Almonds Take up a Lot of K

Almonds Take up a Lot of K

August 1, 2013

New App Manages 
Almond Potassium Consumption
Great Salt Lake Minerals, a subsidiary of Compass Minerals, launches a powerful mobile tool designed to help California almond growers, agronomists and pest control advisors (PCAs) make more accurate soil nutrient decisions and maximize yield potential.

The Almond Potassium Uptake Calculator is now available here ( or is available for download to an iPad device via the Apple App Store for iPad. Please note that the app is not available for use on an iPhone® or other phone devices.

Almonds remove a tremendous amount of potassium from the soil each crop year. In a study for the California Almond Board in 2011, Dr. Patrick Brown and other UC Davis researchers reported that almond production can drain as much as 80 pounds of potassium out of the soil per 1,000 pounds of kernel and more than 65 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 pounds of kernel.

“We’re coming off two back-to-back years of large almond crops, and that can deplete the nutrients in soil dramatically,” explains Wes Asai, owner of Wes Asai Pomology Consulting in Turlock, Calif.

It can take years for the symptoms of potassium deficiency to appear in almond trees. Maintaining adequate potassium levels in the orchard produces healthier trees that are more capable of handling stresses such as drought and disease.

A 2001 study by Brown and another group of UC Davis researchers found that trees with less than 1.4 percent of potassium in a July leaf sample experienced a 27 percent increase in spur mortality and a 30 percent decrease in return bloom of fruiting spurs the following year.

“When the almond crop depletes the soil of nutrients that could be compared to withdrawing money from the bank,” says David Doll, a UC Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor based in Merced County, Calif. “You have to replace that amount in order to avoid future potassium deficiency in the orchard. You have to build up your potassium credit.”

To learn more about sulfate of potash and how to optimize almond quality and yield, visit