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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Increasing Pomegranate Fruit Size

Q. How can you increase pomegranate fruit size?
Beautiful fruit color and size of 'Sharp Velvet' pomegranate variety.
A. First, keep in mind that some varieties of pomegranates produce larger fruit than others. That and all red fruit color is why the variety called Wonderful was selected for commercial production in the United States. If you have a variety that can produce larger fruit it generally has to do with 4 considerations; the health of the tree, no water stress as the fruit is gaining in size, how it is pruned and the number of fruit on the tree.
Good size and the color is developing nicely on a not yet mature 'Wonderful' pomegranate.
Larger fruit is produced on flowers coming off of larger stems. This has to do with how it's pruned. Pruning should maintain older and larger wood. Pomegranates grown as a shrub with lots of stems coming from the ground will produce a lot of fruit but they will tend to be smaller. Larger fruit will be produced if 5 main stems are maintained coming from the ground rather than 50. Trees with 4 or 5 major stems will produce fewer flowers but the fruit that these flowers produce will be larger.
Producing a large percentage of large fruited pomegranate relies mostly on proper pruning and irrigation.
Make sure pomegranates do not get water stressed during the summer months as the fruit is beginning to get larger. I have found that a 3 to 4 inch layer of woodchips on the soil surrounding the tree help keep the soil from drying between irrigations.
When several pomegranate fruit all originate from the same spot and the tree has lots of developing fruit and flowers, there is a chance that removal of these fruit when they are very small may result in larger fruit that remain
Removing flowers or small fruit can help increase size of the remaining fruit (thinning) only if there are far too many flowers being produced. Proper pruning reduces the number of flowers and thinning is seldom needed.

Fertilize the tree in February or March just before new growth begins in the spring. Flowers are produced on new spring growth.

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