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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hull split and the countdown to almond harvest

Almond harvest is on the way. As almond farmers say, we are in the beginning of hull split and the count down to harvest has begun! When almonds are maturing and about four weeks away from harvest, the hull begins to pull apart from the shell. The hull is the fuzzy, green outer layer of the almond. The hull is similar to peach flesh, which is their biological cousin.  Did you know that almonds are closer related to a peach than any other nut?

The hull splits to allow the almond to separate from the tree and prepare the seed or almond to fall. Similar to when a peach is overripe it falls from the tree. The seed or almond is protected by the almond shell, the harder woody inner layer.

The opening the hull creates, allows for worms and other insects to harm the almond. With the hull splitting, the shell is now the protection layer from any insects trying to eat the almonds. To help the shell guard the almond, farmers spray a protective insecticide to block the insects from eating the almond.
Due to the California drought this year and poor mummy removal, there is any increase in insect habitats giving these almond eaters a home in our trees. In these older orchards that were more susceptible for mummies, we will have to spray the insecticide twice to ensure our almonds are better protected.
Stay tuned, our almonds will be shaking soon!

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl 

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