I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. So I know I have the right soil and conditions to grow pistachio trees. But can I just plant a pistachio seed and grow a tree or do I have to go buy the tree?
The pistachios (Pistacia vera) that you buy at the grocery store are usually roasted and will not grow. They are a nice looking tree and only get about twenty feet or eight metres tall. Where you live is hot and dry with alkaline soil and not a lot of moisture in the spring. This is the just right for pistachios but....
If you can find raw unroasted pistachios you can remove the shells and put them in damp paper towels. Some may germinate after ten to thirty days. Plant in small pots and transplant into progressively larger pots as they grow. Chances are good that grocery bought pistachios will have a poor germination rate as they are not fresh.
You would find the most success buying pistachio seed from a supply house or buying trees from a supplier.
Modern pistachio trees are simply not grown and then wait for the results. The nut you buy to eat will not germinate to produce a tree from which you can obtain more nuts.
Trees are grafted onto a rootstock (either after plantation or in nursery stage) and the tree takes off from there...
The rootstock seeds are notoriously hard to find and generally take several months to germinate even if done properly. I'm lucky as I now have a rootstock tree (from a graft that didn't take) that regularly produces several thousand seeds.
It's at least 2 years from ungerminated seed to a position to plant in the ground.
I'm a commercial grower and I need to give nurseries a 2 year notice when I want some more trees, so now I germinate my own, but have 4 HA of 20 year old trees to get cuttings from too.
Take my advice....if you find a tree to buy, buy them.
Remember pistachio trees are dioecious, which means you need a male and a female tree. About 1 male (which doesn't produce fruit) will pollinate 12-15 female trees.