Cashew nut trees (Anacardium occidentale) are native to Brazil and grow best in tropical climates. If you want to grow cashew nut trees, keep in mind that it will take two to three years from the time you plant until the time you harvest nuts. Read on for more information about how to grow cashews and other cashew nut information.
How to Grow Cashews
You can start growing cashew nuts if you live in the tropics, whether the climate is wet or dry. Ideally, your temperature should not drop below 50 degrees F. (10 C.) or rise above 105 degrees F. (40 C.). It is also possible to grow the trees in any frost-free area.
In this temperature range, growing cashew nut trees is easy. In fact, with a little irrigation, they grow like weeds. The trees are drought resistant, and they can thrive on marginal soils. Well-draining sandy soil is best for growing cashew nuts and trees.
Caring for Cashew Trees
If you have planted cashew nut trees, you’ll need to provide your young trees with both water and fertilizer.
Give them water during dry spells. Provide fertilizer during the growing season, especially when the tree is flowering and developing nuts. Be sure to use a fertilizer that contains nitrogen and phosphorus, and also possibly zinc.
Trim the young cashew trees every now and then to remove branches that are broken or diseased. If insect pests, like the twig borer, eat the tree foliage, treat the trees with an appropriate insecticide.
Additional Cashew Nut Information
Cashew nut trees grow flowers during winter, not summer. They also set their fruit during winter.
The tree produces rose colored fragrant flowers in panicles. These develop into edible red fruits, called cashew apples. The nuts grow in shells at the bottom end of the apples. The shell of the cashew nut contains a caustic oil that causes burns and skin irritation on contact.
One method to separate the nuts from the caustic shell is to freeze the cashew nuts and separate them while they are frozen. You’ll want to don gloves and a long-sleeved shirt for protection, and maybe safety glasses.
Both the cashew apples and the nuts are good for you. They are highly nutritious, with high amounts of vitamin C, calcium, iron, and vitamin B1.