Pomegranates – An Ison’s Fall Favorite
One sure way to know that the “Fall” has arrived is by the appearance of pomegranates. The pomegranate is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and has been cultivated since ancient times. The fruit was used in many ways as it is today and is mentioned as far back as the Old Testament in the Bible. One of its best characteristics is that it is relatively low maintenance for home gardeners. There are very few insects or diseases that affect the pomegranate and essentially can be grown organically.
Pomegranates are both self pollinated and cross pollinated by insects, wind plays little or no role in pollination. Even though they are characterized as self-fertile, cross pollination by another variety has increased yields as much as 60%.
The growing zones for pomegranates are 7-10. They are naturally adapted to areas that have cool winters and hot summers. In the United States they have been grown as far north as Washington, D.C. and in Washington County, Utah. With that being said the English Quaker Peter Collinson wrote to the botanist John Bartram in Philadelphia in 1762 ” Plant it against the side of the house, nail it close to the wall. In this manner it thrives wonderfully with us, and flowers beautifully, and bears fruit.”
Pomegranates prefer an alkaline soil on loamy ground. If you have more clay soil you can add peat moss or other soil conditioners to loosen the area and allow for the spreading of roots once new root growth begins.
When planting a pomegranate tree we recommend pruning it back to half of its original
height. So if the tree is 4 ft tall we recommend pruning the tree back to 2 ft tall at planting. We recommend doing this the first 2 years after planting, the reason is to encourage the maximum number of new shoots on all sides of the trunk to prevent straggly development and encourage a strong framework. After the third year only suckers and dead branches are removed.
Fertilize twice a year, once in mid April and again in mid June, 1/2 lb of 10-10-10 in a 15 inch circle around the trunk.
Lastly not only are pomegranates fun to grow they are also good for you. Studies have shown that pomegranates can be effective in reducing heart disease, blood pressure, inhibit viral infections, and are high in antioxidants.
Our pomegranate trees will make a nice addition to any landscape and we recommend adding this historic fruit to your garden.