How to Care for a Pomegranate Tree
The pomegranate tree (Punica granatum) is a Mediterranean native that can reach heights of 12 to 30 feet. This deciduous tree generally takes a dense, shrub-like appearance with dark green, glossy foliage, flaming orange-red blooms and purplish-red berries. The pomegranate’s natural shape develops into a fountain shaped form, growing initially upright and then gracefully drooping.
Plant the pomegranate tree in a location with well-drained soil that receives at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Choose heavy, loam soil locations over light, sandy locations. Also, select a location with soil pH levels between 5.5 and 7.0.
Plant the pomegranate tree in the early spring after the final frost. Remove any excessive soil from around the tree’s root system. Dig a hole that has a depth and width that is equal to the root system of the tree. Aerate heavy clay soils by creating small holes around the inside of the hole.
Position the tree in the center of the prepared planting hole and fill the hole with soil. Build the soil up around the tree so that the final surface is slightly elevated from the surrounding soil levels. Gently press the soil around the pomegranate tree to secure its upright position.
Water the pomegranate tree thoroughly after planting, providing it with approximately 2 inches of water. Water every three to four days with approximately 1 to 1-1/2 inches of water for about the first three weeks.
Irrigate the pomegranate tree approximately every seven days after the tree is established. Provide the tree with 1-1/2 inches of water during each weekly irrigation. Increase the irrigation levels during the hot, dry periods of summer. Always reduce irrigation levels during heavy rainfall.
Feed the pomegranate tree in March and November. Select a well-balanced, slow-release fertilizer with low levels of nitrogen, such as an 8-8-8- or 10-10-10 combination. Distribute the fertilizer evenly around the tree. Avoid placing the fertilizer directly around the trunk of the tree. Place the fertilizer about a foot away from the trunk to avoid root burn. Water the fertilizer in with approximately 1-1/2 inches of water.
Prune the pomegranate tree annually to develop a strong framework and improve fruit production. Trim back branches so that each scaffold branch houses only two to three shoots. Always remove any dead, dying or damaged wood and foliage.