Pistachio is a small tree with its origin from Central Asia and the Middle East, with Iran and Afganistan being the major native locations. Iran accounted for over half of the world’s pistachio production in 2017. According to its origin, the pistachio is a desert tree that is well adapted to saline soil.
The tree can grow to about 30 feet in height. The leaves are deciduous with separate male and female trees. Pistachio grows to a peak production within seven to ten years, and it produces in alternate years.
Natural Pistachio Habitat
Because of its decent, the tree grows in selective places and conditions. It generally requires moderately high temperatures for proper growth and production. Here is a summary of its habitat requirements.
Naturally, the tree grows in desert conditions with high temperatures. It grows well in temperatures ranging between -10 °C and 48 °C. It requires a well saline soil with soluble salt concentrations of about four thousand parts per million (4,000 ppm) and more.
High humidity is not conducive for the tree as it can suffer from root rot. This is why well-drained soil is good for its healthy growth. Proper development and ripening of fruits require long and hot summers. A high amount of sunshine is needed for the good growth of the pistachio tree.
These are the general conditions of the usual places where the pistachio tree grows typically. Below are the places where this tree grows in the United States and other areas around the world.
Where Pistachio Grows In The United States
The tree needs high temperature, increased sunshine, and well-drained soil. This is why it grows in selective areas, even in the United States. Places in the US with hot, dry climates and moderately cold winters are suitable for the tree.
The pistachio tree was first grown in the United States by the American Botanist William E. Whitehouse. He planed it in 1930 in California.
Commercially, the pistachio tree is grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Most of the cultivation is done in California, which accounts for about 95% of the total US production.
In the United States, pistachio grows well in three states. These are states of California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
Where Best In The US?
It is grown in over twenty-two (22) counties in California alone. The tree needs long hot days of summer for the proper development of the nuts in the fruit. These locations have the right temperature range and humidity for the good growth of the tree.
The wind is the means of pollination, so the spring and summer breeze in these areas also good conditions for the plant.
The central place in California where pistachio is grown is the southern San Joaquin Valley. Kern Madera, Fresno, Tulare, and Kings are leading counties in California, where pistachios are grown.
Arizona and New Mexico are the additional locations in the US, accounting for the minority of about 5% of pistachio production.
Other Areas Pistachio Grow
The Middle-East and Asia generally are the natural home of the pistachio tree. It grows in Iran, China, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. In Afganistan, for instance, the tree grows in the mountainous sides.
These regions have climates and soil conditions that are conducive for the tree. There is a high concentration of calcium carbonate in the soil. High temperatures above 45° F and sunshine are needed for high performance.
Dry, light, and sandy-loam soils found in these locations are also characteristic of pistachio tree growth.
In Europe And Australia
In Europe, it grows in Italy, Greece, and Turkey. The tree does well in arid conditions as high humidity does not support its growth.
Australia is another country where pistachios grow. The tree is grown along the Murray River Valley, central-west Victoria, and Pinnaroo in Australia.
These areas have dry climates that support the growth of the tree. Australia produces about fifty percentage (50%) of the total domestic consumption.
Pistachio In Africa
In Africa, South Africa has little contribution to the pistachio growers. Most of the South African pistachio plantings are done near Prieska. A town on the bank of the Orange River.
South Africa produces about ten percentage (10%) of its own pistachio consumption.
The Best Climate For Pistachio
The pistachio tree having its origin in the arid regions of the Middle-East and Asia is adapted to dry and hot conditions. This is why it should not be expected to grow in a far different climate. The tree grows well in a well-drained, dry sandy loam soil with a high amount of sunlight.
High humidities are not friends with the tree. Too much moisture can destroy the roots. In the United States of America, the tree only grows in three states. These states California, New Mexico, and Arizona.
In its native Asia and Middle-East, Pistachio is found growing in Iran, Afganistan, China, Syria, Pakistan, and India.
Some European countries also afford to have the honor of being able to nurture the pistachio tree. These countries are Italy, Greece, and Turkey. They may not be producing up to the world’s supply yet.
The world’s supply of pistachio fruit is majorly from Iran and the United States. Australia and South Africa are also locations where the pistachio tree has been cultivated. The cultivation is expanding as Australia currently produces half of its local consumption of the nut.
Like any other plant, the pistachio tree has its peculiar climatic and soil requirements. These are factors that determine where it grows. Being a desert plant by origin, it is expected to flourish in conditions not too far from aridity.
Are you living in a place with regular rainfall or cold temperatures? You should not be looking out for a pistachio tree around you. The tree does not grow in such conditions.
There is hope in the current scientific methods as more climatically diverse species are being worked on. Pistachio trees may be seen in a whole lot more places with the appropriate genetic engineering