Super-intensive almond tree (in hedge) -Optimizes irrigation with probes

The cultivation of the super-intensive almond tree in Spain or hedgerow almond, is one of the new plantations that we visited to place the Plantae sensors.

Nowadays, many farmers are betting on changing their plantation, if the one they currently have is not profitable and one of the most widespread crops is the super-intensive almond tree or hedgerow almond tree.

Spain is the second largest producer of almond after the US Super-intensive plantations can greatly increase production .

Plantae is specialized in precision agriculture with subsoil control by means of agricultural sensors (probes), in the installation of flow meters and in the measurement of temperature, conductivity and relative humidity in the environment.

Our company does not sell almond plants or advise on the different varieties or types of almond trees to be planted in a certain area or region.

Plantación de almendro superintensivo
Super-intensive almond plantation with sensors / probe and flow meter for irrigation control

Plantae agricultural sensors / probes apply precision agriculture to hedgerow almonds.

We can measure in real time all the parameters that make this type of plantation improve quality and quantity.

  • Subsoil humidity sensor : for the wet bulb and therefore the factors that favor water and nutrient absorption. Very important to avoid flooding.
  • Conductivity sensor : measures salinity which, if not adequate, can cause an accumulation problem that in this type of plantation can be very serious. Irrigation without control compacts the soil due to excess salts and damages the almond tree because absorption is altered. In the almond tree from 4 Sd / m he begins to reduce his production expectations. From 1.5 Sd / m it can be sensitive.
  • Subsoil temperature sensor : controls the temperature of the roots, which indicates the beginning of the root activity of the crop. Compare the data with room temperature and other parameters to make growth models. Identify the best time to start with nutritional and water intake.
  • Ambient temperature sensor : which prevents us from hours of heat, from the control of new shoots, flowering and other phenological states.
  • Flowmeter : controls the irrigation at the beginning or end of the irrigation sectors. Mark the start and end times for each irrigation, total duration and liters applied. while detecting breaks or plugging.
Caudalimetro en almendro intensivo
Flowmeter in intensive almond tree for irrigation control

Irrigation controlled by agricultural probes in the super-intensive almond tree-Water needs

The super-intensive or hedge almond tree in Spain adapts very well if the climate and the low risk of frost are favorable. We can see the areas on the attached maps. The areas of the south that are suitable are expanding more and more.

But it is proven that the production and quality of the almond is much higher if the water needs are controlled.

  • Super-intensive or hedge almond plantations need more irrigation, especially in times of high heat but without waterlogging.
  • The most convenient irrigation that we can best control is drip irrigation. It is essential to control the flow with a flow meter. It detects possible breakdowns, in addition to the amount of irrigation water.
  • Drip irrigation also favors the application of nutrients.
  • The shorter distance between plants causes greater absorption of water and minerals. For this reason, an exhaustive control of subsoil humidity, conductivity and subsoil temperature is very important.
  • In intensive and super-intensive plantations, it is essential to control conductivity to assess the accumulation of salts.

We are going to significantly increase the quality and quantity.

All this controlled and combined with the time of year.

  • From early March to mid-May they need little watering.
  • From mid-May to mid-September, watering and nutrients must be doubled. It is when the almond is made. The absorption in this phase is considerable and more in the superintensive.
  • From mid-September to the end of November we reduce watering again.
  • When collecting, it is best to minimize or remove it.
  • When the super-intensive almond plantation is young, the water supply must be very abundant, so we will make stronger trees.

Profitability of the super-intensive almond tree in Spain

The super-intensive almond plantation will be a success if we take into account the following factors:

  • The risk of late frosts . The almond tree is one of the first trees that blooms first. From the beginning of February to the end of May we can find almond trees in bloom depending on the area. The study of the risk of frost in the area is one of the main reasons that will determine the variety of interest because it influences flowering.
  • Temperature of the area , it adapts to the entire central area although it needs more irrigation on the plateau.
  • Spring rains copious , very rainy areas in spring can harm pollination. Also, since it is a super-intensive plantation, it accumulates more humidity and therefore it is highly recommended to measure the relative humidity, which, if it is too high, damages pollination.
  • If the winds are strong they destroy the flowers and therefore the harvest will be less. The orientation of the plantation is very important. Best in rows from north to south.
  • Harvesting is not done by shaking like the traditional one. This form of plantation is prepared for a mechanized harvest.
  • Harvesting is not done by shaking like the traditional one. This form of plantation is prepared for a mechanized harvest.
  • Production is much higher, that allows to collect benefits in less time.
  • Lower cost in labor.
  • Better quality with controlled irrigation.

Production areas of the super-intensive almond tree in Spain

Maps of the suitability of the almond plantation in Spain according to the following parameters:

Spring rains

They alter pollination. 
Spring rains map for intensive almond tree
Spring rains map for intensive almond tree

Heat zones. The almond tree needs a medium-high temperature. It withstands winter cold well in times of vegetative stop. 

Heat map for intensive almond tree
Heat map for intensive almond tree

Risk of frost. They negatively influence flowering. 

Map of late frosts for intensive almond trees
Map of late frosts for intensive almond trees

Graph of almond production in Spain by communities.

Best routes of the almond blossom

Routes of the almond blossom
Routes of the almond blossom

Design of the super-intensive almond plantation

Several factors influence the design of the plantation:

  • The winds , we have already indicated, must be taken into account in the orientation of the rows.
  • Row spacing should be between 3.5 or 4 meters so that pruning and harvesting machinery can easily pass.
  • The separation between each tree of 1 or 1.5 meters depending on how vigorous the variety is. Distance is important for pollination.
  • Once planted, a tutor will be placed.
  • The super-intensive almond tree is sensitive to excess humidity in the subsoil, so loamy or sandy-loam soils are advisable.
  • It should not be planted too deep.

Harvesting the almond

Almond roasting process
Almond roasting process

Ideal land for intensive almond cultivation

Ideal land for almond trees
Ideal land for almond-USDA classification

Pruning phases

  • The first in summer to remove the lower branches leaving the others to develop.
  • In the first winter it is pruned leaving the selected branches to form the tree, linking one side of one tree with another side of the next as guides.
  • In the second winter branches secondary to the chosen ones are left. If the tree grows little, we must still eliminate some secondary of those that appeared in the main ones.
  • In the third year and until production, superfluous branches are removed and the tree is allowed to grow upwards.
Hub receptor
Receiver hub controlling a super-intensive plantation in La Puebla-Toledo
Sensores/sonda agrícolas  en almendro
Agricultural sensors / probe in almond tree with two drip irrigation hoses.


Sources consulted:


Junta de Andalucía

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