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FPS Expands UCB #1 Pistachio Seed Program to Meet Demand

Foundation Plant Services remains the source for UCB #1 Pistachio seeds- proud to announce expansion of UCB #1 program.

For over a decade, demand for UCB #1 pistachio seeds has outstripped Foundation Plant Services' production capacity.  FPS Director Maher Al Rwahnih reports, “Every year we receive more orders than we can supply,” regarding this popular seed. 

Al Rwahnih adds, “We are making an investment to help us keep California pistachio growers supplied with seed.   Also, we can work with the international market for the first time in many years.” 

FPS Agricultural Manager, Marcos Arriaga, on the site of the hoop-house build. 

The investment Al Rwahnih referred to is a series of hoop houses covering 45 additional Pistachia atlantica trees coming into production.  The hoop houses allow for controlled pollination required for the hybrid seeds.  UCB #1 is a hybrid cross of P. atlantica X P. integerrima.  “These trees were planted in 2017, and now it’s time to bring these on line.  We’re doing this to continue supporting our pistachio farmers“ Al Rwahnih said. 

FPS Agricultural Manager Marcos Arriaga was especially excited about this news.  Arriaga  has worked with this special pistachio crop for over 20 years. “One of my first jobs at FPS was to bag up the flower clusters on our pistachio trees.  We've grown a lot since then.  Demand has always been high, and now we can finally supply that demand.”   

These new hoop houses bring the total number of female trees in production to 67, a far cry from the nine trees that Arriaga hand pollinated when he first arrived at FPS.  “The seed needs time for full development, to be completely viable, so we do everything by hand" Arriaga adds.  "That is how we can provide superior seed.”  

Over 1,000 seedlings are grown each year to test FPS UCB #1 seed germination rate. 

After selecting the fully developed seeds during hand harvest and careful cleaning, FPS performs germination tests on UCB #1 seeds.  Prior to shipping seed each year FPS notifies all customers of the results of this test.  Since the tests began in 2015, the germination rate has never been below the target of 90% germination.  An extra 10% quantity is added to all seed orders to ensure that customers get all the viable seed they expect.  Director Al Rwahnih adds- "It's our responsibility to provide our customers with good seed.  Now we can provide more good seed to our customers, and that's even better."

FPS distributes the rootstock cultivar UCB #1, a hybrid of P. atlantica X P. integerrima.  Beginning in the 1960s, UCB#1 seed was produced by P. integerrima pollination of a single P. atlantica tree. In 1995 production and distribution was moved to FPS and now there are 67 trees producing seed. 

UCB#1 hybrid seed can be purchased through FPS.  FPS now takes orders for UCB #1 seed throughout the year.  International shipping is available.