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Description

Pomegranates are large deciduous shrubs or small trees that are widely known and often planted for their edible fruit. A variety of cultivars are available; some are compact, others have attractive flowers with no fruit, and others produce delicious edible fruit. Most have glossy medium green that turn bright yellow before winter. Fruit develop during the summer months and ripen to red during the fall.

Pomegranate is a tough and adaptable plant that is native across parts of northern Africa, the eastern Mediterranean as well as Iran and Afghanistan where it tolerates both heat and cold, and many soil types, including alkaline. Young plants can be clipped and hedged, and used in background areas for screening and fall foliage character. Mature plants can be pruned to expose twisting and gnarled trunks for sculptural and specimen value. All do well in raised planters, courtyards and in edible gardens throughout the Inland Empire.

Popular cultivars include: P. g. Nana', Dwarf pomegranate, is a compact cultivar, eventually growing 6-8 ft. tall, 5-6 ft. wide. Single flowers are deep red, fruit grows to 2 in. dia. and densely clustered leaves reach 1 in. long. P. g. Tanyosho' has double apricot colored flowers, grows 8-10 ft. tall and as wide and produces no fruit. P. g. Wonderful' grows to 10 ft. tall and as wide. It is the most popular choice for both commercial and garden fruit production. Single flowers are orange-red; fruit can reach 5-6 in. in dia.

Water Needs

The Pomegranate grow best in the Inland Empire with moderate amounts of water on a monthly basis throughout the year. Deep watering is recommended to encourage good rooting depth and to enable good summer fruit development and foliage character. When winter rainfall is good, marked by an asterisk (*), supplemental irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water depending upon exposure conditions and fruit production.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Moderate Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 4

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 2x to 3x 2x to 3x 3x to 4x 3x to 4x 3x to 4x 2x to 3x 2x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
 
Inches per Month 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 2" to 3" 2" to 3" 3" to 4" 3" to 4" 3" to 4" 2" to 3" 2" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3"

Range of supplemental summer water: 17"-24"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-15"

 
0"-3"
0"-3"
0"-3"
2"-3"
2"-3"
3"-4"
3"-4"
3"-4"
2"-3"
2"-3"
0"-3"
0"-3"
  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, click here.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub
Foliage Character: Winter deciduous
Habit: Upright, Spreading, Multi-trunk, Low-branching, Dense
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 10 ft. - 20 ft.
Width: 10 ft. - 20 ft.
Water Needs: Moderate 4
Foliage Color: Bright green, Red
Flower Color: Orange
Flower Season: Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Loam, Alkaline soil
Exposure Adaptations: Heat, Aridity, All day sun
Function: Specimen, Screening, Raised planters, Foundations, Flowering accent plant, Culinary use, Background plant

Maintenance

Pomegranates are very easy to grow as a landscape tree or large shrub, but a little extra work should be done to maintain nice form and good fruit production. Pomegranates naturally will grow as a suckering shrub that sends up multiple new shoots from the base every year. Without pruning, plants will form a dense thorny thicket. Cultivated plants can be grown as a single trunk tree, a multi trunk tree, or a large shrub. Multi trunk trees and large shrubs are generally the easier maintenance route. The first year or so in the ground, generally just let the plant grow to establish itself. Pomegranates are best planted in the winter when dormant. In the second winter, begin pruning to your desired form by removing unnecessary branches. The goal will be to maintain a nice, relatively open center form. Branches growing inward can be removed as necessary. Avoid crossing branches which will compete with each other. Choose one and remove the other. Pruning cuts made that do not go all the way back to the ground should be made about inch above a node or bud location. Cut above a node or bud that is pointing in the direction you want the branch to grow to establish a nice growth pattern.

After that, prune annually in the winter to maintain from and help maintain size. Flowers and fruit usually develop on 2-3 year old branches, so light annual pruning that leaves plenty of 2-3 year old wood will maintain the best fruit production. Pomegranates will usually grow back vigorously after a hard cut back, but because that will result in removing most of the 2-3 year old branches, fruit production will be far less for a year or two.

Additionally, light pruning for size control can be done at any time of the year. Remove suckers, vigorous shoots growing from the base of the tree, any time of year as soon as they form. Be careful when pruning, pomegranates have sharp thorns. Eye protection and gloves are recommended. Pomegranates are thorny enough that moderately sized young branches can be reused in the garden, placed over empty or newly planted vegetable beds to help keep critters like cats, racoons, skunks, etc. from digging in them.

Plants will produce the most abundant fruit and grow faster when young if given an annual organic fertilizer application in the winter. Any organic fruit tree fertilizer is adequate. Follow the application instructions on the box. Older trees may produce better with fertilizer or may produce plenty of fruit with compost and mulch and no fertilizer.

Remove all fruit from young trees until their third year in the ground, then allow only as much fruit production as the branches can easily support. Removing fruit results in the tree growing faster and gives the tree time to develop the branch strength to support the weight of the fruit. It is tempting to allow fruit to develop the first year, but you are sacrificing tree growth and the branches will bend, causing long term structural issues. The fruit production the first year you allow fruit to develop will far outweigh the fruit you sacrificed in the first few years (S).

References

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