Pomegranates are an excellent fruit tree to grow in your yard, providing you offer them the right growing conditions. Some varieties are grown for their beautiful double flowers, while others are for their delicious and nutritious fruit. They require basic care, particularly when they are young. Let’s find out how to care for a pomegranate tree.
What You'll Learn Today
- How To Take Care Of A Pomegranate Tree?
- How Much Sun Does A Pomegranate Tree Need?
- How Cold Can A Pomegranate Tree Get?
- How Often To Water Pomegranate Tree?
- How Much Water Does A Pomegranate Tree Need?
- How To Fertilize Pomegranate Tree?
- How To Support A Pomegranate Tree?
- How To Treat A Pomegranate Tree?
How To Take Care Of A Pomegranate Tree?
Pomegranate tree care is not too difficult but it does have pretty basic needs much like any other fruit tree.
Start by selecting the right cultivar of pomegranate tree for your location and what you want it for, fruit or flowers. There are many varieties to choose from, ask your local nursery for help when choosing.
As well as producing colorful flowers that attract pollinating insects and hummingbirds, pomegranates of the fruiting variety will also develop sweet, tart fruits that ripen in late summer, fall, or early winter.
Sun and Water
These shrub-like trees do best when planted in full sun and given a sheltered position. They grow in most soil types but need reasonable soil drainage to prevent roots from rotting. They are also tolerant of brackish water and many cultivars do well in coastal landscapes.
A good layer of organic mulch is beneficial to help retain root moisture and act as a slow-release fertilizer and weed suppressant.
Although they are drought tolerant and require only minimal fertilizer, care must be taken with when and how they are watered and fed, particularly if using chemical fertilizers, as this can affect flowering and fruit set.
Some varieties are more cold-hardy than others and can survive in US hardiness zone 6, although most do better in zones 8 to 10.
As pomegranates flower on new growth from the past two years, pruning must be done when the tree is still dormant before new growth starts in early spring. The amount of pruning should be minimal. Remove suckers and any dead or diseased wood or top the tree to keep its growth habit small.
How Much Sun Does A Pomegranate Tree Need?
The birthplace of the pomegranate is believed to be Iran, or Persia as it would then have been called. It spread to other parts of the middle east and countries in the Mediterranean region as well as India, Africa, and parts of Asia. Today pomegranates can be found growing almost worldwide.
In the United States, you can grow pomegranates in hardiness zones 7b through 10. For best results, they like it hot and dry.
Pomegranate trees are sun lovers. They need a sunny climate and full sun. During the growing season, they enjoy having six or more hours of sunlight a day.
How Cold Can A Pomegranate Tree Get?
Despite being sun lovers, pomegranates are pretty tough and some varieties will survive in temperatures as low as 10°F (-12°C) while others are cold tolerant to 18°F (-8°C) before they become damaged.
The “Russian” varieties and Salavatski are cold-hardy, while Spanish Sweet is cold tolerant.
How Often To Water Pomegranate Tree?
Trees should be planted when dormant and be thoroughly watered at this time. Following planting, they will require watering again in around two to four weeks.
As soon as they begin to leaf, increase watering to once every week to two weeks depending on weather conditions (the hotter and dryer, the more frequent the watering).
Newly planted pomegranate trees benefit from having a watering dam built around them. This is a circular mound of earth of several inches in height and width created in a ring a couple of feet distant from the trunk of the tree.
This mound of soil prevents the water from leaching away too far from the tree’s roots.
Over time the mound will naturally erode into the earth, by which time the tree should be well established.
As with other fruit trees, water deeply to establish a far-reaching root system. The further into the ground the roots penetrate, the more drought-tolerant the tree will become. Shallow watering of just the surface soil won’t produce deep roots.
How Much Water Does A Pomegranate Tree Need?
It’s necessary to ensure the root system is entirely soaked. To achieve deep watering, it takes between 40 and 50 minutes of constant water flow.
In light soils, more frequent watering is necessary, less so in clay soils. Test the soil dampness by digging down a couple of inches with a trowel. If the soil is still damp at the bottom it is wet enough, if it is dry or only very slightly damp, water.
In dry weather, if a young tree becomes too parched, fruit drop is likely to occur prematurely.
For drip irrigation systems, use one emitter per tree at a rate of one gallon per hour for each tree in the first couple of years. Gradually increase the emitters to four per tree as they reach four to five years of age.
Too much water is dangerous to a pomegranate tree because they are highly drought tolerant once established. Always check the soil around the tree before watering, as if the ground has been saturated by rain, it may not require you to water it again so soon.
Pomegranates are usually quite disease resistant. However, if you overwater and the roots are left constantly wet, fungal infections can take hold and make the tree sick or even cause it to die.
How To Fertilize Pomegranate Tree?
To achieve a strong healthy tree with good growth, leaf production, and fruits, it’s necessary to provide your pomegranate tree not only with Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus (NPK fertilizer) but also zinc, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, boron, and copper.
These are found in both chemical and organic fruit tree fertilizers and can be found at most garden stores.
Use a lower nitrogen fertilizer once the tree is established, as nitrogen will produce excess foliage growth which can be detrimental to fruiting and fruit ripening.
To begin, the tree will require fertilizing three times per year in early spring, early summer, and mid-summer. Don’t fertilize your tree after August as this can cause late season growth which is easily damaged by freezing temperatures in winter.
After the first few years, as the tree matures, only the early spring and summer fertilizer applications will be necessary. Fully mature trees don’t generally need fertilizer at all unless the soil is very poor.
Spread the fertilizer around under the whole canopy of the tree. Leave a 5-inch gap around the trunk to avoid burning.
Chemical fertilizers are normally given at a rate of one cup for each year of life, so a one-year-old tree needs one cup, a four-year-old tree four cups, etc. The maximum is nine cups and this can be continued at this level for trees aged nine years and above. See product packaging for full details.
Organic fertilizers are dosed at a higher rate. For a one-year-old tree give six cups, for a two-year-old 10 cups, and three-year-old tree 14 cups, a four-year-old tree 18 cups, and so on up to 24 cups for a mature tree.
Some fertilizers may have different quantity suggestions. Follow the directions given on the packaging.
Using well-rotted garden compost or manure as a mulch around the base of the tree can be beneficial for several reasons. It provides a slow release of nutrients, improves soil quality, holds in moisture between waterings, and suppresses weed growth.
In this video, you will see how commercial growers outside of the US feed and care for their pomegranate trees to produce the best possible crops:
How To Support A Pomegranate Tree?
A young pomegranate tree will require staking. This helps to support the tree until the trunk and roots are sturdy enough to resist wind, particularly when the branches are full of foliage and fruit.
A six-to-eight-foot stake should be driven well into the ground on the windward side of the tree at a distance of around two feet. This should be securely fastened to the trunk using a soft tie that won’t damage the bark of the tree.
Using an old bicycle inner tube against the trunk is helpful as a protective measure.
Always protect the bottom few feet of your young pomegranate by applying a protective covering around the trunk to stop varmints from chewing on the bark and killing the tree.
It is normal for pomegranates to form a lot of suckers around their base, so be sure to keep these pruned back.
How To Treat A Pomegranate Tree?
If you live in a cooler climate, it can be beneficial to train your pomegranate tree against a south-facing wall.
Pomegranate fruits develop at the tips of the branches and to make harvesting easy you can create a fan-shaped trellis with six or so arms coming from it and train your pomegranate branches along them.
- Full sun
- Well-drained soil
- Slow-release organic fertilizer
- The right amount of water
- Pruning of suckers and diseased or dead wood
Pomegranate trees are a worthwhile fruit to grow in your yard. The trees are hardy and long-lived, drought-tolerant and many are also cold hardy. They provide fruits packed with health benefits and are well worth adding to your diet.
Fruits can be stored for around six months if kept in the right conditions such as a root cellar and may be converted into many other products to make them a regular part of your diet.
Caring for your pomegranate tree is quite straightforward with just a little extra care and attention being lavished on them in their early years.
Discover more about pomegranate trees and much more on our website.