Nut Production

Course CodeBHT219
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


Learn how to Grow Nuts: A correspondence course for the enthusiast or commercial grower.

Gain a sound foundation for growing a wide variety of nuts, particularly in temperate climates. This course also provides opportunities for you to focus more on types of nuts that are of greater interest and relevance to you.

Nuts have some distinct advantages over other crops:

  • Long shelf life (so you don't need to sell them quickly) or use costly storage or processing to extend the marketing period
  • High in protein - nutritionally intensive foods

A detailed study on nut growing with the opportunity to specialise, to some degree, according to your interests.

Nuts can be grown in most parts of the world - there are species suited to a variety of climates.

Nuts are an exceptionally valuable food crop that can be harvested and stored for long periods and can also be processed into a variety of products. These characteristics make them particularly useful for commercial growers, for the home gardener, or those striving towards self sufficiency.

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Lesson Structure

There are 9 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • What is a Nut
    • Identifying Plants Accurately
    • Classification of Nuts into their Plant Families
    • Juglanaceae,
    • Coylaceae,
    • Fagaceae,
    • Burseraceae,
    • Lecthidaceae
    • Sterculiaceae
    • Rosaceae
    • Pinaceae
    • Anacardiaceae, etc
    • Review of Botany of Nuts: flowers and fruit development
    • Resources
  2. The Most Commonly Grown Varieties
    • Overview of Nut Culture
    • Comparing most common nuts
    • Terminology
    • Almond
    • American Hazlenut
    • Cashew
    • Peanut
    • Walnut
    • Macadamia
  3. Culture of Nuts
    • Site Selection and Management
    • Soils
    • Soil Testing
    • Water Management
    • Nutrition and Feeding
    • Plant Health: pest and disease, protection from wind, salt, air, etc
    • Common problems with different types of nuts
    • Planting
    • Terminology
    • Weed Management
    • Pruning
  4. Less Common Nuts
    • Pecan
    • Pistacio
    • Pine Nuts
    • Auraucaria
    • Chestnut
    • Filbert
    • Brazil Nut
    • Beech
    • Oak
    • Sunflower
    • Pili Nut
    • Cola Nut
    • Cocao
    • Hausa Groundnut
    • Acacia, and more
  5. Propagation
    • Seed Propagation of Nuts
    • Cuttings
    • Layering
    • Grafting
    • Propagating Corylus
    • Propagating Pinus
    • Propagating aids and structures
  6. Harvest and Post-harvest of Nuts.
    • Harvesting
    • Cleaning, Cracking and Shelling
    • Drying and Storage
    • Handling Almonds
    • Cashews
    • Chestnuts
    • Pine nuts
    • Walnuts
    • Hazlenuts
    • Pistacios
  7. Marketing Nuts
    • Overview
    • Where to sell nuts
    • Marketing Processes
    • Market Research
    • Uses of Nuts: Food and other uses
  8. Workplace Health, Safety and Risk Management
    • Duty of Care
    • Risk Assessment in a Horticultural Enterprise
    • Financial Risks
    • Keeping the Workplace Safe
    • Protective Clothing
    • Equipment Safety (Tools and Machinery)
    • Safety with Manual Handling and lifting
  9. Special Assignment
    • PBL Project Develop a plan for growing selected varieties of nuts in a specific location


  • Identify different nut crop varieties.
  • Determine the cultivation practices appropriate to a range of different nut crops.
  • Determine how to propagate a range of different nut plants.
  • Determine appropriate techniques for harvesting a nut crop.
  • Specify an appropriate post-harvest treatment for a nut crop.
  • Develop marketing strategies for nuts.

What You Will Do

  • Distinguish between common and scientific perceptions of the term nut.
  • Compare the botanical characteristics of the fruits from different nut genera.
  • Describe the botanical classification of different species of nut plants, including where appropriate, botanical interrelationships.
  • Prepare plant reviews of different nut varieties, including the following details on each plant:
    • Plant names (Common and scientific)
    • A photo, illustration or pressed specimen
    • Cultural details
    • Harvest & Post-harvest
    • Uses (eg. valuable products).
  • Develop a resource file of fitems of information relevant to the nut growing industry, including:
    • Suppliers of nut plants
    • Trade or grower associations
    • Publications
  • Perform simple tests on different soils to determine:
    • Soil type
    • pH
    • Drainage
    • Water holding capacity
  • Evaluate different soils tested in 2.1 to determine nut varieties suitable for growing in each.
  • Explain soil management requirements for different nut varieties, including:
    • Nutrition
    • Soil structure
    • Physical attributes
  • Explain the control of different pests and diseases on ten different nut varieties.
  • Develop guidelines for the culture of a specified variety of nut, in your locality, including:
    • Watering
    • Weed control
    • Soil management
    • Fertilising
    • Pest control
    • Disease control
  • Prepare a twelve month plan for cultural practices on a specified nut plantation.
  • Explain different methods of propagating different nut species, including:
    • Seed
    • Grafting
    • Layering
    • Cuttings
  • Determine propagation methods for fifteen different nut species, including where applicable, rootstock variety names.
  • Demonstrate how to prepare cuttings for two different nut species.
  • Demonstrate three different types of grafts, suitable for propagating nut varieties.
  • Determine seed germination procedures for ten different nut genera.
  • Prepare a production schedule, for nursery production of a specified type of nut.
  • Propagate different nut plant varieties.
  • Explain the operation of a mechanical harvester which can be used for nuts.
  • Determine when to harvest different specified nut species.
  • Compare the efficiency of four different techniques for harvesting nuts.
  • Describe two different storage techniques for a specified nut variety.
  • Determine the optimum environmental conditions for the storage of three different nut species.
  • Evaluate three different samples of nuts, which have been stored using three different techniques.
  • Determine the commercial processing techniques used for five specified nut species.
  • Explain post-harvest handling of a specified nut species, by a commercial plantation in a specified locality.
  • Determine different ways in which nuts can be consumed.
  • Compare different ways nuts are packaged for retailing, with reference to different factors including:
    • Physiological impact on the nut
    • Cost of packaging
    • Presentation
  • Explain the marketing of different specified nut products, in your locality.
  • Develop a marketing plan for one specified type of nut.

Tips For Growing Nuts (introduction)

WALNUT (Juglans seiboldiana)
Unsuited to warm or humid climates.  Commercial crops are grown in the north of the U.S.A., colder parts of California, hill areas of southern Australia, and similar climates in other countries. Ideally deep, fertile, moist soils. 60ft. between trees in cooler areas closer in warmer areas.  Propagate by seed or grafting onto seedlings.  Roots produce a substance toxic to other plants, so keep away from other crops.  Normally takes 5 years to commence cropping ... longer to reach peak production.  You can't go far wrong growing walnuts as with most nuts demand is good and keeping qualities are excellent.

CHESTNUTS (Castanea sativa)
Ideally good rainfall and cooler mountain areas, shelter from hot winds, deep well drained soils, space on a 40ft. grid, young trees need feeding and protection from frosts.  In areas below 30 ins. rainfall young trees require irrigation.  Propagation: Grafted trees take 3 to 6 years to crop, seedlings take up to 20 years.  Stratify seed over winter before sowing.  Fruit ripens over a period of time through autumn.  Nuts are beaten out of husks and marketed at once or else prepared for storage.  Once dry, pack in alternate layers of dry sand in a cool dry position ... will store this way for several months.

ALMOND (Prunus dulcis)
Ideally sunny warm site, drained soil, not alkaline, 20 x 25ft. spacing (can be closer), irrigate and feed regularly to achieve good results.  Needs frost free situation late winter and early spring (ie: Frost will kill young fruit or flowers).  Cross pollination is essential.  Propagate by budding or grafting onto peach or plum rootstocks. Californian Papershell, Strouts Papershell and Ne Plus Ultra will cross pollinate with each other.  Challeston, Johnston's Prolific and Brandis Jordan cross pollinate each other.
After harvest, lay out on racks or plastic and air to dry.  Next remove husks and grade according to size for bagging.

PEANUT (Arachis hypogaea)
Suited to subtropical regions, though it is possible to obtain small crops in much cooler areas if frost protection is provided.  Usually planted in spring 2 3 ins. deep in light soils, 1 inch deep in heavier soils.  Responds well to initial feeding.  If soil is more acid than pH 6 to 6.5, an application of lime can be useful.  In areas with a rainfall less than 24 inches, the crop should be irrigated.  Usually grown on broad acre.  The plants are a low bush.
Nuts are ready for harvest when the plant starts to yellow and growth begins to slow.  The time of harvest is critical.  When harvest is getting close, inspect the crop frequently.

MACADAMIA (Macadamia integrifolia and tetraphylla)
Grows in most parts of Australia, and potentially in other temperate climates around the world but best suited to the warmer climates such as those in coastal south Qld and northern NSW. They are also grown on a large commercial scale in Hawaii.  Slow to grow and crop in cooler climates. Grow from seed, cuttings, budding, grafting and layering.  Seed needs to be planted fresh (as soon as mature).  Requires good drainage but moist soils (annual rainfall of 60 inches in their native environment).  Start fruiting at about 5 years, crops over a period of several months.  Demand is well in excess of supply.

PECAN (Carya illinoinensis)
A well known and established crop in the United States, pecans are also grown commercially in Australia.  For good tree growth and top production pecans require a deep well drained, well aerated soil free of hardpan sub soil layers.  Respond well to nitrogen fertilisers, continuous soil moisture from rain or irrigation is essential, susceptible to zinc deficiency.  Needs warmth and sun.
Propagate by softwood cuttings, budding and grafting. Prune to a modified central leader system.

AMERICAN HAZELNUT (Corylus americana)
Ideally cooler climates ... affected by too much sun.  Grown with the filbert to provide cross pollination.

FILBERT (Corylus avellana and maxima)
Ideally shaded site, unsuited to warm areas, good drainage, fertile soils, relatively small deciduous tree or shrub.  Propagate by seed, layering or grafting.  Lives 150 years.  Yields in 4th or 5th year but takes up to 15 years to come into full bearing.  Needs cross pollination.

PISTACHIO NUT  (Pistachia vera)
Only in warmer climates.  A small to medium deciduous tree that can live several hundred years.  Needs long hot dry summers, though it can survive winter temperatures well below freezing.  While they will survive on poor soils, they yield best on deep well drained sandy loams.  Do well on alkaline soils.  For best results, feed annually with nitrogen fertiliser.  Both male and female trees.  You should normally plant one male to every 10 to 12 female.

CASHEW (Anacardium occidentale)
Tender tropical evergreen tree.  Most commercial production is from Africa and Northern Brazil.  Propagated by seed, layering and grafting.  Will only grow in warm to hot climates.



  • Broaden your scope  of knowledge - there are an increasing range of nuts being grown, and being used in an increasing range of ways. For a commercial grower, this course may reveal opportunities or strengthen your understanding for developing a niche enterprise.
  • Fill in knowledge gaps. Whether your knowledge of nut growing is lacking a lot, or only a little; this course can fill in gaps and give you a more balanced perspective on how to grow nuts successfully
  • Develop your networking - success in anything today depends not jut on what you know, but also who you know, and having a capacity to find information from reliable sources, and keep your knowledge up to date. Our courses always have a component that guides and encourages you to these ends.
  • Become more self sufficient - whether with your food needs or financial needs. Knowing and growing nuts can provide your family with a reliable nutritious food source that can store well for longer periods than many other types of crops.  For the same reason, it can prove a commercial grower with a product they can hold an sell at a later date than they might be able to with other types of crops.

Whether growing just a few trees or a whole orchard; this course can help you achieve more reliable and productive cropping.

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