • Pistachio Cultivation varieties in India grow in Jammu and Kashmir regions are Kerman, Peter, Chiko, Red Allepo and jolly.

Growing Requirement in Pistachio Cultivation

  • In a few words, pistachio Cultivation thrives in areas with a long hot summer and a cold winter, as the tree must experience certain hours of cold that will break the buds dormancy.
  • In general, the tree can tolerate very low air humidity and low soil moisture levels.
  • On the contrary, high humidity levels negatively affect a tree’s development.
  • The pistachio tree thrives best in areas where winters are quite cold in order to “break” the dormancy of the buds and the summers are long, dry and hot with a temperature of 25 to 35 C.
  • So that the fruit can mature.
  • In hot and dry climate pistachio tree performs well.
  • In general, during the dormancy period of trees, low temperatures up to 10 °C do not harm the trees.
  • Pistachio trees can grow well in altitudes up to 670 meters, but in some cases, they are grown even in altitudes up to 1000 meters.
  • Spring frosts during the flowering period generally do not damage the trees, due to late bloom.
  • However, dry winds and cold wet weather during spring affect pollination and may reduce fruit set.
  • Moreover, frequent rainfall and humid conditions during the summer before or during the harvest period can reduce fruit quality.
  • Humid and hot weather during the growing season of trees also favors the development of fungal diseases.
  • Therefore, pistachio trees can be grown commercially in hot and dry areas with cold winters, but preferably where irrigation is available.
  • Cold winters are necessary, as they satisfy the needs in cold of the female and male pistachio tree and ensure timely and regular disruption of their dormancy.
  • Moreover, cold winters promote the roughly simultaneous bloom of female and male pistachio trees and their normal vegetation.
  • Lack of winter cold can create a major pollination problem.
  • After a warm winter, due to incomplete interruption of dormancy, male trees bloom far earlier than the female trees.
  • As a result, a great percentage of pollen is lost, something that results in a decrease of fruit set and an increase of empty nuts.
  • Thus, the needs in cold of an average pistachio tree are satisfied by average winter temperatures of 7 °C but not lower than 1 C.
  • If these temperatures are maintained for a month or so, then we will most possibly have a timely and regular interruption of buds dormancy.
  • Although it can be adapted to a variety of soils, pistachio tree prefers relatively deep, light, dry and sandy loam soils, with high calcium carbonate concentration.
  • It does not tolerate wet, heavy soils and especially not well-drained soils.
  • However, it tolerates slightly acidic, alkaline or soils with salinity.
  • Delicious pistachios are often producing on well drain calcareous and boric soils of medium texture.
  • Calcareous soils often contain more than 15% CaCO3. Before planting the young pistachio trees.
  • Tillage aims at the destruction of perennial weeds and soil fluffing, which is necessary for the development of the root system.
  • Before plowing, pistachio farmers often take soil samples and send them to the laboratory, in order to know exactly the nutrients content.
  • According to the results, a certif. agronomist can specify the type and quantity of chemical fertilizers need.

How Can Pistachio Cultivation?

Propagation in Pistachio Cultivation

  • As it happens in many fruit trees citrus, apple etc. a pistachio tree grown from seed may not bear fruits for the whole of its lifetime for various reasons.
  • Besides, in order to harvest pistachios, we have to plant at the same yard at least one male and one female pistachio tree, so that the pollen can travel through the wind from the male tree to the female tree.
  • But since you want to feel the joy of growing your own tree from seed, let’s get started.
  • The first thing we have to do is search for natural fresh harvest pistachios.
  • This may be more difficult than it sounds; because nearly all newly harvest pistachios is transfer to the processing units in less than 20 hours.
  • Keep in mind that most of Pistachios Cultivation we can find in the market are roast, so these seeds will definitely not sprout.
  • In all cases, we need to find seeds that have not been processing in any way.
  • They must be entreat, unrest, unheated, and unsold seeds.
  • Once we find the natural seeds, we have to select at least 10 of them.
  • All things are done correctly, only 50% of the seeds or less will germinate, and only a fraction of those will make it to a small seedling and young tree.
  • We break carefully the shell and we collect the seeds.
  • Then, we place them on a wet towel and we put the towel in a transparent plastic bag.
  • The key from now on is to place the bag at a room temperature, but next to a window with access to direct sunlight.
  • We have to check once in a week if the towel is wet, and add a small volume of water if need.
  • When done professionally and at a large scale, the plastic bag with seeds is first stored in the fridge for 6 weeks, before returning at a room temperature.
  • However, at small scale, someone can skip this step.


Plantation in Pistachio Cultivation

  • Your germination rate will definitely be smaller than a pro), but 3-4 seeds out of 10 will finally germinate, without waiting for 6 more weeks About 3-5 weeks later, some seeds will have normally sprouted.
  • We plant them in individual small pots containing special soil mix or soil with river sand and compost etc.
  • We have to plant the seeds superficially, at a depth of 3 cm and cover lightly with soil.
  • Then, we place the pots at a room temperature, close to a wide window, so that the seedlings will have again access to plenty of sunlight.
  • The most important thing from now on is to keep the pots moist but not soggy.
  • When the seedlings have reached a height of 15 cm, we can transplant them at a bigger container.
  • The tree thrives in certain climate conditions and types of soil and deviating significantly from these requirements especially the climate will cost you in terms of production.
  • Secondly, pistachios do not produce a good yield until the 7th or 8th year, even with high-quality management from experienced growers.
  • You have to be patient and of course proactive to carry the costs of the first years without expecting remarkable income.
  • To this, you have to add that pistachio tree has an inherent tendency toward Alternate Bearing.
  • This, of course, creates many problems, as the grower in many cases cannot project the yield of his/her orchard and cannot proceed to timely commercial agreements with merchants.
  • Alternate bearing also results in revenues’ fluctuations from year to year and hence deterioration of cash flow projections.
  • Pollination, Irrigation, Fertilization, Pruning, and Pest Control are very important for the quantity and quality of products and represent the majority of costs.
  • Finally, harvesting is a labor-intensive procedure when carried out by hand.
  • In organized pistachio orchards in the US, harvesting is made via big tractors that attach to the trees and shake the branches, so that the fruits can fall inside bins, where the sorting is made.

Fertilizers and Nutrition requirements in Pistachio Cultivation

  • Nitrogen is the major element required for proper shoot growth and good yields.
  • Nitrogen deficiencies often result in excessive defoliation during the productive period and hence a decrease in nut yield.
  • If a nitrogen deficiency is diagnosed, farmers often apply N-P-K 32-0-0 through the irrigation system, with increasing rate each year as the trees mature.
  • Phosphorus and potassium deficiencies have been found to reduce the production and quality of pistachio trees.
  • The minimum level of potassium in the leaves is 0.7 to 0.9%.
  • The minimum leaf level of phosphorus is from 0.09 to 0.1%.
  • Moreover, it has been found that the pistachio trees are infecting by Verticillium dahliae more easily when there is a potassium and phosphorus deficiency.
  • Excellent fertilization of pistachio tree can be managed by adding manure.
  • Many farmers add 10 to 20 tons of manure per hectare every one or two years.
  • When they cannot find manure at a reasonable price, many farmers apply green manure, mainly Vicia faba.
  • In this case, pistachio farmers sow legumes in the autumn.
  • During the next few months, they add phosphorus and potassium to the pistachio farm in order to help legumes grow quickly.
  • They finally plow the plants, incorporating them into the soil just before their flowering in spring –April, May and definitely before letting the legumes compete with pistachio trees in the water.
  • Keep in mind that during the decomposition of organic matter, there is increased nitrogen consumption.
  • However, these are just common patterns that should not be following without making your own research.
  • Every field is different and has different needs.
  • Checking the soil nutrients and pH is vital before applying any fertilization method.
  • As it also happens in nearly all fruit trees, leaf analysis is very important in order to diagnose and correct nutrient deficiencies.
  • Pistachio tree needs at least a dozen elements in order to stay healthy and thrive, but your trees may not need fertilization at all.
  • There are cases in which pistachio growers have not apply any fertilization method for years, and they still consistently harvest good yields.

Water supply/Irrigation in Pistachio Cultivation

  • Although considered tolerant to drought, pistachio tree systematically gives higher yields when water is available, especially during the summer months.
  • In general, water stress promotes the phenomenon of alternate bearing.
  • Pistachio trees have high water requirements especially during the filling of nuts.
  • However, farmers shall not supply very large quantities of water at few sessions in mature trees, because the tree vegetation can grow excessively and this can negatively affect the opening of the fruit.
  • In most cases, farmers provide at least 4-6 irrigation sessions during the productive period in light and well drain soils.
  • However, in organized pistachio orchards drip irrigation is mostly applied.
  • The drip irrigation system must be carefully designed so that it will not incommode harvesting and has to be built before the planting of young trees.
  • From February onwards, they irrigate the trees once a week in order to facilitate dormancy break.
  • They use semi drip systems within 1 meter of each tree.
  • When the trees get older, they normally shift to sprinklers that are located in the equal distance between two trees, so that the root system can be developed in width without restrictions.

Inter-cropping in Pistachio Cultivation

  • Inter-cropping is a way of extra income.
  • Also, the main advantage is intercropping is enrich the soil.

Pear Fruit Farming Study Guide

Pests and Diseases in Pistachio Cultivation

  • Verticillium wilt is a soil-borne fungal disease that enters the pistachio tree through the root system and can finally kill the tree.
  • After some years, it actually blocks the water and nutrients that are supposed to be transferred from the roots to the upper parts of the trees, resulting in the collapse of whole branches.
  • It is created from the pathogen Verticillium dahliae.
  • Verticillium wilt has created a huge economic loss in the pistachio orchards.
  • Unfortunately, the pathogen can live in the soil for many years, without any plant host.
  • As stated in Pistachio Soil Preparation article, the first precaution against Verticillium wilt would be to keep a field fallow for 4 years.
  • If cotton or Solanaceae species cultivated in this field.
  • Alternatively, a farmer can sow a variety of grasses for a couple of years.
  • The second precaution against Verticillium is to select a rootstock that is resistant to this disease.
  • Over-irrigation and the presence of certain weeds favor the rapid spread of the disease.
  • Phytophthora root rot is a soil borne fungal disease.
  • The pathogen initially attacks the roots and makes them weak.
  • This will finally block the water and nutrients that are supposed to be transferred from the root systems to the upper part of the tree.
  • As a result, pistachio trees will suffer from slow growth, defoliation and reduce fruit set and production.
  • The pathogen can live several years in the soil, without depending on a plant host.
  • Heavy and waterlog soils favor the spread of the disease.

Storage/Harvest in Pistachio Cultivation

  • Pistachios split before they are a harvest.
  • Thus, they must not fall to the ground, because they run the risk of contamination from soil microorganisms.
  • The fruits that fall in the ground do not get the harvest and they are left there as compost to the trees.
  • Harvesting of pistachio tree begins late summer in August to mid-September, depending on the variety and the region, and lasts about 15 to 20 days.
  • Contrary to citrus, apples and other fruit trees, all pistachio fruits in a tree do not normally mature at the same time.
  • Consequently, harvesting takes place in 2 or 3 stages.
  • The first hand is usually harvested when 60-70% of the fruits have ripe.
  • Harvesting of pistachio trees is a labor-intensive procedure when made by hand, by shaking the trees with special hand equipment.
  • The fruits fall underneath the canopy of trees, over outstretch sails or collection nets.
  • Then, the fruits are sorted in piles and a rough screening follows in order to remove fallen leaves, broken seeds, and shoots.
  • Immediately after sorting or maximum after 10-12 hours, they are spread out in a cool place, and the nuts should be peeled, otherwise, their quality will be deteriorating.

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