When And How To Prune A Pomegranate Bush Or Tree
Though pomegranate don't require pruning, they can benefit from it. You can prune your pomegranate for shape and form and to encourage fruit production, or heavier production.

Here's some helpful Pomegranate pruning tips...

Pomegranates have thorns, so you will want to wear gloves and thick long sleeves to protect your skin.

Pruning of a pomegranate is best done during dormancy; after the risk of frost has passed but before full bloom in the spring. That said, dead or damaged branches or stems can and should be removed as they occur.

In its natural environment, the pomegranate is a multi trunked shrub, and perhaps it's best to allow it to grow as such. That said, lower branches can be removed to form an attractive single or multi trunk tree in the warmer regions of the United States. Either way, we think the number of trunks should be limited from three to six, otherwise fruit production may suffer. Three trunks is most desirable for a tree from, or 4 to 6 for shrub form. After your primary 3 to 6 trunks are established, remove any suckers that emerge from around the base. We only advise single-trunk trees in freeze-free climates. That said, cold hardy varieties, such as Russian 26 Pomegranate, should be safe for single-trunk in Zone 8. When growing less cold hardy varieties in cooler winter areas, multi-trunk shrubs are the best way to be somewhat assured of fruit production.

Other than selecting and establishing the three to six trunks and removal of suckers if necessary, avoid any other pruning during the planting year (first year).

In the second year prune prune branches by 1/4 to 1/3 their length, remove crossing branches and leaving 3 to 5 side shoots per branch.

From the third year on you will only need to prune your pomegranates lightly each year to encourage fruit production. Pruning your pomegranate heavily will reduce fruit production. Thinning shoots on the end of the branches will increase fruit size and quality on the remaining shoots. Same goes from removing thin or small branches or stems that formed on the inside of the plant, which will open up the middle of the plant to allow light and air to reach the blooms, resulting in increased fruit set.

Here's a photo of a pomegranate before and after pruning in the third year.

Harvest & Storage of Pomegranate Fruits

When To Pick Pomegranate Fruits

Depending on the region and environmental factors, Pomegranate fruits can begin ripening from August to the middle of October. The fruits do not all ripen at the same time and must be picked over at least twice, usually a week or two apart. Also, the fruit are not all of the same size when they become ripe.

So, when to pick? It's best to pick the fruit right before they are fully mature or they will try to crack open. Try to cut the fruit as close to full ripening time as possible because the fruit do not ripen once off the tree, although they get a little sweeter in storage. To determine whether or not the fruits are ripe and ready for picking you can tap them with your finger. When they give a metallic sound when tapped they should be ready to pick.

How To Pick Pomegranate Fruits

Actually, you don't want to pick or pull the fruits from the bush or tree. Instead you want to cut them off with a sharp pair of bypass hand pruners or a sharp knife. If you pull the fruit off you will most likely cause damage to the fruit, which then won't store as well. So, just get some pruners and cut the fruit off the stem. It's best to cut the stem as close to fruit as possible so that if you are storing the fruit together the stems won't rub on other fruit in the package or container.

Storing Pomegranate Fruits

Regarding storage life, Pomegranate are similar to apples. Fruit can be stored for up to 3 months and be edible for longer than that. For fruit to keep the longest, it is best to maintain a 40 - 45 degrees F temperature with a relative humidity of 85%. Keep in mind that only clean undamaged fruit should be stored. 

If you are storing fruit at home, the crisper of your refrigerator will keep the fruit in good condition for an extended time. If you don't have room to store all the fruit consider juicing and concentrating it or make it into syrup. That way you have less to store and the juice concentrate can be reconstituted when needed or used in recipes.

I hope this information is helpful and don't hesitate to contact us if you need more details or have any questions.