Pomegranate Grafting Method; Pruning Method; Training
Introduction to Pomegranate:
The pomegranate which is scientifically called as Punica granatum is a deciduous shrub which bears fruits. This belongs to the family of Lythraceae which grows up to a length of 20 to 35 feet.
This fruit will grow during the months of September to February in the Northern Hemisphere whereas, in the southern hemisphere, they grow in between the months of March and May. Pomegranates can be used in cooking, baking, as a garnish in meals, alcoholic beverages and can also be taken as a fruit juice.
The origin of pomegranate is the region which extends from Iran to North India. The cultivation is being done since ancient days across the Mediterranean region. In the present days, the cultivation of pomegranate is widely done across the Middle East and Caucasus region, Tropical Africa, Northern Africa, Central, and South Asia. The below information is for pomegranate grafting, pruning, and training.
Grafting Pomegranate plants:
As part of pomegranate grafting, follow these steps.
- Cut the scion which is of length 2 ½ inch along with three buds. Make a cut which is like a slope by making use of a knife on the scion and the understock.
- Scion is a twig which would be taken from the upper part of the tree. Select the scion and understock twigs which are at least half inch in terms of diameter.
- A cut which is smooth will make sure that the cambium layer of both scion and understock will be in contact.
- Cambium layer is the one which consists of the cells and would be located in between the bark and wood where the development of new cells takes place. Cambium layers have to be in contact so that there would be a better growth of wood.
- Slice it again for the formation of the tongue of the scion. Take hold of the slanting cut which is one-sided and facing you.
- You need to give support to it by using your finger. Now make a cut towards down, which is of half inch length. This cut should be parallel to the wood grain. Now fix these two pieces of wood in a tight way and insert the end of the understock which is pointed into the scion’s tongue.
- Now match both the surfaces together so that there would be alignment in the cambial areas.
- Now tie the grafting tape in a tight manner. Make sure that the area which is grafted has to be covered by a half inch on both sides.
- Grafting tape is a cloth which is taped adhesively and will disintegrate when the twigs which are grafted will grow together. Wrapping will help in the prevention of graft from getting dried out or from getting infected due to insects.
- Take off the tape which is not integrated even after 30 days. The understock and scion will align and fresh growth will start within 30 days usually.
Read: Rose Plant Grafting Methods.
Pruning Pomegranate plants:
Heavy kind of pruning should be done at the time of winter season which is at a dormant stage. Light kind of pruning should be done so that the plant opens up and gives you a chance to take off the suckers in the middle of the late summer.
As a Shrub:
- When you are growing it as a shrub, to get the best production of fruit over a long time, you will need a minimum of 4 to 6 trunks for the formation of the bush.
- If your new plantation of pomegranate has less than the required number of trunks, let the emergence of some more shoots or suckers from the plants base until the requirement is fulfilled.
- Hence, continue removing other suckers when they are emerging by removing them at the level of the ground.
- Removal of suckers might also be needed a few times in a year at the season of growing so that your plant would be having 4 to 6 trunks. If you will leave the sucker freely, it will use all the energy it has in the branches which are growing and into foliage and due to this, there would be less fruit.
- At the time of pomegranate pruning as a shrub, the key point to remember is to do the maximum of your pruning after the plant has become dormant for the winter.
- Make sure that you are not pruning too much at once. For shrubs, you need to prune as per requirement in order to get the desired shape and make sure you are not pruning further.
- As the formation of fruits in pomegranate takes place in second-year wood, be very careful at the time of cutting the plant back. If you cut it too far at the back, it may lead to zero fruit in the coming year.
As a Tree:
- When you are pruning your pomegranate as a single or multi-stemmed tree, you need to be with patience for at least 2 years and till they reach the height of 4 feet.
- To initiate, you have to first choose 2 shoots you want to keep which will further act as the main trunks of the pomegranate tree. Cut off all the other shoots by removing them at the level of the ground.
- In some situations, a trunk will also due or there may be an occurrence of injury. If this occurs, cut off the old trunk and let the shoot grow and replace it.
Read: Lemon Tree Pruning Methods.
Training Pomegranate plants:
- Cut off the complete pomegranate shrub to a length of 25 to 30 inches at the time of plantation. This has to generally take place in the early times of spring after the passing away of the last frost. Now analyze the pomegranate after plantation and find out the sucker which is the strongest one which you will later induce into the base of the tree. Prune all the other suckers t the ground level by making use of pruning shears which are sharp.
- Cut all the branches from the sucker which are less than 10 inches from the ground level. Select at least five scaffold limbs which are strong and cut off all others in the sucker.
- Slightly pinch the shoot and its branches on regular intervals for the removal of the growth of new shoot all across the season.
- Be with patience till the next winter when the trees will enter a dormant stage, after that start pruning the scaffold branches to 3/4th of their actual length. Cut all the other branches along with most of the shoots. Make sure that you are leaving at least two shoots for a branch.
- Continue pruning on a yearly or half-yearly basis, as too much waiting may lead to a severe requirement of pruning in order to maintain the form of the tree which will affect the fruit production adversely. You need to start pruning at the end of winter, prior to the tree breaking its dormancy in order to maintain the shape and also for the prevention of the tree from getting reverted to its normal form.
- Eradicate the suckers across the year as they are difficult to keep up if you wait for so long. Make sure that you are removing the damaged, diseased and dead branches.
- Sterilization of tools should be done in between the cuts while pruning the branches which are diseases. Soak the tools in a container which has a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water at 70 % and 30% respectively so that air can pass between them and allow them to dry before using them again. You can also use many toolsets to quicken the process of pruning if you do not want to wait for too long for your tools to get dried.