An almond tree has two clear components: the rootstock and the grafted variety. There are several options for the first and many options for the second. The job of a nursery makes things easy, since it supplies a complete plant ready to grow.
In January 2013 demand for almond plants was huge. I was looking for a self-compatible variety which blooms late (Penta), grafted on conventional almond rootstock. I was not able to find them; neither could I find other protected varieties that are advertised in Spain (Antoñeta, Marta, Soleta, Belona, etc). But one nursery sold me enough trees of Lauranne, grafted on conventional almond. They were the worst trees left of a consignment, so they were small and not very good looking. But what really matters is genetics: Lauranne is self compatible, blooms late and is cold tolerant.
They came in 2 litter pots. I planted them swallow, which is critical to avoid fungal rooting of the trunk. The advice that I followed was keeping the point of graft above the soil surface. Some roots were not developed enough. Some broke and lost most substrate while taking out the pot, but they survived with no problem. The sites for planting were previously dug 40 cm deep by a subsoiler, as explained in another entry of this blog.
I protected them from the rabbits with a tube and put a reed tutor (I also kept the thin tutor that was included in the pot package). These trees were extremely thin, so I was afraid of them being killed by the heavy frosts of the next days. They stand the test perfectly. I did not irrigate them, despite that no rain fell during the following two months. The outcome was good: 145 trees survived out of 150 that year (97% success).