Posted by Brent Wilson on 7/4/2016 to Fertilizing & Watering Tips
Pomegranate trees are very easy to grow when cared for properly. They grow well in any average, well-drained, moist soil and are low maintenance and drought tolerant when established.
Here's a breakdown of what you need to know regarding feeding and watering Pomegranate plants...
First, a little about pollination. Pomegranates are self-fruitful but the blossoms must be pollinated for it to bear fruit. There is very little wind dispersal of pollen. If your fruit bearing pomegranate blooms but bears no fruit, this could be an indicator that there were no bees or other pollinating insects around when it bloomed. In order to become fruits the flowers must to be pollinated. Whether or not you see bees it's a good idea to use a sable paint brush to pollinate the flowers yourself. Just play like a bee and go from flower to flower spreading the pollen from one to another.
Feeding Pomegranate Plants
First, water is the most critical nutrient for establishment of young Pomegranate trees, particularly during the first year after planting. For established trees, adequate irrigation, especially during dry periods, is very important to improve growth, fruit set, yield, and fruit size. Fruit will drop prematurely and will split if trees are not getting enough water during dry spells.
Unless you have a very sandy soil that doesn't hold nutrients well, Pomegranate plants need very little fertilizer. The only element they really need is nitrogen, and how much is applied will depend on the age of the plant.
Don't fertilize your Pomegranate at all during their first year of life. Starting in the second year, Pomegranate trees can be fed with an organic plant food, or an inorganic fertilizers such as slow-release shrub & tree type fertilizer. Alternatively, Pomegranate can be fed by mulching with organic compost. The type of fertilizer you choose is up to you.
Keep in mind that too much fertilizer is bad, so it's better to apply less than more. Too much fertilizer will cause heavier foliage growth, which can effect fruit production and even cause the fruit to drop prematurely. Applying too much fertilizer or applying it later in the year than recommended can cause fruit to mature late, and have poor color and poor taste quality.
Soil pH - The soil pH tolerance for pomegranate is wide. They will grow in moderately acid to moderately alkaline soils that range from 4.5 to 8.2 on the pH scale. That being said, they thrive and produce best between 5.5 to 7.2. Most average garden soils fall between a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0, meaning there's usually not a concern with soil pH.
Testing Soil pH Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil and is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark. Any measurement below 7 indicates acid soil conditions, and anything above 7 indicates alkaline. If you're unsure about the pH of your soil, or whether or not it is suitable for growing Pomegranate, it's a good idea to test the pH in the planting area. You can quickly test soil pH with an inexpensive soil pH tester probe. To raise the pH (make more alkaline) you can add pelletized limestone to the soil. To lower the pH (make more acid) you can apply Soil Sulfur, Aluminum Sulfate, or Chelated Iron. Adding organic compost to the soil or using compost as mulch can also help to increase acidity and maintain acid soil conditions.
Learn More: What is Soil pH and How To Adjust It?
Watering Pomegranate Plants
Watering a Pomegranate tree is important if you want optimum fruit production. How much or little you water will depend on several factors including how much rainfall occurs and soil type and drainage. Pomegranates can stand very dry air conditions but, to produce good fruit, they need some moisture in the soil. In general, when growing on loose, sandy soil Pomegranates will require more water and more fertilizer. When growing in heavier clay-based soils, which generally retain more moisture plants won't require as much water.
Immediately after planting deep soak the soil in the planting area, including the rootball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. An application of Root Stimulator will provide an extra boost to stimulate early root formation and stronger root development. Root Stimulator reduces transplant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.
During the First Active Growth Season
In average garden soil you should not have to water your new Pomegranate tree every day. More often than not, this causes soggy or wet soil conditions that can lead to root rot and other plant diseases. In the absence of sufficient rainfall, water only as needed to keep the rootball and surrounding soil moist. Apply an organic mulch to help retain moisture and reduce handwatering. Keep in mind that deep soaking less frequently is much better than splashing just a little water on the plants every day. Plants planted during the winter dormant season, when plants are not actively growing and evaporation is much slower, will require much less water. So, be careful not to overwater during winter!
When established, Pomegrante trees are very drought tolerant and will require less water, however will prefer a consistently moist soil when there's fruit on the plant. During prolonged periods of dry weather the fruits will suffer and will either fall from the tree or be very small if there is little or no supplemental irrigation provided. If for some reason you cannot water during dry periods don't worry too much, the plants should survive. Just don't expect as much fruit.
Other Helpful Pomegranate Watering Tips
Too much water during the fall season, when fruit is ripening, can cause fruit splitting as well. The idea is to maintain even soil moisture throughout the fall season as in the summer - not too wet or too dry. But, with cooler fall temperatures there usually isn't the need for as much water.
When watering with an overhead automated irrigation system it's best to set your timer to water during the early morning hours and not in the late evening or at night, which can lead to the onset of fungus and other foliage diseases. During the first few weeks after planting, check soil moisture often and adjust irrigation time if necessary to keep the soil moist, not wet.