Hall's Hardy Almond -- worthwhile or worthless as an edible?

denninmi(8a)October 23, 2008

Just seeking other opinions (or, perhaps validation for my own opinion). I've had one of these trees for about 20 years, and, while it's a fantastic ornamental in the spring, I find that the nuts are pretty much NOT worth the bother -- much too hard to shell out, kernels are small, and they require boiling/leaching to remove the toxins prior to use.

Just wondering if others agree with this assessment, or is there anyone who uses and enjoys them as a nut crop.

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lkz5ia

I remember I was going to buy one of those, but everything I looked up on the web pretty much came to that same conclusion. So I've bought some true almonds instead and will see if they do anything.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 10:37AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Must be some variation in what has been sold under the name as some specimens in my area have been prolific producers of sweet nuts. Maybe there is a true-to-type form with sweet nuts that has been partly replaced by bitter seedlings in some cases. Descriptions of the original as being bitter may be based on these bitter seedlings. You'd expect with it being half peach that it would be at least somewhat bitter, but on more than one occasion I have eaten raw nuts from trees so-labeled that were fine. At one garden center I worked at a customer brought in a tub full of the nuts for us to try, the tree having been purchased there.

On trees seen here some of the fruits are even partly open at harvest time, the seeds almost coming out the ends.

There is a possibility the cultivar is a renaming of 'Pollardii'.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 12:34PM
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denninmi(8a)

bboy, I don't know if this is a grafted variety or something grown from seed, but I kind of suspect it's the latter, so there could be some variation from tree to tree in terms of quality, flavor, shell thickness, etc.

On my tree, the husks/fleshy part of the fruit opens along the side like a true almond, and the nut falls out cleanly after a while, although it's often sticky with "goo".

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 2:20PM
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jellyman(6/7VA)

Dennis:

I had a Hall's Hardy, purchased from Stark Bros. in 1979, for over 12 years. It was a very vigorous tree, more so than a peach, and without pruning would have soon been over 20 feet. Spring blossoms were beautiful, along the lines of a nectarine or showy peach, but the fruit (or nuts) were a total bust. They suffered all the problems you have described, and, in addition, were nearly 100% attacked by the oriental fruit moth, which seemed to believe they were peaches. I finally took the tree out, jerking out the roots with the pickup and a log chain, and replaced it with a Flemish Beauty pear.

It is possible that in some parts of the country, such as the PNW area occupied by BBoy, the Hall's Hardy is a worthwhile tree, but not here. Other than its decorative value, it's a zero for me. I don't know how this tree, which is a almond/peach cross, could be sold in seedling form, since that would defeat the purpose of the whole exercise. Mine was definitely grafted.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 2:32PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>I don't know how this tree, which is a almond/peach cross, could be sold in seedling form, since that would defeat the purpose of the whole exerciseSimple. Somebody plants the nuts of a grafted tree and puts them on the market as the cultivar. It's not necessarily like an apple tree where it would soon become obvious the stock being offered was not true-to-name, as these tend to vary widely from seed - although even in this case I have seen recent mention here of an old cultivar being raised from seed.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 9:25PM
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denninmi(8a)

Thanks for the replies. Don, I agree with your assessment as well. I keep mine because it is an outstanding spring bloomer, IMO right up there in beauty with Kwanzan cherry and similar trees. And, it really is a rather attractive tree the rest of the summer, with nice glossy foliage, but not worth bothering to pick up the nuts.

I can't resolve the grafted v. seedling debate, but I sort of suspect that some people out there, especially those selling on e-bay, might be selling seedlings from their original, which may have been grafted. I know they can grow, I've had them sprout under the tree some times, but never saved one for replanting. NOT that this really matters -- point is, not worthwhile as a nut tree.

I planted two suppossedly zone 5 hardy paper-shell almonds this spring from One Green World, I'll see if they make the winter for me this year, and if so, how well they do in the future.

Dennis
SE Michigan

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 10:25PM
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gingertom(z5Canada)

Almond plants seem to be very popular grown as ornamentals in many of the large malls around my area. I was recently given an actively growing plant (a cutting) which I would like to grow on as an indoor ornamental (up to six feet). I have a large window facing west (plenty of sun all winter in my area) and I would appreciate any advice about how to care for this little beauty...type of soil, how much water, fertilizers etc. Thanks Tom

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 8:28AM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

If these are being used in mall landscaping probably you are talking about flowering almond shrubs such as Prunus glandulosa or P. tenella. These are not the same as almond trees (P. dulcis) and hybrid almond trees (P. x persicoides, incl. 'Hall's Hardy') planted for nuts.

Whatever yours is it will not be suitable for use as a house plant under ordinary indoor conditions.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 4:28PM
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rcnaylor(z7 Tex)

"and they require boiling/leaching to remove the toxins prior to use."

Really, I have never had one but never knew you had to do that to almonds.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 1:26PM
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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

I read up on Halls and made the decision it wasn't worth the space. I then started looking at Alpricots through Grimo nut in Ontario. But after I decided to get one they stopped offering it and I've not seen it available elsewhere.

I've read that Chinese Apricots are supposedly sweet-pitted (I've also read that frequently suppliers offer seedlings of this as well) so beware of where you get it.

If anyone knows of where to get an alpricot or a definitely sweet-pitted apricot I'd consider adding one (but what do I rip out to replace....:)

~Chills

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 3:39PM
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denninmi(8a)

Chills -- there is one big problem with the so-called "edible" pitted apricots - the shell is SO hard, it's not worth the effort, IMO, it takes to crack them.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2008 at 6:58PM
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