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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Water Suspected for Splitting Pomegranates

Q. I wrote to you a few weeks ago regarding splitting pomegranates. Our Homeowners Association switched from grass to desert landscaping. The drip systems were increased to include new plants and older bushes and a new system was added around our older trees. Our water bill for that period was much higher than normal. Is it possible that overwatering in the heat caused the seeds to grow faster, splitting the fruits? I had a good crop last year.
Pomegranate fruit split up the side
A. The splitting of any fruits, whether pomegranate or tomato, is nearly always associated with irrigation or rain. The most commonly held belief is that it is due to irregular irrigation patterns; overly dry periods followed by an irrigation.
It is thought that when the plant has a lack of water the "skin" of the fruit begins to become inflexible and the plant matures the fruit earlier than normal in "hopes" that it can reproduce by hastening seed development and maturity.
Then when an abundance of water is present around the roots, the plant takes up this water and it is transported to the fruit. The fruit, now with an inflexible "skin" can no longer expand like it could when it was immature, and splits.
Another belief is that rainwater is absorbed through the "skin" of some soft fruit, like cherries or tomato, when it is nearly mature and this absorption of water causes the fruit to split.
            Regardless of the reason, fruit splitting is reduced with more regular watering, watering at the appropriate times to prevent the soil from becoming overly dry and the use of surface mulches, particularly wood mulch.

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