|I just moved into a new home that has a pomegranite tree in the backyard. I wanted to clean it up and take better care of it so that it fruits well and looks much healthier than it does now. Are there any important things I should know about Pomegranite trees before I just trim it and hope for the best?
|Pomegranates grow naturally as a bushy shrub or can be trained as a small tree, growing 15-20 feet high. The natural growth habit of the pomegranate is to produce many suckers from the base of the tree. If a single truck tree is desired, only one vigorous sucker or the trunk of the original nursery tree should be selected and branches grown from it. Basal suckers should be removed periodically to promote growth form the main trunk. If the tree is to be developed into a multiple-trunk system, five or six vigorous suckers should be selected around the base of the young tree and allowed to grow. All other suckers should be removed in summer and during dormant pruning.
Many growers prefer the multi-trunk system. In case of frost injury, usually only one or two trunks are injured, leaving the others to continue bearing. New trunks can be trained from suckers and full production restored to the tree in 2 or 3 years. Single-trunked trees may be completely killed except for suckers coming from the ground. Trees trained to a multiple truck require less frequent care in pruning during the first few years and come into bearing sooner than trees having only one truck.
Some pruning and tying with ropes for support may be needed for the first 3 or 4 years or until trunks are large and rigid enough to support the developing top.
Pomegranate trees require a small amount of pruning each winter to maintain shape and good bearing surface. Even mature trees grow vigorously, sending up a large number of shoots and basal suckers that require removal each year.
The short spurs on 2- or 3-year-old wood growing mostly on the outer edge of the tree produce flowers. These spurs develop on slow growing, mature wood that bears fruit for several years, but as the tree increases in size the wood loses its fruiting habit. Light, annual pruning encourages growth of new fruit spurs and heavy pruning reduces yields. Care should therefore be taken to leave adequate fruit-bearing wood on the tree, while removing crossing over or interfering branches. In addition, some thinning out of crowded bearing areas helps produce larger fruit having fewer wind scars.
The bottom line is that your tree should be pruned while it is dormant, but you can do some light pruning in the summer time. I'd wait until this coming winter before doing any extensive pruning.