Nut trees other than mac nuts

hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)December 24, 2005

Aloha Garden Folks,

Has anyone had any luck with any nut trees other than mac nuts? What sort of "low chill" nut trees would work here? It would be nice to be able to grow some pecans or walnuts if possible. Almonds, maybe? Hazelnuts?

A hui hou,


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johndp8888(Oahu, Hawaii)

Cashews grow very well here in lower elevations. My son has a couple of trees at about 500 feet elevation in Puna.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2005 at 11:00AM
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I was going to suggest cashews too. We have a tree that produces fairly well (in Waimanalo). Unfortunately getting them open is problematic, as it seems to involve roasting them and dealing with caustic oils shooting out, and irritating smoke. But mac nuts aren't easy either, so if you had some equipment that would open them, it would probably work on cashews too, and you could avoid all that.

I think pistachios may another that can be grown here, but I'm not sure. There's Malabar Chestnut, but I don't know what that tastes like. Brazil nuts have kind of a complicated relationship with their pollinators as I recall, and may not produce anywhere outside the Amazon.

I think the ones you mention would be marginal at best. Better in California. But hey-- they can't grow coconuts! ;-)

    Bookmark   December 24, 2005 at 2:05PM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

Aloha John & Lisa,

Thanks for the ideas. Cashews are tasty, but from what I've heard, there is one nut per fruit and it is, as you mentioned, rather a process to get them ready to eat. I already have enough work with the coffee beans, cashews might be a bit much.

I had looked into Brazil nuts, but they need some sort of large pollinator. We do have those large black bees, maybe they would pollinate brazil nuts? Since I still have some Brazil nuts left from my Christmas stocking, maybe I'll push one or two in the dirt and see if they sprout. Maybe I'll just try one of each variety in the bag of mixed nuts, but that is a rather a shot in the dark as to if they will actually grow and produce nuts. The brazil nut tree is supposed to be huge, too, maybe it will have nice lumber.

I use a bench vise to open mac nuts with. It works pretty well. Just a medium sized one that I sit on the table, it isn't bolted down like the big one on the work bench. I've heard mac nuts can be put in the microwave for a couple minutes and then they will crack open easier.

A hui hou,

    Bookmark   December 27, 2005 at 4:00AM
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sandpounder(10 HI)

Pistachios definitly will produce......mature in 5-8 years. Give 1-2 bushels of nuts, grow to 30 feet high & are drought resisitant. The nuts grow in clusters, so not labor intensive.......


    Bookmark   December 27, 2005 at 6:33AM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

Aloha Sandpounder,

Pistachios sound interesting. I hadn't really thought about them. I don't think I've ever seen a "raw" pistachio, they always seem to be roasted and in those sort of thin shells. Is that all there is to them? Do they need to have a husk or something removed? Do they need to be roasted? Mac nuts taste much better for a little roasting, although they can be eaten raw. I suppose it would be okay to have another nut to roast if that was all the preparation that is necessary.

A hui hou,

    Bookmark   December 28, 2005 at 1:17AM
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It's not a tree but if nuts are what you are really after peanuts should grow quite easily in Hawaii.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2005 at 2:06AM
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Cathy- I looked around and came up with a bit more info on Brazil nuts. Long story short: don't get your hopes up. It is as I suspected, giant slow-growing tree needing a very specific pollinator and having complicated interactions with other species in its habitat. Rarely produces outside the Amazon. Also another hard one to crack open. See the link for more.

I doubt that any nuts you have would still be viable, even if they're raw and unsalted. You could try it, but you're probably better off eating them. ;-)

As far as cashews only having one nut per fruit, that's true, but it's also true of most of the others you mention. I'll have to try the vise on our nuts, and see if they could be opened that way. They've just been sitting there because it seemed like too much humbug to open them. I don't want to mess with toxic smoke and spitting juices, but I was thinking about maybe putting them in a bag and running over them with the car, LOL. BTW, you can eat the fruit part (actually a swollen petiole) too. I posted some pics of ours on the Tropicals forum several months ago, and there was some discussion about it. You might want to check it out before you give up un the idea altogether. I'd be happy to send you some seeds. Even though they're hard to crack, they germinate easily.


Here is a link that might be useful: Brazil Nuts

    Bookmark   December 28, 2005 at 2:58PM
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sandpounder(10 HI)

Aloha Cathy,

The pistachio is grown in clusters. Although referred to as a nut, the fruit (what we call the "kernel") of the pistachio is actually a drupe whose edible portion is the seed. This buttery, sweet, and delicate flavored kernel is naturally green and is covered with a fine, thin, pale brown skin that need not be removed before eating. It's semi-opened shell is a feature unique to the pistachio and this characteristic the Chinese call it the "happy nut." In fact, this unusual shell negates the need for the nut to be shelled before it is roasted and salted. As the pistachio kernel grows, it naturally expands within the shell until it splits open. Non-split shells usually contain immature kernels and should be thrown away.

The natural color of the pistachio shell ranges from pale beige, yellow, tan, to various shades of green.

Try them, you'll like them!


    Bookmark   January 1, 2006 at 5:41AM
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there is a jumbo variety of chestnut , pecans ,almonds the "coco de mere" ,cola nuts, American chestnuts,
check Kent Wheally's book "fruits nuts and berries inventory "
what can we import from the Mauritus islands ? the Seychelles ?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2006 at 5:24PM
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How about nutmeg , coconuts , filberts, Thomas black walnut
beetlenut, the almond X peach hybrid,palmnuts .Check the exotic nuts .check for a complete list of the worlds nuts . there is a mint flavored one from South America that I do not know the name of . You are supposed to be able to grow all the crops in the world in Hawaii . So choose wizely and good luck .

    Bookmark   January 5, 2006 at 4:23PM
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There is a GIANT walnut known as the Carmello that You might want to grow . Are the Macadamia nuts the most expensive nuts in the world ? If not what nuts are ?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2006 at 12:09PM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

Aloha Sandpounder, Lisa, Ilima and Farmfreedom,

It is beginning to sound like pistachios might be the next nut tree I'll try in the back yard. The health food store sells them "raw" so I'll get a few and plant them and see if they sprout. Hmm, anybody know if they are a hybrid and if they self-pollinate?

Thanks for the peanut idea, Ilima. When I finally get the official garden (it still needs a fence to keep out chickens and a hose bibb installed for watering) put together, then I will have a space for peanuts. Until then, maybe they could grow in the flower bed by the house? Do they take up a lot of room?

Farmfreedom, those are some good ideas, however not all of them would work in Hawaii. We have difficulties getting things such as chestnuts, walnuts and filberts cold enough in the winter. Actually, there are a LOT of mainland plants and trees we don't have enough "chill hours" for. We can't get them cold enough for them to flower and set fruit. Most apples, peaches, pears and cherries can't be grown here. There are about three varieties of apple and peaches which can be grown, but we have to be really selective and get a "low chill" cultivar or they don't get enough chill hours. Peonies and lilacs are two more which don't survive, although I've ordered a "low chill" lilac which I hope will live and produce flowers.

The Big Island of Hawaii has most of the climates available on the planet, but they are only in small spots on the island and no one spot has all the climates. I'm down near the ocean in an area with dirt and rain so it is a better growing area than most. However, I don't have the winter time cold and we do have some ferocious snails, insects, fungus and molds to deal with as well as the occasional nematode and those pesky chickens, too.

A hui hou,

    Bookmark   January 9, 2006 at 2:13PM
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raygrogan(Iowa and Hawaii)

Interesting idea about pistachios. Where do you (sandpounder) grow yours successfully? Variety? I did a quick search, found a company that sells both trees ($30)and budwood (cheap) that you could use to graft their variety to seedlings.

But - they imply we don't have the climate - not enough chill in winter and too wet in summer:

'What climate is required to grow pistachios?
Pistachios are a native plant to desert environments. The tree has the narrowest parameter for temperature requirements of any commercial tree crop. The desert must have chilling in the winter (1,000 hours below 45° F) but the ground cannot freeze. The tree will grow in humid climates, but the humidity interferes with the development of the nut itself. Long, hot, dry summers give the best nut development.'

I don't doubt we'd do fine anyway, with maybe some good years mixed with not-so-good years. Heck, my mango only is booming one out of 5 years and I love it anyway.

More info on how yours do would be appreciated.


Here is a link that might be useful: Eagle Ranch

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 2:36PM
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raygrogan(Iowa and Hawaii)

Just wanted to say that raw mac nuts are mighty tasty. The trick is cracking without banging your fingers. A simple way is to just drill a hole in a piece of wood and use it to hold the nut.

Here is a link that might be useful: picture of a way to crack mac nuts

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 12:21AM
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cola nuts, chestnuts, peanuts, coco de mere nuts , coco nuts,Brazil nuts ,hazel nuts , filberts , pecans, almonds,hicans hickory nuts, pine nuts,carmelos walnuts .

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 11:11AM
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I would reccomend trying pecans. Most have very low, if any, chill requirements. A word of caution; they grow very easily from nuts so they could escape captivity.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 11:38AM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

Well, I put an assortment of nuts into a big planter at Christmastime and so far the only one which has sprouted is the ginko. Those aren't really edible, I don't think, but the leaves are supposed to make a beneficial tea, I think. A citrus sprouted, but I forget what seed it was that was planted there.

From your post, Ray, I guess pistachios aren't the right choice. We are anything except a desert climate here! I keep trying lavender and it lasts for a bit then dies off. Folks have said it is too wet for it, so it will probably be too wet for pistachios, too.

Hmm, there may be a pecan out there somewhere which can grow with higher rainfall and no winter chill?

The peach tree, "Florida Prince" is doing real well and is manking many peaches this year. Smallish peaches, but very tasty! It now has a companion peach, "Eva's Pride" to go along with it. There is also a Decanso Hybrid lilac which is supposed to be a low chill lilac which was ordered with the peach tree. It seems a bit delicate, but we will see how it goes. So everything other than the "nut tree other than a mac nut" seems to be going along.

A hui hou,

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 1:44AM
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hitexplanter(8 a)

If you haven't got Malabar Chestnut going yet look around Hilo see if you can find it at a farmer's market. Very edible and fairly easy to grow, taste is not quite cashew not quite peanut. I have seen it produce nut in under 5 years, good for nut trees. Can be grown and produced from seed in that time no need to graft. I am in Texas now but lived in Kona for 10 years and had a partner in a fruit tree nursery in Kona that provided 1000's of grafted avocado and 100s of other tropical fruit trees for the island from 1987-1995. Aloha from Texas
Kawika (David)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 11:06PM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

Aloha Kawika,

I'll look for a Malabar Chestnut, but I don't think I've ever seen one.

Hey, if you want to get back into fruit trees, Plant It Hawaii is listed for sale in the MLS listings:

Then you could graft up a couple of Malabar Chestnuts so I'd be able to find one! See, it all works out for everyone!

Heheheh! ;)

A hui hou,

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant It Hawaii MLS Realty listing

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 10:37PM
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Probably Indian Almond, Terminalia catappa, quite unrelated to Prunus dulcis. They grow naturally on tropical seashores all around the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and they are also widely planted. I read this some where. Look into it. God Bless...

    Bookmark   January 14, 2008 at 10:31PM
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hotzcatz(Hamakua, Hawaii)

There was a low chill almond available through Bay Laurel Nursery in California. They ship to Hawaii so some neighbors and I got an order together. They have a minimum shipping charge of $30 (to Hawaii)but we ordered enough plants it wasn't too bad on a per plant basis.

So there will be an almond tree and an apple tree to plant as well as some thornless blackberries and grapes. I'm constructing a rock planter to keep the blackberries in, since I've heard they may try to escape and take over the yard if given a chance.

There is now a vegetable garden, tilled, planted, fenced and has a hose to it with green beans and lettuce being produced. Soon as the soil dries out a bit, another vegetable garden will be tilled up and the almond tree will be planted at one end of it. That way the new nut tree will get extra care and attention since the vegetables get extra water and fertilizer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bay Laurel Nursery - low chill fruit trees

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 2:17PM
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