Anyone have a Halls hardy almond?

marlingardenerJune 7, 2007

We are starting a small home orchard here in Central Texas. We have a fertile site with good drainage and full sun. We would like to add two Halls hardy almonds to our apple, pear and apricot trees. Does anyone have any experience with Halls? We sure would appreciate any comments on its hardiness, requirements, bearing ability and your general satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the tree. Please share any information you have.

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river22(Z6 OK)

I have several Hall's Hardy Almond trees. My experience has been good with them. I live in Nortwest Oklahoma and two of them were planted in good ground and got regular watering and 5 I planted at the farm where they received only rain water and the soil is sandy. They all survived and put off almonds, by the way which are very tasty! They cross with peach or apricot and I believe cherry trees. In the spring it looks like a hugh pink cotton ball.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 10:24PM
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Thank you River 22! The catalogs and web sites always make every plant sound absolutely wonderful, so it is valuable to hear from someone with actual experience with the plant. It sounds like we'll be putting in two Halls, and hope they do as well as yours.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 9:54AM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Note that this cultivar is a hybrid almond tree (Prunus X persicoides), and not a pure almond tree (P. dulcis).

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 5:44PM
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Thank you, bboy for your response. We are aware that the Halls is a hybrid--crossed with a peach as we understand. Since peaches are the fruit of choice around here we hope that the Halls will do well.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 8:25PM
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I had a Hall's Hardy here for about 12 years, and my take on it is quite different from River 22. It is a vigorous growing and quite beautiful tree, especially during the ten-day blossom period when it has the same blossoms as a nectarine or the large-blossom type peach. Because of its hybrid vigor, it will grow faster and become larger than the average peach tree.

However, it is not as easy to pollinate as a peach, and when the fruits form they are even more attractive to the plum curculio and oriental fruit moth than peaches because of their smooth skin. Fruits that are visited by these insects will fall off before maturity. If you have these insects around, you will have to spray or do something.

My tree became quite large (before I took it out), and I was able to get a few fruits to maturity. But then you have succulent fruit with a seed and a small almond inside, and have to dry or process it to even get the seed out. Then you have to crack it to get at the small "almond" seed inside, and the shells are harder than normal almonds. I did not think the almonds could compare with a regular California-grown almond in flavor, and they certainly don't in size. There was just too much effort involved to get a little handful of almonds from the tree.

If you want to grow these trees as landscape specimens, I think that is fine, but as almond producers they are a bust. I would rather grow a real peach, with fruit I can pick and eat off the tree. When I want almonds, I just spend the three bucks and get a can at the drugstore.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 10:25PM
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Thank you for your candid comments about the Halls. Since we have the room, we probably are going to plant two--even if they turn out to be just landscape specimens. The curlicue and fruit moth you mentioned are not a problem here (probably our heat discourages them.) We appreciate the different "takes" on the Halls that we have received, and will take all into consideration when planting.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 8:17PM
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A great little tree. I have had one for four years and this year it had a bumper crop, well over 2 pounds of shelled nuts. Not bad from one new tree. The nuts are slightly more bitter than store bought but not that bad. Here in N. Colorado I have not had any significant bug problems ether. I think you will really enjoy yours, I know I am

    Bookmark   September 28, 2007 at 11:02PM
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I agree with the comments posted above -- I planted two of them about 20 years ago. IMO, they are a great ornamental tree, very attractive, but the shells are too hard, the kernels too small, and are bitter and need to be boiled before being roasted. Not really worth it as a nut -- even the squirrels here won't touch them. But, it is a fantastic ornamental, very beautiful in bloom. As far as getting almonds goes -- I just go to Costco and buy a giant bag of already shelled almonds for $11.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 3:27PM
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Thank you Jimmyd and Denninmi for your advice. We will be putting in two Halls--even if they turn out to be just ornamental, we have the space and will enjoy them. Unfortunately we don't have a Costco, so I hope our almonds turn out to be edible!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 8:14AM
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Read all the replies--- sounds almost as if some people are talking about a different tree! Anyway, our Halls Hardy is prolific, the nuts are hard-shelled (cracking 'em with a hammer is the easiest for me) and very tasty, with true almond flavor. I got it from Raintree, on Mariana rootstock. They say it doesn't need a pollinator. Good luck with yours!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 10:20PM
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Glad to hear you approve of the Halls Hardy. We are going to get two of them in December (that is prime tree planting time here in our part of Texas) and are looking forward to seeing how they do for us. Enjoy your almonds!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2007 at 5:06PM
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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I had one that was getting quite tall and having quite a few nuts. It was the only nut I could actually harvest as the squirrels get all the heartnuts, filberts, and walnuts, but as Jellyman says they are very hard, had to crack them with a vise, and small, but very intense almond flavor rarely found in regular almonds. But this year after blooming it suddenly died. I still have 2 Titans but they are 100 feet apart and I don't know if the sickly peach tree and apricot tree will be able to pollinate them. I should go check them for nuts. I seem to have a lot of bad stone fruit diseases in my yard and have lost a number of trees after 3 years or so. I guess I will stick to apples, pears, pawpaws and mulberries.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2007 at 8:08PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

I harvested almonds for the first time this year. I thought it was a Hall's semi-dwarf. The nuts were covered with a very hard green outer shell, not easy to remove. As I also grow macadamias, I decided to dry the almonds in the sun as I do the macadamias as they need drying to loosen the inner nutmeat away from the shell.

The almonds dried seemingly OK, and I proceeded to dry them. All seemed OK, and I froze them in freezer containers for later use.

Today, I made granola and decided to use those almonds - so toasted them. They became spongy, soft, and I noted there was a hollow line inside. They didn't seem to taste the way store almonds do when toasted.

Perhaps they needed spraying or something, or is this the same problems other have had with this particular tree?


    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 3:17PM
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I think when you froze the almonds that is what really did them in. However, I don't think Hall's is a very high-quality almond to begin with. This cultivar is for people who are determined to grow almonds outside their normal climate zone, or who just want a pretty tree that blooms profusely. You could grow real almonds where you live.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 5:45PM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

Thanks for the reply. I do have another standard almond tree, which hasn't been too productive as yet. Still young, but quite healthy.

This was the first year that the Hall's produced, so that is why I'm a bit unfamiliar with it. As I freeze macadamias all of the time, I just followed that procedure.

The almonds weren't too awful in the granola, however, but the sponginess really surprised me after I toasted them.

The macadamia is a great tree - as you know, evergreen in our part of the country, producing several crops each year, and a beauty when in bloom with long plumes of pink or white blossoms. Anyone living in zone 9/10 should be interested in it. Sure hard to crack tho ---

Thanks -- again.

P.S. I made sure to run a spell-check this time - LOL.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 9:17AM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I'm starting to think seedlings are sometimes being sold as the cultivar, that this might account for variation of fruit characteristics described.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 2:12PM
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