Have you seen the price of macadamia nuts lately? And yet they are so easy to grow in your backyard.
Macadamia nut trees originated from South East Queensland and Northern NSW. Many of us grew up with Macadamia nut trees in our backyards. There are many wild trees still growing in parks and sidewalks around Brisbane. There are many ways to crack open the hard shell, and there are various inventions available. Failing all else, a brick or large rock will suffice. When it comes to choosing a variety to grow, there are many choices out there…
Macadamia Trees can be easily grown from a seed. Seedling trees have a very strong root system. They can stand up to strong winds. However, they often take 10 years to start bearing at their full potential. The nuts are good quality (although the size is variable) and the leaves are often very spiky.
Macadamia ‘Lotsa Nuts’ is a precocious nut bearing tree that is suitable for backyard planting. The leaves have minimal spikes, and the tree is upright standing (up to 4m high) so the branches don’t spread a long way and take up half your backyard. The only down side is like all cutting-grown types, they have a shallow root system which makes them prone to blowing over in a storm.
Dwarf Macadamia Nut Tree
Some nurseries sell a ‘Dwarf’ variety of macadamia that only grows 1- 2m high. Buyer beware! After you have spent tome growing the tree and done the work to crack the nuts, it is hardly worth your time and effort. The nuts are only the size of a small pea!
Grafted trees are ideal as they bear large amounts of high quality nuts (with large kernel size) after only 3-4 years. Australian macadamia nut farmers always plant grafted trees because they are high yielding, and the nuts are export quality with consistent large size nuts.
Rainforest trees in the wild, macadamias prefer deep well-drained topsoil. They will be happy enough on clay-based soil as long as adeqate soil preparation has been done. This includes mixing in compost into the top 50cm of soil. Add a thick layer of mulch such as wood chips to prevent the soil drying out too quickly.
Just a Little Fertiliser
Fertilise sparingly with something light such as blood and bone, worm juice, fish emulsion or seaweed solution. Commercially prepared fertilisers (when applied liberally) can easily kill macadamia trees. Like all native trees, they are adapted to poor soils and are sensitive to phosphorous. So take it easy when applying fertiliser. Use only half as much as you would for say your lemon tree.