California Crop Fertilization Guidelines

UC Davis
A collaboration between CDFA, FREP and UC Davis

Pistachio Nitrogen Uptake and Partitioning

The Fertilization guidelines can also be found on the UC Davis Nutrient Management website .

Seasonal N Uptake

Season N Uptake Curve Graph

Nitrogen in pistachio trees during 'on' and 'off' years. Before leaf-out, little N was taken up and the trees relied on N remobilized from perennial tissue. In 'on' years, approximately 30% of N was taken up during spring flush (mid-March to late May) and 70% during nut fill. N uptake was negligible between harvest and leaf senescence. In 'off' years, the proportion of N taken up during spring flush was slightly higher [1,3].

Nitrogen Partitioning

Nitrogen partitioning pie chart

Nitrogen distribution in 20-year old 'Kerman' pistachio trees. Measurements were taken in September of an ‘on’ year [3].

Nitrogen Removed at Harvest

Nitrogen removed with harvested pistachios. The overall average is weighted for the number of observations in each trial. More information can be found here [2].

Location Years Removal (lbs N/ton dry yield (CPC)) Source
    Mean Range  
California 2009-11 56.1 54.1 - 57.6 [4]
Weighted Average   56.1 54.1 - 57.6  

The value includes all nitrogen removed in hulls, shells and kernels, blank nuts and other non-marketable yield.



  1. Brown, P.H., Weinbaum, S.A., Picchioni, G.A., 1995. Alternate bearing influences annual nutrient consumption and the total nutrient content of mature pistachio trees. Trees 9, 158-164.
  2. Geisseler, D., 2016. Nitrogen concentrations in harvested plant parts -A literature overview. Report to the Kings River Watershed Coalition.
  3. Rosecrance, R.C., Weinbaum, S.A., Brown, P.H., 1996. Assessment of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium uptake capacity and root growth in mature alternate-bearing pistachio (Pistacia vera) trees. Tree Physiology 16, 949-956.
  4. Siddiqui, M.I., Brown, P., 2013. Pistachio early-season sampling and in-season nitrogen application maximizes productivity, minimizes loss.