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How Do Pistachios Grow?

Updated February 21, 2017

Pistachios grow on deciduous trees just like most other nuts. The trees grow slowly and are short and wide. Because they grow slowly, pistachio trees do not produce nuts until they are at least 8 years old, and they do not produce a lot of nuts until they are 15 years old.

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Although pistachio trees can grow from seeds, they are usually grafted because the seeds are difficult to germinate. The grafts are carefully cultivated in greenhouses until they are big enough to be planted.

Grafting

Pistachios grow on deciduous trees just like most other nuts. The trees grow slowly and are short and wide. Because they grow slowly, pistachio trees do not produce nuts until they are at least 8 years old, and they do not produce a lot of nuts until they are 15 years old.

Although pistachio trees can grow from seeds, they are usually grafted because the seeds are difficult to germinate. The grafts are carefully cultivated in greenhouses until they are big enough to be planted.

Pollination

Pistachio trees have either male or female flowers but not both. This means they must be pollinated by the wind or insects unless a male branch is grafted onto a female tree; however, it is easier to simply plant a grove that contains both male and female trees.

The cycle of the pistachio nut is as follows: In late spring, the tree begins to develop leaves. In early summer, the tree begins to bloom. The blooms are clustered. If pollination occurs, a single fruit will develop from each bloom. The fruit is covered with a husk. Inside the husk is one seed, which is the pistachio nut. The nut is covered by a greenish white shell, which turns brownish red as it ripens.

Harvest

As summer progresses to fall, the pistachios inside of the husks will start to split. You can sometimes hear the sound of them splitting. When they split, it means that the pistachios are ripe. Ripe pistachios have a green colour. Soon, the husk will become loose. In fall, the trees are shaken, and the loose husks come tumbling down, allowing the farmers to harvest the pistachios.

As fall progresses to winter, the tree loses its leaves as most deciduous trees do.

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