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Binomial Name Pistacia vera
Description Pistachios are deciduous trees native to Central Asia and the Middle East that thrive in deserts and produce seeds that are also called pistachios. The trees are in the Anacardiaceae (Cashew) family and are very tolerant of saline soil (up to 4,000 ppm of soluble salts). Trees produce clusters of fruits with hard, cream-colored shells. The seed inside has mauve-colored skin and light green flesh. When ripe, the shell splits partially open and makes a popping noise. Pistachio trees are dioecious, meaning some trees are female while others are male. One male tree can pollinate 8-12 female trees. Pistachios can survive temperatures between -10° C and 48° C. They have a winter chilling requirement of at least 1000 hours of temperatures under 7.2° C, but temperatures below -9° C will kill trees. Pistachios need long, hot summers to ripen fruit. They cannot tolerate high humidity or poorly draining soil. They are most commonly propagated by grafting root stock or cuttings. If starting from seed, pre-soak and cold-stratify seeds for 2 months before planting. Germination is slow, variable, and whether the resultant plant will be male or female cannot be predicted. Trees will bear fruit within 5-10 years of planting and reach peak production at 20. Pistachios bear fruit every other year.
Sun Requirements Full Sun
Growing Degree Days
Sowing Method Transplant grafted sapling, cuttings, or direct seed indoors
Spread (diameter)
Row Spacing 500 centimeters
Height 900 centimeters

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