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Macadamia Tree Grow Guide and Tips

Lately he is giving us to tell you some different crops that we are used to. Given the great variability of climates that we have in Spain, we can, depending on the area, try to plant crops or fruit trees that do not occur locally, such as avocado. Another crop highly appreciated for its fruit: the macadamia nut.

WHAT IS THE MACADAMIA NUT AND WHY IS IT SO APPRECIATED?

Originally from Australia, the macadamia nut is today a highly coveted fruit and considered the gourmet nut of walnuts. It has a delicate flavor, a bit sweet and is widely used in cooking, especially in baking.

The cosmetic sector is also a major demander of this fruit due to its content and quality of the oils. It is also called the Australian walnut , this being the main producer of walnut. However, the cultivation has already spread to many parts of the world , such as South Africa, Israel, South America and some places in the US such as Florida or California.

Spain is not an ideal place for cultivation for commercial purposes, although in some areas we can consider cultivation at a particular level, such as in a farm or garden.

The Canary Islands is obviously a place where there will be no problems in terms of climate due to its mild annual temperatures. However, on the peninsula, in areas free of winter frosts with mild temperatures we can try it.

It is a slow growing species (it may take 5 years for it to bear fruit) but once it enters production, it will bless us with many years of macadamia nuts We tell you a little about the needs of this appreciated tree so that whoever thinks they can try it, do not doubt it.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GROWING MACADAMIA

WEATHER

Originally, macadamia comes from rainy, humid places, usually forests, but with mild temperatures (no or hardly any frosts), however its tolerance to a relatively wide range of conditions has allowed it to establish itself as a crop in regions slightly away from tropics or subtropics.

It is relatively cold tolerant and can withstand mild frosts. However, this tolerance is gained over time since young trees may not even support it. It is the great and first difficulty that will arise depending on where we live.

It is more tolerant to high temperatures, although above 32ºC for too long, it can have undesirable consequences. It is advisable, in hot places with intense summers, to protect the tree with shading nets or to plant it together with other tree species that shade it a little.

I USUALLY

The other factor as important as the climate is the soil. Soil conditions will largely determine the development of the tree. Although they prefer deep and rich soils, they do not adapt poorly to slightly worse and caked soils but without going overboard.

If we can have a good soil, we will eliminate unnecessary risks. Macadamia is an acidophilic species, so this will be a factor to take into account.

Refrain alkaline soils from trying. Future chlorosis and deficiencies are assured in limestone soils. The pH should be between 4.5 and 6.5.

If you have measured the pH of your soil and want to correct it and adapt it to those ranges, take a look at our entry on soil pH correction .

IRRIGATION

We cannot give estimates of irrigation. What we can say is that depending on its origin, this factor must be taken into account.

Average annual rainfall between 1500 and 3000 mm is what it is used to naturally, so irrigation will be necessary if we do not reach at least 1200 mm per year. So in Spain irrigation is needed yes or yes. In any case, being somewhat tolerant of slight water shortages, we can always adjust.

MACADAMIA TREE PLANTING TIPS

Planting can be done by seed . Sowing should be done as soon as the fruit is collected (in autumn) due to the low viability of the seed over time.

There are techniques to file a little bit of the hard shell that surrounds the embryo or to exert slight pressure on it and crack it without damaging the interior. It is a way to speed up the process although we are not able to ensure whether or not it is the best method. There are people who have managed to germinate it by doing this.

It is not the best method anyway. Our recommendation is to find a nursery that has this type of species and buy grafted macadamia . The seedlings have developed in optimal conditions and given the sensitivity of the first stages of life, it can be a good solution.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS OF MACADAMIA

The roots are sensitive and delicate so be very careful when transplanting. The main root must be totally vertical at the time of transplanting.

Due to drug addiction , cross-pollination is important (especially for commercial purposes). The flowers are partially self-incompatible.

The pruning is of great importance. The branches are weak and break easily in gusts of wind, so pruning should be aimed at balancing the tree avoiding the main Y-branch formations, which will result in more easily breaking branches .

The nut collection macadamia is performed on the ground. The fruit is ripe when the nut falls from the tree. Never before.

MACADAMIA SPECIES AND VARIETIES

There are 10 species of macadamia but only 2 are edible. The others are considered poisonous. There are only a few Australian aborigines who extract the toxic compound and make them edible. The two cultivated species are:

  • Macadamia integrifolia: This is the most appreciated and cultivated, with high quality fruits and smooth-looking nuts. Its leaves are not very spiny, unlike Macadamia tetraphylla, which are. Within this species there are numerous cultivars among which stand out; Kakea, Makai, Makua, Pohala, Keauhou.
  • Macadamia tetraphylla: This other one is of lower quality and the difference is that the nut is rough in appearance. Varieties such as Cate and Elimbah are found within this species.

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