Pomegranates are an excellent fruit tree to grow in your yard if you provide them with the proper growing conditions. Some varieties are grown for their lovely double flowers, while others are grown for their tasty and nutritious fruit. They need basic care, especially when they are young. Let’s look at how to take care of a pomegranate tree.
How To Care For A Pomegranate Tree
Pomegranate tree care is not difficult, but it does have some basic requirements, just like any other fruit tree.
Begin by choosing the best pomegranate cultivar for your location and what you want it for, fruit or flowers. There are numerous varieties to choose from; consult your local nursery for assistance in making your selection.
DEVELOPMENT OF FRUIT
Pomegranates of the fruiting variety produce colorful flowers that attract pollinating insects and hummingbirds, as well as sweet, tart fruits that ripen in late summer, fall, or early winter.
THE SUN AND THE WATER
These shrub-like trees thrive in full sun and in a sheltered location. They grow in most soil types but require adequate soil drainage to prevent root rot. They are also resistant to brackish water, and many cultivars thrive in coastal environments.
A thick layer of organic mulch can help retain root moisture while also acting as a slow-release fertilizer and weed suppressant.
Although they are drought tolerant and require little fertilizer, they must be watered and fed with care, especially if chemical fertilizers are used, as this can affect flowering and fruit set.
HARDINESS TO THE COLD
Some varieties are more cold-hardy than others, and can survive in US hardiness zone 6, though the majority thrive in zones 8 to 10.
Because pomegranates flower on new growth from the previous two years, pruning must be performed while the tree is still dormant before new growth begins in early spring. Pruning should be kept to a minimum. To keep the tree’s growth habit small, remove suckers and any dead or diseased wood, or top it.
How Much Light Does a Pomegranate Tree Require?
The pomegranate is thought to have originated in Iran, or Persia as it was known at the time. It spread to other parts of the Middle East and Mediterranean countries, as well as to India, Africa, and parts of Asia. Pomegranates can now be found almost anywhere.
Pomegranates can be grown in hardiness zones 7b through 10 in the United States. They prefer it hot and dry for the best results.
Pomegranate trees adore the sun. They require a sunny climate and direct sunlight. They benefit from six or more hours of sunlight per day during the growing season.
What is the coldest temperature that a pomegranate tree can withstand?
Despite their love of the sun, pomegranates are tough, and some varieties can survive in temperatures as low as 10°F (-12°C), while others can withstand temperatures as low as 18°F (-8°C) before becoming damaged.
The “Russian” varieties and Salavatski are cold-tolerant, whereas Spanish Sweet is not.
When Should You Water Your Pomegranate Tree?
Trees should be planted and thoroughly watered while dormant. They will need to be watered again in two to four weeks after planting.
Increase watering to once every week to two weeks as soon as they begin to leaf, depending on weather conditions (the hotter and dryer, the more frequent the watering).
A watering dam built around newly planted pomegranate trees benefits them. This is a circular mound of earth several inches high and wide, formed in a ring a few feet away from the tree’s trunk.
The mound of soil keeps water from eroding too far from the tree’s roots.
The mound will naturally erode into the ground over time, by which time the tree should be well established.
Water deeply, as with other fruit trees, to establish a broad root system. The deeper the roots penetrate the ground, the more drought-tolerant the tree becomes. Shallow watering of only the surface soil will not result in deep roots.
What Is the Water Requirement for a Pomegranate Tree?
It is critical to completely soak the root system. It takes between 40 and 50 minutes of continuous water flow to achieve deep watering.
More frequent watering is required in light soils, less so in clay soils. Dig a couple of inches down with a trowel to test the soil dampness. If the soil is still damp at the bottom, it is sufficiently wet; if it is dry or only slightly damp, water is required.
Fruit drop is more likely in dry weather if a young tree becomes overly parched.
In the first couple of years, use one emitter per tree at a rate of one gallon per hour per tree for drip irrigation systems. As the trees reach four to five years of age, gradually increase the number of emitters to four per tree.
Pomegranate trees are vulnerable to overwatering because they are drought tolerant once established. Check the soil around the tree before watering; if the ground has been saturated by rain, you may not need to water it as frequently.
Pomegranates are typically disease resistant. However, if you overwater and leave the roots wet all the time, fungal infections can take hold and make the tree sick or even kill it.
What Is the Best Way to Fertilize a Pomegranate Tree?
To achieve a strong, healthy tree with good growth, leaf production, and fruit production, supplement your pomegranate tree with zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, boron, and copper in addition to NPK fertilizer.
These are found in both chemical and organic fruit tree fertilizers and are available at most garden centers.
Once the tree is established, use a lower nitrogen fertilizer because nitrogen promotes excessive foliage growth, which can be detrimental to fruiting and fruit ripening.
To begin, the tree will need to be fertilized three times a year in the early spring, early summer, and mid-summer. Fertilize your tree after August to avoid late-season growth that can be damaged by freezing temperatures in winter.
As the tree matures over the first few years, only early spring and summer fertilizer applications will be required. Unless the soil is extremely poor, fully mature trees rarely require fertilizer.
Distribute the fertilizer throughout the tree’s canopy. To avoid burning, leave a 5-inch gap around the trunk.
Chemical fertilizers are typically applied at a rate of one cup per year of life, so a one-year-old tree requires one cup, a four-year-old tree requires four cups, and so on. The maximum is nine cups, and this level can be maintained for trees nine years and older. Full details can be found on the product packaging.
Organic fertilizers are dosed more heavily. Give six cups to a one-year-old tree, ten cups to a two-year-old tree, fourteen cups to a three-year-old tree, eighteen cups to a four-year-old tree, and so on up to 24 cups to a mature tree.
Some fertilizers may have different dosage recommendations. Follow the instructions on the packaging.
Mulching around the base of the tree with well-rotted garden compost or manure can be beneficial for a number of reasons. It slows nutrient release, improves soil quality, retains moisture between waterings, and inhibits weed growth.
How Do You Care For A Pomegranate Tree?
A young pomegranate tree will need to be staked. This helps to support the tree until the trunk and roots are strong enough to withstand wind, especially when the branches are densely packed with foliage and fruit.
A six-to-eight-foot stake should be driven two feet deep into the ground on the windward side of the tree. This should be securely fastened to the trunk with a soft tie that will not damage the tree’s bark.
As a preventative measure, place an old bicycle inner tube against the trunk.
Apply a protective covering around the trunk of your young pomegranate tree to prevent varmints from chewing on the bark and killing the tree.
Pomegranates naturally form a lot of suckers around their base, so keep these pruned back.
How Do You Care For A Pomegranate Tree?
If you live in a cooler climate, training your pomegranate tree against a south-facing wall can be beneficial.
Pomegranate fruits form at the tips of the branches, so to make harvesting easier, build a fan-shaped trellis with six or so arms and train your pomegranate branches along it.
- Soil that drains well
- Organic fertilizer with slow release
- The appropriate amount of water
- Sucker and diseased or dead wood pruning
Pomegranate trees are an excellent fruit to grow in your garden. The trees are hardy and long-lived, drought-tolerant, and cold hardy in many cases. They provide nutritious fruits that are well worth including in your diet.
Fruits can be stored for up to six months in the right conditions, such as a root cellar, and can be converted into a variety of other products to make them a regular part of your diet.
Caring for your pomegranate tree is simple, with just a little extra care and attention given to them in their early years.