I have tried a few different almond cultivars with little success, just not hot long enough here in the mountains of zone8/9. Are there any other nuts trees that would do well and produce relatively quickly?
Filberts for an oily nut, chestnuts for a starchy one. Grafted chestnuts often take only 3 or 4 years to bear and layered filberts are at least as quick.
Some grafted black walnuts are pretty quick but I've never tried walnuts here in the northeast because no one seems to grow them successfully here but they should perform excellently there. You can even grow pecans there, I think.
I suppose someone else will chime in with actual experience in your area which would be more valuable advice. Your county cooperative extension should also have info as you have one of the best land grand universities in the country in your state.
I would second the recommendation for chestnuts. That's the first thing that comes to mind for me. I planted a chestnut 6 years ago that was about the size of two pencils end to end, and I can jump up to the lowest branch now and it will easily support my adult weight. They not only grow quickly with minimal fuss but bear early, too.
Third chestnuts. Surprised that black walnut does not make it in Albany, it is such a dominant tree here in lower Michigan, third only to hickory and oak in the woods (ash used to be top three too, but things have changed).
I'm not in Albany, it is a couple hours, mostly north of me and black walnuts aren't what isn't grown here- it is the Carpathian walnuts that I never see. I don't think cold is the problem though, some kind of worm that would require spray which most don't want to do for nuts.
Surprise is a black walnut that I've harvested here on a very young tree. Took a decade to sample my first northern pecan from a grafted variety and it was a single nut this year.
Hickory trees can start to produce in 10 years, but mature in roughly 40. This is apparently "Fast" for a tree in the hickory family. I would guess hazelnuts are the fastest from what Ive read. 5 years from seeds if I am not mistaken. No knowledge of chestnuts, but I do belive they were quite fast to mature.
I believe pistachio can bear quite young, but i would double check that if I were you .
Most nut trees are wind pollinated (almonds the exception)---so align the trees fairly close (20-60 ft. apart) with the prevailing winds at pollination time for best production.
They usually require a cross pollinator. You will have to carefully select your match up.
They can either be separate sex (like pistachio-a slow grower) or produce male and female flowers that often open at different times (cultivar dependent) to avoid self-fertilization.
I would avoid walnut in California--where it is commonly grown--due to crown gall disease prevalent there and the uncertainty of uninfected trees.
Filbert and Chestnuts are really good suggestions provided the zone 9 you list is 9a. I would consider zone 9b to be possible for fruit production but experimental. You don't really say what part of California you are in (elevation too):
Colossal is a common cultivar but poor pollinator in that it has few male flowers. Dunstan might make a good second IF it cross pollinates. Nevada is used as a pollinator for Colossal but is noted as a poor producer (I suspect because Colossal does not return the favor). If you use Nevada, a centrally located one can likely pollinate up to eight Colossals split evenly on either side (depending upon prevailing winds a the time).
Pecans like the heat, so I guess they are out too.
Here is a link that might be useful: California Chestnut Dreamin'
Macadamia will produce fast and grow fast! It loves zone 9. I think it prefers 9b, but I'm in 9a, and it thrives here! It's the best nut in the world!
Bees love it's beautiful flowers. I have one tree and plan for two more!
Also, no squirrels or birds can crack those shells, so pests are few! The crop is yours!
Dont bother with Black Walnuts unless you dont plan growing anything else in your yard, especially if its on the small side. Their root systems and gasses they excrete are toxic to nearly everything that grows in the ground.
My parents have black walnuts and the squirrels make a giant mess in their yard every year. I have no experience with growing nuts, but I wouldnt ever grow black walnuts, plus I hear they are a *&%*^ to crack. My neighbor has a machine he uses to crack the nuts, he machined it himself.
My parents are in the Albany area.
Grafted Pecans typically take about 3-7 yrs to begin producing nuts. Often 2 trees are needed to insure pollination. They are heat and drought tolerant, but not likely to produce nuts in a dry year. They should do well in Z8-9 depending of course on exactly where you are at. Not sure about elevation limits.
Get an air layer Macadamia. Production year 2-3! Mine produced year one, but yours might not. I have good growing conditions here. But there is no better nut on earth than a Macadamia! Go macadamie!
This post was edited by desertdance on Sat, Oct 19, 13 at 18:17
desertdance, who did you buy the air layer Macadamia from? And what was the variety?
Some apricots have a "sweet pit". Apricots bear fairly quickly (3-4 years). Not recommending sweet pit apricots as a nut, since I've never tried them, just throwing it out as food for thought.
As an aside, anyone know of a nursery which carries shagbark hickory. I'd like to order one.
"As an aside, anyone know of a nursery which carries shagbark hickory. I'd like to order one."
Well Oikos sells them, but they are just seedlings.
So if you can wait 20-30 years.....
Here is a link that might be useful: Shagbark Hickory
I'm planting it mainly for the ornamental value. I always thought the trees looked striking.
Since there so many edible plants/trees that also have ornamental value, I think it's mostly a waste to plant ornamental things which only have ornamental value (i.e. don't produce any food or usable wood). That's kind of my philosophy of permaculture.
I'll probably never taste the nuts but maybe someone will.
The tree is striking no doubt! Gorgeous! Well I used to grow things just for ornamental value. After waiting 30 years for a cactus to flower, and it did. But I felt that was a good waste of 30 years! The flower was fantastic, but still I felt I wanted more. I have always grown edibles too, but mostly on a very small scale. So I extended my edibles by leaps and bounds. Although I still do like ornamentals, unusual ones and have many of them. This year I added the night blooming jasmine. The most fragrant flowering plant in the world. Now my whole house smells like the Caribbean! The scent though is powerful, and some may think it smells like hand soap! It reminds me of my many trips to Jamaica. I love it! I also added a clumping bamboo and it is beautiful. I want to buy a few other cultivars. So cool I can grow it outside here! I really love that! I also added the Arabic jasmine. National flower of the Philippines. And it is an edible. I'm sure you've heard of jasmine rice. The flowers are used to flavor rice, or used as a tea.
I agree though I do try and add edible ornamentals, but for me some exceptions exist.
Olpea, you'll be lucky if it takes a very long time for the shagbark to bare nuts as there is no greater attractant to squirrels than a shag loaded with nuts.
" there is no greater attractant to squirrels than a shag loaded with nuts."
I don't doubt that one bit. Here though, I don't think there could be much more squirrel pressure than already exists.
We get folks from the city who dump all the wildlife they trap out here. I have to trap year round to keep the squirrels at a manageable level.
"This year I added the night blooming jasmine. The most fragrant flowering plant in the world."
It must smell wonderful. I love the smell of fragrant flowers. That's the disadvantage of some fruit trees, the blooms are a fragrance disappointment.
Peach and tart cherry flowers hardly smell at all. Pears blooms plain stink. Of course pawaws stink. Plums and apple flowers smell good but you have to get close to smell them. The good news is the fruit of all smell good (though some you have to cut open). Earlier this year, pawpaws made our whole house smell good. Very fragrant fruit.
".. Are there any other nuts trees that would do well and produce relatively quickly?"
Yes, my proprietary nonpareil almond seedling. It produced almonds at two years old and they ripened late-July. Who knows, it might even be the first ripening early almond.