Growing Requirements for Pomegranate Trees
Pomegranate trees are plants that generally grow no more than 10 to 12 feet in height. They bloom with orange-red flowers in the spring and bear red pomegranate fruit in summer or early fall. The trees are somewhat drought-tolerant and grow well in many areas of the United States. There are only a few basics necessary for a pomegranate tree to thrive.
Proper Climate & Soil
Regions that have hot, dry summers and cool, but not cold, winters are the most desirable for the growth of pomegranate trees. The trees will grow from the southern border of the United States as far north as Washington, D.C., though they will bear fruit only in the warmer regions. The plants will not survive in especially bitter temperatures of 10 degrees F and below or where there is is too much moisture, such as regions of flooding or heavy yearly snowfall.
While pomegranates can grow and produce fruit on a variety of soil types from sand to clay, the best soil for pomegranates is a heavy, moist soil somewhere between the two. Sand-grown pomegranate trees have low fruit yields, and the color of fruit is poor in clay soil.
Water & Fertilization
While pomegranates are drought resistant, too little moisture for too long will affect the production of fruit. For fruitful production, pomegranate trees require 50 to 60 inches of rain per year, or weekly irrigation to compensate for the lack of natural moisture. This moisture is most essential in late summer and early fall just before harvest.
For mature trees to produce fruit, the trees need 1/2 to 1 lb. of nitrogen each year, which can be obtained from 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 lbs. of fertilizer in November and March. Younger trees will require 2 to 2 1/2 lbs. of fertilizer in November and March. Since too much nitrogen can reduce the production of fruit, more fertilizer is not better.
Pruning & Harvesting
A limited amount of pruning is required each year to keep pomegranate trees in shape. Basal suckers must be removed throughout the summer as they spring up in order to maintain one central branch. All low branches aside from the main branch should be removed, and all branches should be cut back by two fifths of their length in the first winter after planting. Pruning is especially important in the first 2 years of the tree’s growth to create a general shape.