Alternate bearing in pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) is correlated with crop load; a heavy crop on l-year-old wood appears to cause abscission of inflorescence buds on current wood. Defruiting heavily bearing trees before or during the period of nut growth stopped inflorescence bud loss. This relationship between crop and bud loss was affected by the fruiting status of neighboring shoots. Large defruited branches (> 5.5cm diameter). in fruiting trees had bud retention values (50% to 65%) equivalent to fully defruited control trees, but smaller branches showed reduced bud retention levels. Bud retention was increased 2- to 6-fold in small branches when neighboring branches were defruited. Nitrogen concentration of leaves in late August was positively correlated with the final bud retention percentage and inversely correlated with defruiting date.